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General Discussion => General (Off-Topic) Discussion => Topic started by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 04:37:14 AM

Title: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 04:37:14 AM
(https://d.newsweek.com/en/full/1164437/00.jpg)

"How could someone so beautiful, be so deadly" - George Takei never said these words in the Star Trek episode "That Which Survives", but for some reason, my siblings and I thought he did, and would delight in repeating that line while trying out our best Sulu voices (he actually asked the Captain how people could be so evil, and mentioned that she was so beautiful). I only share this adolescent memory because that misquote can be appropriated and more aptly applied to the martial arts.

Seeing the fluid movements of a body trained in a deadly art was a thing of beauty... and awfulness... the damage to life and limb - stabbed, beaten, crushed, blood spilled by the buckets! And yet, there was a ballet there, with people floating, spinning, flipping, posing... beautiful but deadly.

https://www.youtube.com/v/Jdov4lEMjJs
An early, surviving film sword battle - From 1925s Orochi (Serpent)

Wuxia stories have been shared throughout the ages in China, and they were perfectly suited to the medium of film, which embraced the subject in a massive way with the production of Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery in 1928 - a 27-hour Chinese epic released in 18 feature-length parts over 3 years (sadly the film is lost). Before that, there was the martial arts, samurai movie Orochi (1925) from Japan. And shorts, like Jiraiya the Hero (1921) about a magical Ninja who could disappear or turn himself into a giant frog. (a version of this tale was filmed in 1966 as The Magic Serpent)

From powerhouse studios like the Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest. To powerhouse directors and actors - who gave us stories of oppressors and protectors. And acts of cruelty countered by acts of vengeance. They showed us the paths of inner harmony, spirituality, and self-control, as well as discord - born of jealousy, greed or political maneuvering. The martial arts was about honing -and inevitably- proving your skill, your art, in combat or tournament. It was about the legends and histories - All of these qualities you'll find in the 50 films you chose as the best of the best.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 05:46:43 AM
A note on tiebreakers - I do what others do - most votes, then highest points... but if they are still knotted I go to second, then third-highest points, etc. And if that fails, I break them up by alphabetical order.

So let's begin with a 51st entry, from the forums favorite psycho...


#51 – Tiger Cage II
https://www.youtube.com/v/REKK2r6_dQ4
24 points on 1 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (PsychoGoatee)

Year: 1990
Director:  Yuen-Woo Ping

An ex-cop and divorce lawyer team up with a gangster to clear their names after getting involved in a dirty money

From Kung Fu Kingdom (https://kungfukingdom.com/tiger-cage-2-movie-review/)... An action-comedy that is actually more serious than comedic, “Tiger Cage 2” presents an edgy, high-energy, dramatic mix of Hong Kong old school fight choreography and more practical combat. With lightning kicks, whipping fists and grappling and striking reflective of the art we now know as MMA, you can evidence the seeds that were sown with “Tiger Cage 2” setting down the basis of Donnie Yen’s trademark wushu/MMA hybrid style. Some 27 years on, this is still an entertaining blast.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 05:50:09 AM
#50 – Seven Samurai
https://www.youtube.com/v/wJ1TOratCTo
24 points on 1 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Edward J Grug III)

Year: 1954
Director: Akira Kurosawa

From Criterion... One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 05:53:57 AM
#49 – Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival
https://www.youtube.com/v/5SsKcDHO4D4
24 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #13 (Stethacantus)

Year: 1970
Director: Kenji Misumi

From Criterion - The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman.

Cowritten by star Shintaro Katsu, this adventure pits Zatoichi against one of his most diabolical foes: a blind yakuza boss whose reign of terror and exploitation has made him nearly mythic. Guest starring the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin haunted by a traumatic past, and featuring an unforgettable nude swordfight in a bathhouse, this twenty-first entry in the series is a fan favorite.

My thoughts: I love Zatoichi, but at about the half-way point in the series, it was a pretty well-worn premise -- some films sunk under the formula, while other late episodes somehow managed to find inspiration and become standouts... Fire Festival was one of those.

All in the family? Shintaro Katsu is the younger brother of Tomisaburo Wakayama, who played the lead in the Lone Wolf and Cub series of film.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 04:28:59 PM
#48 – The One-Armed Swordsman
https://www.youtube.com/v/mOe4I3NSgQ8
24 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (George-2.0)

Year: 1967
Director: Chang Cheh

Paste ranked it 21 out of 100 and said... If this list was ranked purely in terms of which films were most influential to their genres, One-Armed Swordsman would be up near the tip-top, along with The Chinese Boxer, which also starred Swordsman’s Jimmy Wang. As for wuxia, though, this is like the urfilm, the one that defined so many of the stylistic conventions for decades to come, such as the dangerous, brooding anti-hero and the swordplay/limb-hacking action sequences. So, so many films were made in the following years about one-armed fighters, and Chang Cheh’s classic was behind it all. That can make it seem a little cliché laden today, but it’s still a charming film to watch, and a classic story never truly goes out of style. I especially like the villains’ “sword lock” devices that can catch a sword blade and lock it in position. — Jim Vorel

My thoughts: While he would be surpassed my faster, more skilled M.A. actors, for a spell Jimmy Wang Yu was king of the genre. What with influential pictures like this one and The Chinese Boxer, which jump-started the hand-to-hand combat style film that was a hit with Asian audiences and would soon become the rage in America. Jimmy was a superstar, the highest-paid martial arts actor until Bruce Lee punched in and took the spotlight... and the cash, with an even bigger contract.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 04:30:21 PM
#47 – Once Upon a Time in China
https://www.youtube.com/v/0wbOG09RDm8
24 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (Charles Castle)

Year: 1991
Director: Tsui Hark

Ranked 4th by Paste, who said... Undoubtedly Tsui Hark’s masterpiece, and a high-water mark for both historical Asian action movies and martial arts cinema in general, Once Upon A Time In China is a film of epic scope told through small moments and even smaller gestures. Although there are only so many words to use to describe how Tsui, in barely 10 years, had established himself as an incomparable master of the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema, there are probably no words worth using to properly convey the effortless beauty of some of Tsui’s images, scattered generously throughout this film. Even within its opening credits, which quietly observe folk hero Wong Fei-hung (Jet Li) as he trains a militia to defend his homeland from an impending Western menace, Tsui’s knack for finding near spiritual grace in the rigors of martial arts training is obvious: the golden sun, the reflective sand, the silhouettes of healthy bodies against the surf—this is only one tiny glimpse of Tsui’s visual prowess. That we then later get the privilege of watching Jet Li, in a short-brimmed straw sunhat, fight off a gang of thugs with an umbrella is a many-splendored thing. —Dom Sinacola

