The 5: Martial Arts Films That Will Kick Your Ass


This Week on the 5: Martial Arts Movies That You Have to See

There aren’t many things cooler than a martial arts film. The genre has so much great work in it, that it’s almost impossible to see it all. Bruce Lee’s films may be the most well known and celebrated, and with good reason, but there’s so much out there that needs to be seen. We put together  five martial arts films that stand the test of time, and should go on the top of your queue.

Killing Machine The 5 New Fist of Fury The 5 Circle of Iron the 5 Shogun Assassin The 5 IP man_Theatrical_1016x762_v3.indd

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  • Killing Machine (1975).  China had Bruce Lee and Japan has Sonny Chiba. A living legend, Chiba made the Killing Machine in 1975. He played a real life martial arts master, Doshin So, who created the art of Shorinji Kempo. It takes places in beat down post World War 2 Japan, where native Japanese are pushed around by Koreans, Americans and anyone else. This doesn’t last for long as Chiba starts a school to teach his form of martial art and doesn’t take shit from anyone.  Ignore the rap music and watch this great scene from Killing Machine on YouTube or scroll below for the video.
  • New Fist of Fury (1976).  Before Jackie Chan became known for a martial arts meets comedy style, he was being pushed in China as the new Bruce Lee. New Fist of Fury was his first starring role, it was so early in his career he was using the stage name Sing Lung. Chan fights the Japanese as they’re suppressing the Chinese people and he has to learn Kung Fu to do it. This is a must see for any fan of Jackie Chan’s to see his pure skill in martial arts and how ripped he was back in the day.  Watch the entire movie on YouTube or scroll down below.
  • Circle of Iron (1978).   Originally written by Bruce Lee to introduce Eastern philosophy to a western audience. Unfortunately Lee passed away before it could be made. The screenplay was eventually finished and David Carradine was cast to star in the 1978 film. Somewhat of a thinking mans martial arts movie, it got heavy at time in the philosophy of martial arts but it never takes away from the film. Carradine is great as a blind martial arts master guiding another man to a book of wisdom. Christopher Lee and Eli Wallach also show up in the film to add to the great 70s weirdness.  Watch the entire movie on YouTube or scroll down below.
  • Shogun Assassin (1980).  You may of never heard of Shogun Assassin, but if you’ve listened to a Wu-Tang Album, you’ll know it immediately. Samples taken from this film are all over GZA’s hip hop classic Liquid Swords. Originally based on the epic Japanese classic Lone Wolf and Cub manga series, Shogun Assassin is two of the Lone Wold stories combined into one film. Roger Corman produced and distributed it in America in 1980. It follows the story of a samurai and his child taking revenge on the evil Yagyu clan who disgraced him. A cult classic if there’s ever been one.  Watch the trailer on YouTube or scroll down to watch it below.
  • Ip Man (2008).  The most recent film on this list, Ip Man is a film that was a long time in the making. Based on the life of Yip Man, grandmaster of Wing Chun and master to Bruce lee, Ip man was a huge success in China. It was never released in North America or Europe but absolutely needs to be seen, it’s a instant classic in a time when martial arts films aren’t made like this anymore. Donnie Chen stars as Yip Man, and the guy puts on a show, check out the clip below to see his ridiculous skill.  Watch a great scene on YouTube or scroll down below.

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208 comments
Peter Cuerto
Peter Cuerto

HEY!!!...I clicked the link to the Performers Over 75 That I Need to See and I arrived here!!


sldsnak4
sldsnak4

The New Fist of Fury almost ruined Jackie Chan's career. It almost killed martial art films in china.

caseypickles
caseypickles

There's a new Ip Man movie - The Grandmaster. I haven't seen it yet, but I love Tony Leung and Wong Kar-Wai

SLEEPYDOG
SLEEPYDOG

Bruce Lee is number one all time

RFGvac
RFGvac

The fact that Enter The Dragon is not on this list is laughable; the fact that there is not ONE SINGLE Bruce Lee movie is deplorable.  

Hicks really has to stop drinking and smoking weed.  This "5" is a joke.

I'm also pissed off that "The Trial of Billy Jack" didn't make it.  

Dear Fuckles
Dear Fuckles

Nothing has and nothing will ever top Drunken Master 2

YotaruVegeta
YotaruVegeta

I can't hate the list. There are so many outstanding martial arts films across the decades that 5 would be hard to choose for me.

ChristianCamarena
ChristianCamarena

the raid that came out a couple of years ago is a great throwback to the old school films. Also it looks like indonesia has very little regard the life because the hits looks so real.

