There is something truly thrilling about watching the human body push itself to the limits. Even more so on film, and especially when it’s one of the world’s favourite fighters.
Being able to see the full capabilities of the human body, often in an adrenalin fuelled fight to the death, is one of the many reasons we’re so captivated by martial arts films.
Jackie Chan, Lo Wei, Maggie Q, Jet Li and Bruce Lee have all sculpted successful careers in film from their sheer athleticism, the ability to control their bodies in ways most can only dream of and their power on screen.
To celebrate the release of The King of Fighters, an action packed old-school arcade game revisited through film, on Blu-rayTM and DVD on 26th December, we’ve trawled through the archives to find the Top 10 Karate Chopping Blockbuster Movies.
10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) - Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh
Topping $100 million at the US box office, this sensational movie of two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive is Ang Lee’s masterpiece.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon took out multiple Oscars and Academy Awards.
9. Ong-Bak (2003) - Tony Jaa
Taught and inspired by the greats; Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee - Tony Jaa pushes his body to the extreme to bring audiences this compelling fight masterpiece of a young, sheltered martial artist taking on the underworld of the big city.
8. Kung Fu Hustle (2004) - Stephen Chow
Boasting the widest cinematic release of any foreign language film in the USA, as of 2005, Kung Fu Hustle takes audiences back to 1940s’ Shanghai, where residents of a housing complex are defending their territory against the notorious 'Axe Gang.
Directed by and starring Stephen Chow, this title showcases the resilience and power of Kung Fu.
7. Fist of Legend (1994) - Jet Li
This Jet Li classic can only be described as intense. Each fight scene has you on the edge of your seat, in awe of Jet Li’s power and control.
Inspire by passion, Jet Li vows to defend the honour of his martial arts teacher and school, which has been harassed by the Japanese.
6. Enter the Dragon (1973) - Bruce Lee
This original Bruce Lee classic is the title that earned him the fame and charisma he has today.
A well known martial artist sin the film, Lee is invited to an exclusive fight tournament - he uses this as cover to spy on an infamous crime lord.
5.The Legend of Drunken Master (1994) - Jackie Chan
This is where Jackie Chan makes his mark. Having mastered the art of drunken boxing, Chan’s character is caught up in the battle between westerners who want to export ancient Chinese artefacts, and locals who want their history preserved within their own borders.
4. IP Man (2008) - Donnie Yen, Simon Yam
This semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial artist to teach the art of Wing Chun, is a tribute to one of the martial arts greats and one of the most unique styles.
The fight scenes in this film are all about speed, agility and balance - again pushing the human body to the limit.
3. The King of Fighters (2010) - Maggie Q
Maggie Q stars as Mai Shiranui in this high octane film that follows the last surviving descendants of three legendary clans, as they are transported to another dimension to put their martial arts skills to the test to save the real world.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD on 26th December, The King of Fighters is an homage to the original and best selling video game.
2. Fearless (2006) - Jet Li
Hailed as one of the best martial arts films as all time - Jet Li tells the story of the truly fearless Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.
Teaching audiences how important poise, spirituality and centre are in being a great warrior, Fearless showcases some truly beautiful fight scenes. We’d recommend watching the director’s cut - the only way to see this film.
1. First Of Fury (1972) - Bruce Lee
The sole reason the martial arts genre exploded into a mainstream cinematic choice in the 1970s, Bruce Lee is inarguably one of the greatest martial artists of our time.
Fury overtakes him as seeks vengeance for the death of his teacher in Fists of Fury.