DYK: Jet was trained in old style wushu. In Jet’s day, they had to learn all of the Eighteen-Arms, internal styles, external styles, everything. The Eighteen-Arms consists of: sabre, spear, sword, halberd, axe, battle axe, hook, fork, whip, mace, hammer, talon, trident-halberd, cudgel, long-handled spear, short cudgel, stick, and meteor hammer. Everybody had to compete in broadsword, spear, straight sword, cudgel, and empty-hand forms.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 04:46:54 PM
And that's it for tonight. A nice group of film I say - with one I need to put on my watchlist.

I worked all night on the final write-ups (organizing them on that Letterboxd list has been a helpful tool). I wound up with a massive headache, a back-ache, probably an ass-ache from sitting all that time. But now I can just relax and post at my leisure. All the hard work is done.

Oh, and please, if anyone wants to add trivia, pictures or any info, feel free. I'd welcome the additional notes. And sharing opinions on the movies is always welcome.

I hope we can have fun with this. As we have with other LoCs.

(http://martialartsactionmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Movie-poster.jpg)
Poster art for the One-Armed Swordsman
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 11, 2019, 05:06:27 PM
Seven Samurai is a real grey area in terms of this list for me, and I probably wouldn't have included it except you expressly allowed it in one of your early posts, and I didn't want to be the only one not to vote for it, and yet somehow I was the only to include it. :P

Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival is one I haven't gotten to in the set yet. Not far off it though.

I haven't seen the others yet.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 11, 2019, 05:08:51 PM
I've yet to see Seven Samurai.  The main reasons are that: A) it is a long movie and 2) its one of those "great" movies that I feel like I need to put aside for special viewing, which means I might not really find the time to get around to it (Ikiru is in a similar camp).  But I do love Rashomon, Yojimbo and Red Beard so it would stand to reason I'd probably love Kurosawa's most beloved film.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 11, 2019, 05:12:01 PM
I've yet to see Seven Samurai.  The main reasons are that: A) it is a long movie and 2) its one of those "great" movies that I feel like I need to put aside for special viewing, which means I might not really find the time to get around to it (Ikiru is in a similar camp).  But I do love Rashomon, Yojimbo and Red Beard so it would stand to reason I'd probably love Kurosawa's most beloved film.

I know we've said this before, but it's not a daunting watch like so many great epics. It's incredibly breezy and easy. It's no Lawrence of Arabia or anything. (Which I love)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 11, 2019, 05:20:41 PM
I'm not saying it isn't but at the same time, I got to put away the time for it.  And usually, at the end of the week, which is when I watch a movie, I am VERY wiped from work.  I don't want to ruin a good movie for myself by watching it while almost falling asleep (which happened with part one of the 47 Ronin, but that film is NOT a breezy watch).  But yeah, there are a few longer movies that I could put on almost any time (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, for example).
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 11, 2019, 05:26:05 PM
When I first saw it (Seven Samurai) it was actually not as long as it is now -- they'd find a few minutes here and there and add it back to the film. But even then, when it ends, even though it's a fitting end, I don't want it to end. I want them to find more footage and make it longer.  ;)

I didn't add it to my list because I was going for a different type of film, more 'out there' if you will. Even when they were based on a true story and person, you'd still get certain HK films where people are doing impossible leaps, kicks and such. There are exceptions, but that's how I generally approached my list.

But yeah, Seven Samurai is a masterpiece.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 11, 2019, 07:30:47 PM
Well done on getting this countdown rolling! And no pressure. Lot of cool movies. 8)

And I feel you on the soreness thing, good luck there! Lately I've been using a stand-up desk, which sort of replaces the soreness of a desk chair with other types of soreness, but it's good for variety. Also sometimes use my TV as a second monitor.

Lot of cool movies, and a nice variety. Tiger Cage II rules so hard.

Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: stethacantus on December 12, 2019, 12:13:44 AM
I originally had The Seven Samurai on my list, but removed it because I thought the host used it as an example of films he didn't want on the LoC.   Back in 1985 Ric Meyers made a list for his book Martial Arts Movies: From Bruce Lee to the Ninjas for it's appendix.
Quote
THE TEN BEST MARTIAL ARTS MOVIES OF ALL TIME
In no particular order they are:
1) THE CHINESE CONNECTION
2) ENTER THE DRAGON
3)DRUNKEN MASTER
4) PROJECT A
5) THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE
6) EIGHTEEN LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA
7) BABYCART IN THE LAND OF DEMONS
8 ) THE HUMAN TARANTULA
9) ZATOICHI'S CANE SWORD
10) SEVEN SAMURAI

Note that The Chinese Connection is the American title for Fist of Fury, and the Shaolin Temple was the one starring Jet Li and produced in mainland China.

Back then I didn't agree with the list. Everything on it seemed like a compromise as if Meyer's decided there had to be a quota: Two Bruce Lee films, two Jackie Chan films, Four Chambara films with one each from the top three Chambara film series, and one from Kurosawa, at least one from Shaw Brothers and one from mainland China.  I had seen Seven Samurai on a PBS station just prior to buying the book, and thought it didn't count as a martial arts film, and was taking up a valuable slot on the top 10 list, because the fighting that is in it is not choreographed, but more like they just had mobs of extras run into each other. I gradually warmed up to the idea of it being considered a martial arts film, but the way you would consider some 1940s Country songs to be early Rock and Roll. The only reason why I would have considered adding it to my list is because I was ranking by favorite film and not by the quality of the fight scenes. So if it counted as martial arts, then I would have had to add it to my list, even if it knocked out more worthy films in the genre.  I have no regrets removing it from my list because I have hundreds of martial arts films I think belong on my list but only 25 slots, so opening up new slots actually helps.