@iSmellBit
@iSmellBit

How many movies constitute a movie marathon?  


KRDRAGON
KRDRAGON

You got to have Cynthia Rothrock in the China O'Brien movies 

KRDRAGON
KRDRAGON

No Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles?

CinemaAssassin
CinemaAssassin

no Gymkata? Kurt Thomas pommel horse action in the middle of the town. Instant Classic.

filler
filler

Two of my favorites are "Snake in Eagles Shadow" and "Master of the Flying Guillotine". And I think "Kung Fu Hustle" deserves a lot of recognition, even though its a comedy, those fight scenes are just fantastic.

Bloodklot
Bloodklot

Blow Hard said Jet Li made some bombs in the US?  How about Unleashed?  That movie was so good Morgan Freeman had to be in it.

Stilltryingregardless
Stilltryingregardless

Honorable Mention to lateef crowder & scott adkins.  BOYKA IS THE MOST COMPLETE MARTIAL ARTIST IN THE WORLD!

Bloodklot
Bloodklot

That guy calling about Jean Claude Van Damme was kidding right?  Didn't he get knocked out in real life be Chuck Zito? LOL

Ninjanate
Ninjanate

Cant believe that centaur called Muay Thai "mai tai". And Jet Li's most important movie "Fist of Legend" doesn't make the list?

Slappy
Slappy

Nice, natural seque  Fez

Stilltryingregardless
Stilltryingregardless

Michelle Yeoh is a dancer, not a martial artist.  The same thing goes for ziyi zhang!

Stilltryingregardless
Stilltryingregardless

Man, if you're putting david carridine on this list then you might as well put on keanu reeves for his shit in the matrix.

Slappy
Slappy

More email!


Pepper Hicks, the listeners friend.....

ehombre
ehombre

I accidentally punched my friend in the throat!  Trying to be like Bruce Lee.

Slappy
Slappy

Blowhard and his friends would leave the theater and do drop kicks on fire hydrants and dinosaurs.

Slappy
Slappy

Bruce Lee was always Kato........

Slappy
Slappy

Hey, Blowhard! Cue the boring.....!


He doesn't sound very healthy!

Slappy
Slappy

Can anyone else hear them getting emails on their computers?

SeanRChow
SeanRChow

Don't beat me up for this comment. Talking martial arts films and not "Kung-Fu" why no love for Jason Statham or Wesley Snipes films? I get that they're not original but can't hate on the choreography in their films. And who's fucking with either of them?

Slappy
Slappy

Jesus, turn down the Final Countdown, man!

Stilltryingregardless
Stilltryingregardless

Jackie Chan is not a karate practicioner.  He studied kung fu, singing & acting at a peking opera school as a child.  

ehombre
ehombre

Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon (great lines, my boys and I reference the movie all the time), Chuck Norris in the Octagon (first time ninjas appeared in movies) and then Kill Bill.  Jet Li claims to be an actor and not a martial artist, but I love him too.  Jackie Chan has good movies and he seems like a really good guy.  OK, I guess I love them all.  Thanks for the topic.

Stilltryingregardless
Stilltryingregardless

Man, Bruce lee broke a dude's arm from a side kick solely from the impact of the person hitting him that took the direct kick.  The demo of that 1 inch punch in front of a crowd of people (the footage is on youtube).  Bruce Lee was studying grappling with gene lebell.  


If you watch jet-li's 1st martial arts flick, shaw bros. shaolin temple, you would swear that the film was sped up during his fight scenes.  But, that was his natural speed & his skills were ridiculous.  He was a wu-shu nationwide champ.


I love jackie chan, but all that shit people are talking about is stuntwork & not MARTIAL ARTS!  This is a martial artist list.  ugh, this is annoying.  

YotaruVegeta
YotaruVegeta

@sldsnak4 So what you might be saying, if I'm interpreting right, is that Pepper Hicks is a hipster fuck who just picks old stuff simply because they came before the more popular films.

bskeys
bskeys

What a joke! Bruce Lee invented the phrase "kick ass". Thats what made him famous. He kicked everybody's ass

Gtothedalf
Gtothedalf

My thoughts exactly, especially regarding the weed.

Dear Fuckles
Dear Fuckles

Its seem like the Thai version of 'the warriors'

Bloodklot
Bloodklot

It's an rule that anyone that ever had a mullet can not be on the list.

SeanRChow
SeanRChow

Tell me the scenes in the original Transporter were not badass martial arts scenes.  If you have love for Jackie Chan style films you have to like Transporter.

Slappy
Slappy

It's twice as loud as your voices.......