It will be interesting to see, how many more of the Ric Meyers top 10 make it on this LoC.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 02:18:44 AM
Legendary Weapons of China, seriously? Out of the several superb movies Lau Kar-leung/Liu Chia-Liang directed, he selected that turd as one of the 10 best of all time? Sorry, but I thought it was an irritatingly stupid movie. 

Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 02:24:34 AM
#46 – The Avenging Eagle
https://www.youtube.com/v/__NFC1JXk3Q
24 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Stethacantus)

Year: 1978
Director: Sun Chung

Summary - Eagle Chief Yoh Xi-hung raises orphans to be his personal killers. One such is Chik Ming-sing who now wants to put his killer life behind him. When the Eagle Clan come after him, a stranger called Cheuk comes to his assistance. Now they will team up to destroy the evil clan.

Ben Johnson at Kung Fu Movie Guide gave it 5-stars and wrote... A terrific doubleheader starring Shaw Brothers mainstays Ti Lung and Fu Sheng in one of the best examples of post-modern wuxia cinema and, particularly, its links to the western. Sun Chung’s direction provides a refreshing tonic to Chang Cheh‘s more broody, righteous potboilers, providing full-bodied characters, quirks, great performances, and a truly original vision. His great use of tracking shots, jump cuts and slow motion display new and creative ways of negotiating around the confines of Shaw Brothers’ stifling Movietown studios.

Full review... http://kungfumovieguide.com/the-avenging-eagle/
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 02:25:44 AM
#45 – The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk
https://www.youtube.com/v/xPebdMy0b6s
25 points on 1 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (PsychoGoatee)

Year: 1993
Director: Corey Yuen

Letterboxd summary - This Hong Kong martial-arts extravaganza tells of evil emperors and true love. The secret Red Lotus Flower Society is committed to the overthrow of the evil Manchu Emperor and his minions. One of his Governors is sent on a mission to retrieve a list of members of that secret society. Meanwhile, Canton kung fu practitioner Fong Sai-Yuk falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a rich merchant.

Critic Marc Savlov wrote... Dazzles with some of the most breathtakingly choreographed fight scenes witnessed in years, including one show-stopper featuring a full battle waged atop the heads and shoulders of an awestruck crowd of gawkers.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 02:27:36 AM
#44 – Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
https://www.youtube.com/v/OMetJXYyXgQ
25 points on 1 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (ColeStratton)

Year: 2002
Director: Steve Oedekerk

A movie within a movie, created to spoof the martial arts genre. Writer/director Steve Oedekerk uses contemporary characters and splices them into a 1970s kung-fu film, weaving the new and old together. As the main character, The Chosen One, Oedekerk sets off to avenge the deaths of his parents at the hands of kung-fu legend Master Pain. Along the way, he encounters some strange characters
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: stethacantus on December 12, 2019, 07:48:54 AM
Legendary Weapons of China, seriously? Out of the several superb movies Lau Kar-leung/Liu Chia-Liang directed, he selected that turd as one of the 10 best of all time? Sorry, but I thought it was an irritatingly stupid movie.

Had Ric Meyers ranked that list instead of simply saying "In no particular order..." then Legendary Weapons of China would have been #1, because there is an entire chapter where he calls it the greatest martial arts movie of all time. The reasons he gave was because it was entirely about martial arts itself instead of simply being an action hero that knows how to fight, and because the ending fight used every traditional Chinese martial arts weapon.  I began buying bootleg Shaw Brothers films mostly because  of reading that book ( which was very pro-Shaw Brothers Studios ) and was very disappointed by Legendary Weapons of China. Just out of the Shaw Brothers bootlegs alone there were many that I thought were much better.   It's a very good film, especially if you were to edit out the Fu Sheng character and subplot, but I never thought it was one of the greatest. But Ric Meyers gave it enough of a reputation that IMAGE chose it to be among the 25 Shaw Brothers movies they released.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 12, 2019, 03:48:56 PM
I very much enjoyed Kung Pow at the time, but I have a feeling it's better left in my memory than revisited.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 03:59:28 PM
I don't recall liking Kung Pow a whole lot, though there were a few good gags in it. I've never had the urge to revisit it.

Legendary Weapons of China, seriously? Out of the several superb movies Lau Kar-leung/Liu Chia-Liang directed, he selected that turd as one of the 10 best of all time? Sorry, but I thought it was an irritatingly stupid movie.

Had Ric Meyers ranked that list instead of simply saying "In no particular order..." then Legendary Weapons of China would have been #1, because there is an entire chapter where he calls it the greatest martial arts movie of all time. The reasons he gave was because it was entirely about martial arts itself instead of simply being an action hero that knows how to fight, and because the ending fight used every traditional Chinese martial arts weapon.  I began buying bootleg Shaw Brothers films mostly because  of reading that book ( which was very pro-Shaw Brothers Studios ) and was very disappointed by Legendary Weapons of China. Just out of the Shaw Brothers bootlegs alone there were many that I thought were much better.   It's a very good film, especially if you were to edit out the Fu Sheng character and subplot, but I never thought it was one of the greatest. But Ric Meyers gave it enough of a reputation that IMAGE chose it to be among the 25 Shaw Brothers movies they released.

The broad comedy and mugging in that one didn't work for me (the voodoo doll stuff) - though there is clever choreography in it. I enjoyed the scene where they employ the 18 traditional weapons all in one fight.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 04:05:54 PM
Best guess here, there are two films with this title... and since Fluncheon never replied to my PM (asking which one he wanted), I just went with the film that had the higher ranking at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

#43 – Fist of the North Star
https://www.youtube.com/v/2e3QgEN4Smg
25 points on 1 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1986
Director: Toyoo Ashida

From IMDB - A practitioner of the deadly martial art "Hokuto Shinken" allies with two children and an expert in "Nanto Suicho-Ken" to fight against the rivals who kidnapped his lover and threaten the prosperity of mankind.

From Wiki - Fist of the North Star (Japanese: 北斗の拳 Hepburn: Hokuto no Ken) is a 1986 Japanese animated film adaptation of the manga series of the same name. It was produced by Toei Animation, the same studio who worked on the TV series that was airing at the time, with the same cast and crew working on both projects. Unlike the TV series, the movie is not a direct adaptation of the manga, but instead tells an alternate story that rearranges characters and plot elements from the manga's first 75 chapters. However, the film retains the more violent content of the original manga, which the television series lacked.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 04:15:54 PM
#42 – Ip Man
https://www.youtube.com/v/BmkvuHpfrkk
25 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #11 (PsychoGoatee)

Year: 2008
Director: Wilson Yip

GamesRadar ranked it 8th out of their Top 25 Kung Fu Movies - Paste ranked it 12 out of 100 and wrote... 2008’s Ip Man was finally the moment when the truly excellent but never fairly regarded Donnie Yen came into his own, playing a loosely biographical version of the legendary grandmaster of Wing Chun and teacher of a number of future martial arts masters, one of whom was Bruce Lee. The film takes place in 1930s Foshan (a city famous for martial arts in southern/central China), where the unassuming master tries to weather the 1937 Japanese invasion and occupation of China peacefully, but is eventually forced into action—limbshattering, face-pulverizing action. This semi-historical film succeeds gloriously: both as cinematic triumph and as martial arts fan-bait. — K. Alexander Smith
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 04:17:51 PM
#41 – Lady Snowblood
https://www.youtube.com/v/MxBvPgzpoH8
25 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (F-Zero)

Year: 1973
Director: Toshiya Fujita

From Criterion - Gory revenge is raised to the level of visual poetry in Toshiya Fujita’s stunning Lady Snowblood. A major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, this endlessly inventive film, set in late nineteenth-century Japan, charts the single-minded path of vengeance taken by a young woman (Meiko Kaji) whose parents were the unfortunate victims of a gang of brutal criminals. Fujita creates a wildly entertaining action film of remarkable craft, an effortless balancing act between beauty and violence.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 12, 2019, 04:23:24 PM
I never watched the movie but I've read all of the original manga.  Its a weird beast and an influencial one to say the least.  It's martial arts action but it is also ridiculously gory and often has a sort of Tales from the Crypt-style karma, with Kenshiro (the Japanese title has wordplay, as Ken is also Japanese for "fist") finding Road Warrior-style marauders and using his bizarre martial art to destroy them in the nastiest way possible.  Except for a lot of the upper eschelon villains, as many of them fall into the "noble but ruthless" camp.  I used to be turned off by it but while I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it, it has earned my grudging respect and influenced another movie on my list that might show up.

The manga also inspired a huge wave of super-gory martial arts and action manga.  Many were pale imitations but some cream rose.  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a favourite, starting out as a Fist of the North Star-type series that replaces post-apocalyptic marauders with Victorian vampires.  As the series goes on, it ditched the martial arts in favour of bizarre and quirky (and often convoluted) powers with each arc kind of doing a different genre (though several are cross-country/continent romps).  The other takes the Fist formula and instead of martial arts was dark high fantasy: Berserk.  Berserk is a series I have very mixed feelings on, with it being sometimes trashy, sometimes complex and occassionally transendent.  And its still going after over 30 years.

Fist of the North Star's animated TV series also had some great intros, including the goofy but catchy "Tough Boy".  SO 80s!

https://www.youtube.com/v/PnRuhAc8GAc

Of course, the original intro is iconic.

https://www.youtube.com/v/JKk6hHU0iUs

I've yet to see any movies based on Kazuo Koike's comics but I loved one of his other series that will likely be represented here.  I really need to see and watch Snowblood.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 12, 2019, 04:33:16 PM
Thanks for the info on that - my write-ups are on the slim side, so it's appreciated.

I'm one of the rare -maybe only- people who prefer the second Lady Snowblood to the first, which I was kinda m'eh about. I know the first is more of a personal story for her, but the second was more interesting to me, more plot than bloodletting, which apparently viewers didn't care for.

Ip Man was great (though it ultimately didn't survive my final cut), I guess Donnie Yen is retiring from Kung Fu movies - the 4th Ip Man film will be his last, he said.

BTW - love the Angie Wang cover for the Criterion collection

(http://www.cityonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/790_791_BD_box_348x490_original.jpg)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 12, 2019, 10:45:38 PM
Lot of cool stuff!

I never watched the movie but I've read all of the original manga.  Its a weird beast and an influencial one to say the least. 

Right on, I also mainly dig the manga, fun stuff. A classic for sure. That movie is cool for the spectacle, and definitely adds another epic song to the playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oplJnWUtyCE (Heart of Madness)

And I still need to check-out Lady Snowblood, and good to know it has a sequel to check out as well.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 13, 2019, 04:23:52 AM
#40 – Dragon Inn, aka Dragon Gate Inn
https://www.youtube.com/v/GAq31U-fOS0
27 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (Edward J Grug III)

Year: 1967
Director: King Hu

No. 7 in the Hong Kong Film Awards' List of The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures - Paste ranked it 39th and called it... An influential film that one might call the birth of the modern wuxia epic, Dragon Gate Inn was actually made in Taiwan, despite being set in historical China. It’s a story of family, as several orphaned children of a deposed general are on the run from a band of hired killers. As they flee for the country’s borders, a trap is waiting for them at the Dragon Gate Inn. But when a brother-sister team of martial artist allies arrive, they help even the odds for the refugees. The action is stylish and heavy on the swordplay. I’ve always been amused by this scene in particular, when a bevy of four swordsmen try to overwhelm the old master by running around him in a circle in order to disorient him. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: Director King Hu encouraged his martial arts choreographers to draw from the alternately fluid and rhythmic movements of Chinese opera. Rather than resorting to fast or slow motion, footage printed backward, animation, or other early special-effects techniques, the filmmaker relied as much as possible on the actual skills of his performers and on the magic of editing.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-production/films/ccb827146c114a70eb9b1f37d8ade156/tBlNZHb7Ql0lqLZJxG3JbJaFVnQCrd_large.jpg)

Some more nifty cover art from Criterion (by Greg Ruth), I believe they sell this one as a poster - though considering how banged up my Bluray cases are when I order movies direct from them, I'm not sure I can trust Criterion to get a poster to me unscathed.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 13, 2019, 04:26:51 AM
#39 – The Karate Kid
https://www.youtube.com/v/yDi3an8WgN4
29 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #10 (ColeStratton)

Year: 1984
Director: John G. Avildsen

Ranked #81 by Paste, who said... Ralph Macchio’s crane-legged Karate Kid would become an icon of the ’80s, as would Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi, the sensei who trains the bullied Daniel LaRusso in martial arts. Although many of the scenes can feel a little worn and trope-laden, that’s mostly due to how much the film has been copied in the years since its release. It was the sort of feature that defined karate to an entire generation of young kids and must have inspired countless dojo openings and yellow belt ceremonies. It also features one of the great villains of ’80s cinema in the merciless Cobra Kai coach, Sensei John Kreese: “Sweep the leg, Johnny.” —Josh Jackson

Note: The fighting style practiced in the movie is called Goju-ryu, a traditional Okinawan style of karate with an extensive history. The term Goju-ryu actually means “hard-soft style,” which refers to the closed hand techniques (hard) and open hand techniques and circular movements (soft) that comprise this martial art.

To learn more... https://www.liveabout.com/history-and-style-guide-goju-ryu-2308264
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 13, 2019, 04:29:58 AM
#38 – Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
https://www.youtube.com/v/BX5f7g9utJM
30 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #10 (F-Zero)

Year: 1983
Director: Lau Kar-leung (aka Liu Chia-Liang)

Ranked 13th by GamesRadar, 14th by Paste, who wrote... If there is one Shaw Brothers kung fu film with which to ever start, let The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter be it. An epitome of brisk, unadorned Hong Kong martial arts pulp, the film stars a steely-eyed Gordon Liu as a lauded general who must abandon his rage to become a monk—at least until it comes time to avenge his family’s murder at the hands of another traitorous general. No trope goes untouched, from one warrior’s lapse into insanity, to the whole film’s lapse into ever-mounting madness—a bloody spree of what-ifs carry 8 Diagram Pole Fighter to its vague and body-littered conclusion. Because revenge will never bring your murdered loved ones back to life, right? Still, there’s no harm in trying, and if that means you need to turn a bale of bamboo poles into a makeshift bamboo-pole-shooting cannon, then so be it. And if that also means that you need to graphically rip out your enemies’ teeth by making them chomp down on those same bamboo poles and then forcefully rip the whole package from unwilling jaws, then so be that, too. And god forbid you’ll be required to cleave off a nipple or two. This is just what happens when you mess with a monk dead-set on breaking his vows. —Dom Sinacola

Trivia: The film is based on the Generals of the Yang Family (Yeung family in Cantonese) legends.

(http://hkmdb.com/db/images/people/4004/AlexanderFuSheng-74-t.jpg)

My Thoughts: While watching, I was disappointed to see the expected team-up between brothers fail to materialize. It seemed a poor decision by the screenwriters, then I learned that tragically, actor Alexander Fu Sheng (also seen in The Avenging Eagle) died in a car accident before the filming was finished. And the script had to be partly re-written to remove his character from the final showdown.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 13, 2019, 05:02:10 AM
CRAP.  I completely forgot the one where the guy is an investigator samurai.  Oh what was his name.  There were three movies and one of them he practices torture on himself to see how much his prisoners can stand, and another he coerces information out of woman sexually.  DAMN what was that called.  Well don't say it because doubtless it's coming up.  Someone PM it to me pls thx.  I have to go see it again immediately.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 13, 2019, 04:23:33 PM
Unrelated to that, but I do like the movie G.I. Samurai.  ;D Time travel, Sonny Chiba, good times.

On the Gordon Liu movies and whatnot, I've always meant to check those out. He's naturally cool in his roles in Kill Bill.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 14, 2019, 02:13:55 AM
Not familiar with the samurai investigator films - though I enjoyed the Wuxia Sherlock Holmes type trilogy I just finished with, Detective Dee.

I didn't post the 2 I planned to on Friday night - so I'll post these 3 for Sat, then 4 on Sunday, and get back to my 5 a day schedule on Monday.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 14, 2019, 02:15:48 AM
#37 – Project A
https://www.youtube.com/v/nwbgYCjdSTo
30 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #14 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 1983
Directors: Sammo Hung · Jackie Chan

From IMDB - In late 19th Century Hong Kong the British may rule the land, but the pirates rule the waters. Reluctantly, the Coast Guard is given money to fight these pirates, but the pirates themselves have many contacts (that is, bribed officials) in the government, and seek to thwart the Coast Guard's efforts to eliminate them. One Coast Guard officer is Dragon Ma, who is determined that his beloved Coast Guard will not be made fools of.

From Wiki - Set in the 19th century in old Hong Kong, Project A blends comedy moments and spectacular stunts, including set-pieces reminiscent of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. One stunt, in particular, involved Chan hanging and falling from the hand of a clock tower some 60 feet high, tearing through awning canopies before hitting the ground head-first. It was inspired by Lloyd's famous clock-tower stunt from the 1923 film Safety Last!; while Lloyd only hanged from the tower, Chan took it a step further and actually fell from the tower.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 14, 2019, 02:16:42 AM
#36 – Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
(https://www.uk-anime.net/Images/lone-wolf-cub-criterion.jpg)
32 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #7 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi

From Criterion... Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 14, 2019, 02:19:34 AM
#35 – Drunken Master
https://www.youtube.com/v/KQMNllz6aE0
32 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #5 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 1978
Director: Yuen Woo-ping

GamesRadar ranked it 3rd out of their top 25 Kung Fu Movies and said… Now it's nothing new, but back in the late seventies no-one was mixing comedy and martial arts. This was one of the first successful genre blends of that type, and became Jackie Chan’s calling card. He stars as Wong Fei-hung, who trains in the ancient form of Drunk Boxing.

Coolest fight: While drinking and fighting typically results in a night in the slammer, for Chan's fighter it's an intoxicating combination. It's amazing that his moves connect.

Iconic moment: The training sequences in which Chan is quite clearly suffering a lot. The birth of the "Ah, I'm so tired but I know I must go on to be the master" training montage.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 14, 2019, 03:01:42 PM
Not familiar with the samurai investigator films - though I enjoyed the Wuxia Sherlock Holmes type trilogy I just finished with, Detective Dee.

I didn't post the 2 I planned to on Friday night - so I'll post these 3 for Sat, then 4 on Sunday, and get back to my 5 a day schedule on Monday.

stethacanthus jumped in immediately and PMed me the correct name. :)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 14, 2019, 03:04:08 PM
Oh come on...only me and flunch voted for Lone Wolf & Cub?!!??!?

The rest of you have some serious HOMEWORK to do:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Wolf_and_Cub#Films
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 14, 2019, 05:08:15 PM
I've seen 2 and a half Lone Wolf & Cub movies but I didn't care for them and quit on the series, they just weren't for me.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 15, 2019, 01:55:27 AM
Sunday features 4 of my personal faves, starting with this all-world, top of the class masterpiece...


#34 – Yojimbo
https://www.youtube.com/v/y_1iT_GmHTE
32 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Edward J Grug III)

Year: 1961
Director: Akira Kurosawa

From Criterion - The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone and Walter Hill, this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films of all time.

Trivia: Akira Kurosawa challenged his assistant directors to come up with an image for the film to let Sanjuro know he was entering a bad town. He shot down all of their ideas, since all of them had already been done. Kurosawa himself then came up with the idea of the dog carrying the human hand.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 15, 2019, 01:59:33 AM
#33 – Chocolate
https://www.youtube.com/v/0Onmgwe5xi8
34 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #9 (Stethacantus & George-2.0)

Year: 2008
Director: Prachya Pinkaew

GamesRadar ranked it 22 in their Top 25 Kung Fu Movies list - Paste ranked it at the 51st position and said… Chocolate is a pretty odd premise that succeeds because the action is just so good. One might summarize it thusly: “It’s like Rain Man, except with more muy thai.” As in, the lead character is an autistic savant, except instead of counting toothpicks, her talents mostly lay in kicking people in the face. Casting is critical to its success; lead Yanin “Jeeja” Vismistananda is an ostensibly adorable waif, which makes her appear as a most unlikely butt-kicker. After a childhood spent mnemonically absorbing martial arts movies, however, she turns into a tool of vengeance unleashed upon the gangster threatening her mother. The fight scenes are over-the-top ridiculous but thankfully wireless, which makes for a stylish, exuberant film. —Jim Vorel

My Thoughts: I loved the story, I loved the protagonist – especially in the way she imitates other fighters, M.A. aficionados will be able to spot her doing all the greats from Tony Jaa to Jackie Chan. My favorite moment is when she replicates Bruce Lee’s Ice House fight, complete with cat-like howl. Awesomeness!
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 15, 2019, 02:09:32 AM
#32 – Five Fingers of Death, aka King Boxer
https://www.youtube.com/v/RfsIV4w8oh0
34 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (George-2.0)

Year: 1972
Director: Chang-hwa Chung

Martial Tribes ranked it #9 in their list of Top 10 Kung Fu movies of all time - Paste ranked 46th, and wrote...Enter the Dragon is often the martial arts film cited as being the start of the kung fu craze in America, but in reality it was Five Fingers of Death that kickstarted the genre in the U.S. a year earlier as an unexpected drive-in hit. As such, the dubbed version at least is a little more naive in its presentation and attitude toward the martial arts, treated with a sort of aloof, mystic reverence. At its core though, there’s an excellent story here, starring the great Lo Lieh as a young pupil who shuffles between masters as he attempts to learn the necessary skills to defeat a local tyrant and win the hand of the girl he loves. It proved extremely influential—once again, Kill Bill borrows elements here, in particular its instantly recognizable battle music, which was itself lifted from the 1967 TV series Ironside. Perhaps most importantly, films like this one paved the way for martial arts cinema to soon explode into crossover popularity in the U.S., with Bruce Lee as the standard-bearer. —Jim Vorel

(https://www.martialtribes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/kungfu2-300x150.jpg)

My Reflections: If you were of a certain age and resided in the U.S. you got a chance to live through the martial arts boom that hit the States in the early 70s. It started with the Kung Fu television series, and reached fever pitch with Bruce Lee and Enter the Dragon, but nestled in between them was this gem - there was no way I wasn't going to rank this high, if only for its importance and the nostalgia factor. A revisit shows it holds up well (and it was the first I saw it with subs rather than dub, which was an improvement.)

The original HK title was King Boxer, a rather bland appellation, IMHO. Five Finger of Death is a much cooler, bad-ass title.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 15, 2019, 02:14:00 AM
#31– The Five Deadly Venoms
https://www.youtube.com/v/N_QqI6QBdww
34 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #11 (Charles Castle)

Year: 1978
Director: Chang Cheh

aka The Five Venoms - Ranked #11 in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time." - GamesRadar ranked it #5 - Paste ranked it #1 and said... This is what vintage kung fu—and martial arts cinema, with it—is all about. The mythology alone is exquisite: Five Deadly Venoms is the first Venom Mob film, and gave each of them a name for the rest of their careers. There’s the blinding speed of The Centipede, the trickery and guile of The Snake, the stinging kicks of The Scorpion, the wall-climbing and gravity-defying acrobatics of The Lizard and the nigh-invincibility of The Toad, along with the so-called “hybrid venom” protagonist, who is a novice in all of the styles. It’s a film typical of both Chang Cheh and the Shaw Brothers—high budget, great costumes, beautiful sets and stylish action. Is it on the cheesy side? Sure, but how many great martial arts films are completely dour? Five Deadly Venoms is emblematic of an entire era of Hong Kong cinema and the joy they took in delivering beautiful choreography and timeless stories of good vs. evil. It’s everything that’s wonderful about martial arts. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: The Venom Mob is the colloquial title of a group of actors from the Shaw Brothers Studio, popular creators of martial arts films in the 1970s and 1980s. Most were friends since childhood and attended the Peking Opera School in Taiwan before meeting director Chang Cheh and moving on to the Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong.

They appeared in numerous Shaw films, but did not become a group in high demand until Five Deadly Venoms. They were the main choreographers in all of their films, highly skilled Chinese weapon experts, talented actors, and excellent acrobats. Their films usually dealt with Chang Cheh's common themes of brotherhood, valor, and betrayal.

To read more (including the complete roster...  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venom_Mob
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 15, 2019, 12:07:54 PM
I love Drunken Master.  I know a lot of people prefer the sequel, which has some great creative fights but I prefer the classic training/finally fight structure and staccato martial arts style of the era.

Five Venoms was a recent watch for me.  I like that its a sort of whodunnit, except its finding out who are the evil martial artists and who are the good ones.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Russoguru on December 15, 2019, 12:18:39 PM
I probably know of about 5 total movies on this list so far... which explains why I did not participate. If I did, I probably would have just made a list with... five entries.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 15, 2019, 04:14:09 PM
The first 40ish minutes of Dragon Inn is one of the best movies ever made, though I don't think it manages to keep it up all the way through. It IS obviously a movie that Tarantino stole from though.

Project A is so much fun. I haven't seen the sequel yet, though I do own a copy, and it'll happen soon.

I haven't seen Drunken Master in so long, I may as well have not seen it. I think I really enjoyed it at the time though.

Yojimbo is a perfect movie. 10/10

The other I haven't seen - though I do have the Five Deadly Venoms on my watch pile also.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: CJones on December 15, 2019, 04:41:33 PM
I love Drunken Master.  I know a lot of people prefer the sequel, which has some great creative fights but I prefer the classic training/finally fight structure and staccato martial arts style of the era.

You're not the only one. I also preferred the first one. It felt more "technical" (?) while the sequel felt more staged and theatrical.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 15, 2019, 06:07:32 PM
Question for the experts, if I "hum a few bars"...

I saw an awesome kung fu movie when I was a kid.  I've been keeping my eye peeled but I've never run across it.

My only memory was of a guy fighting against 15 guys with spears.  He would parry all 15 at the same time.  He ended up getting caught in a doorway, and all the spears kind of used leverage against the sides of the door to split him open.  You didnt actually see guts but there was a big gush of blood on the front of his costume.

My mouth was hanging open from the awesomeness.  I'd love to see it aga9in.

Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 03:20:27 AM
#30 – Kung Fu Panda
https://www.youtube.com/v/NRc-ze7Wrxw
37 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (linszoid)

Year: 2008
Directors: Mark Osborne & John Stevenson

Ranked #62 in Pastes Top 100 - Kung Fu Panda isn’t just a good movie—it’s a good kung fu movie. The title isn’t pandering, because the film truly respects its source material. Jack Black’s character may as well be Sammo Hung or Jackie Chan in one of his early roles. All of the classical elements are there— an obnoxious pupil who becomes a fighting machine. A team of (literally) animal-based martial artists with varying styles. An unbeatable, rampaging villain in the vein of the Ghost-Faced Killer from Mystery of Chessboxing. And a secret technique that the hero needs to learn in order to conquer that villain. It’s a funny, vibrant film as easily enjoyed by children as adults, and one that the adult viewers should feel no embarrassment for enjoying as much as they do. If you like classical martial arts filmmaking, Kung Fu Panda is probably the most faithful animated twist on the genre that anyone has pulled off so far. Too bad the same can’t be said of its overblown sequels. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: The name of the prison is "Chor Ghom Prison". "Chor Ghom" is Cantonese for "go to prison" or to literally "sit in prison".
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 03:22:14 AM
#29 – Wheels on Meals
https://www.youtube.com/v/jvVrNI_WuNo
37 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (PsychoGoatee)

Year: 1984
Director: Sammo Hung

Paste ranked it #25 and said... Wheels on Meals is a silly, silly movie, but damn, is the action amazing. As far as trios go, it’s harder to get better than Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung, although Hung’s role in this one is minimal. Rather, it all comes down to some incredible fight scenes featuring Chan and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a real-life American kickboxing champion who makes the perfect dance partner for Chan in several high-octane brawls. Their final confrontation isn’t just a great scene, it might be the best one-on-one fight scene of Chan’s career, and Benny The Jet is just as good as Chan. In fact, it’s The Jet who pulls off one of the coolest fight scene feats I’ve ever seen, the supposedly unintentional (and unfaked) “candle kick,” where a missed spin kick generates such force that it blows out all of the lit candles on a candelabra several feet away. You really have to see it to believe it. Oh, and there’s also a story about a kidnapped girl, but the kicks are far more interesting. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: from Kung Fu Kingdom (https://kungfukingdom.com/wheels-on-meals-movie-review/)...
* The film’s somewhat unusual sounding title was originally intended to be “Meals on Wheels”. However, superstitious Golden Harvest executives changed the title because two of their previous films beginning with the letter “M” – “Megaforce” and “Menage A Trois” – had both been flops.

* During the film’s final fight, Benny Urquidez performs a spinning kick so fast that the airflow extinguishes a row of candles. This was not planned at all, and was left in the film because it looked so impressive.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 03:24:30 AM
#28 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
https://www.youtube.com/v/FMJPwRWaZBI
38 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (linszoid)

Year: 1990
Director: Steve Barron

Paste ranked it 84th and said... Akin more to a creeping chambara flick or a meditative piece of kung fu canon than cash-grabbing kids’ fodder, the first live-action attempt at a Ninja Turtles movie now seems—after decades of reboots and big-budget spectacles geared at children but tailored to functionally no one (as any movie Michael Bay produces typically is)—a movie worthy of its workmanlike martial arts action. Once you get past the explicitly turtle-based finishing moves (like the shell-smushing knock-outs) and the Domino’s Pizza plugs, what’s left is a brooding narrative and surprisingly extended, unadorned fight scenes. Although Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still staunchly a product of its time (featuring a young, greasy Sam Rockwell as “Head Thug,” no less), it’s also a handsome, even appealingly gritty film, shot with sepia filters and samurai silhouettes, and threaded throughout by the kinds of panoramic melees that all these years later M. Night Shyamalan attempted with The Last Airbender and then failed. Look especially to the brawl in April’s family’s antique shop to witness how four grown men in turtle costumes—that have gotta weigh a ton— combatting a bunch of ninjas can best serve director Barron’s unexpected talent at flushing out visual space in order to make a dead premise feel—seriously—lived in. Plus, this marks the only time you’ll ever find Corey Feldman on a list like this. —Dom Sinacola
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 16, 2019, 05:17:03 AM
I haven't seen the original Ninja Turtles flick in a long time but considering that it mixes two classic Turtles stories from the comics, the first issue and the Return of Shredder arc, I should check it out again.

Kung Fu Panda didn't make my list.  The story is competant but workmanlike.  However, the martial arts scenes are great, a lot of them taking cues from the classic Jackie Chan-style.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 05:45:14 AM
Kung Fu Panda didn't make my list. 

So what's that title I'm seeing in the 16th spot of your list?  ;)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 16, 2019, 06:01:23 AM
Kung Fu Panda didn't make my list. 

So what's that title I'm seeing in the 16th spot of your list?  ;)

Wait, really?  Weird.  Huh.  I did not remember that at all. Looking at my list, I see why.  A lot of the others are either more in the "I remember liking this but I barely remember this" camp and "very good but I don't see it as primary martial arts" camp.  Plus those fight scenes are really good.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 06:14:44 AM
Kung Fu Panda didn't make my list. 

So what's that title I'm seeing in the 16th spot of your list?  ;)

Wait, really?  Weird.  Huh.  I did not remember that at all. Looking at my list, I see why.  A lot of the others are either more in the "I remember liking this but I barely remember this" camp and "very good but I don't see it as primary martial arts" camp.  Plus those fight scenes are really good.

I'm just happy it wasn't something I messed up and had to fix. My heart sunk a little and I thought, "Oh no, what did I do?" and then "well, maybe someone else voted for it and my old brain is misremembering."
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 16, 2019, 06:20:04 AM
No, I just assume it missed the cut off.  It actually made it fairly high, all things considered.  It doesn't hurt that I'm a sucker for a zero-to-hero story.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: linszoid on December 16, 2019, 08:21:21 AM
I haven't seen the original Ninja Turtles flick in a long time but considering that it mixes two classic Turtles stories from the comics, the first issue and the Return of Shredder arc, I should check it out again.

Kung Fu Panda didn't make my list.  The story is competant but workmanlike.  However, the martial arts scenes are great, a lot of them taking cues from the classic Jackie Chan-style.

I think the original turtle holds up remarkably well. Its a lot darker then I remember too.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 16, 2019, 09:33:00 AM
Well, that's because with certain exceptions (such as the Turtles' love of pizza, the multi-colored colored bandanas, Michaelangelo's party dude personality), its more of an adaptation of the original comics than the cartoon.  Not as dark as those comics, of course, (which mixed the gritty Frank Miller-story telling with a Jack Kirby quirkiness) but still, darker than the cartoon to be sure.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 16, 2019, 12:18:35 PM

Trivia: from Kung Fu Kingdom (https://kungfukingdom.com/wheels-on-meals-movie-review/)...
* The film’s somewhat unusual sounding title was originally intended to be “Meals on Wheels”. However, superstitious Golden Harvest executives changed the title because two of their previous films beginning with the letter “M” – “Megaforce” and “Menage A Trois” – had both been flops.


I thought that title seemed pretty weird, even for engrish.  Nice post.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 16, 2019, 04:38:35 PM
I just managed to fill my list enough to knock kung fu panda off.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 05:40:28 PM
#27 – The Savage Five
https://www.youtube.com/v/tZ8U5k9-P1c
39 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Stethacantus)

Year: 1974
Director: Chang Cheh

Unranked by the two sources I've been quoting, so let's just jump to my thoughts...

Kung Fu meets spaghetti-western! The movie concerns a village under siege by a gang of violent bandits, and the five men of differing backgrounds and personalities who stand up to them. This is an under-rated one in Chang's filmography, and the main knock I see about it is that it's a slow starter. That might be true for chopsocky fans who only want immediate, blood and guts action... but as a western aficionado, I didn't find it slow in the least - it establishes character and situation, it emphasizes the danger, it makes the villains so dastardly that your dying to see them get their just deserts. The fighting takes a back seat to the story at the start, but I actually found that refreshing and a nice change of pace from others I've seen from Shaw Brothers Studios. I liked the build-up and pay-off. I like the actors, the score and the themes. Cheh taps into his inner Leone (with a nod to Kurosawa) and the results are grim but top rate.

You can see it here with subs rather than the terrible dubs offered elsewhere... https://ok.ru/video/1130842557129
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 05:42:06 PM
#26 – Wing Chun
https://www.youtube.com/v/iI0v72_wFqc
40 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (F-Zero)

Year: 1994
Director: Yuen Woo-ping

Ranked 9th in WatchMojo's list of "Top 10 Underrated Martial Arts Movies"  and 38th in Pastes Top 100. They wrote... Michelle Yeoh would become well-known six years later with the release of cross-cultural smash hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but she was a star in martial arts cinema from the 1980s onward, and Wing Chun is one of the best overall star vehicles for her great physical (and comedic) talents. Tonally, it’s sort of an unusual film, as much romantic comedy as it is martial arts movie, but without sacrificing the gravitas of the action sequences. It manages to be both charming, as the story of a country woman protecting her village, and a thrilling collection of set-pieces largely practical in their special effects. It’s hard not to fall in love a little bit with Yeoh by the end— she’s as beautiful as she is talented. —Jim Vorel

My thoughts: One of the things I wanted to do on this LoC, was to note the style of martial arts in each movie, but I quickly discovered a week of study wasn't going to allow me enough time to do this. It was too big. There are forms, and styles, and family of styles... it's a fascinating history - and that history has been covered in pictures, like this one.

From wiki... Wing Chun Kuen (traditional Chinese: 詠春拳), usually called Wing Chun (詠春), is a concept-based traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu (wushu) style and a form of self-defence, also known as "beautiful springtime", that requires quick arm movements and strong legs to defeat opponents. Softness (via relaxation) and performance of techniques in a relaxed manner is fundamental to Wing Chun. According to legend, it was created by Ng Mui, an abbess who taught it to her student Yim Wing-chun as a means to defend herself against unwanted advances. The martial art is named after her. According to Ip Man, "Chi Sau in Wing Chun is to maintain one's flexibility and softness, all the while keeping in the strength to fight back, much like the flexible nature of bamboo". Notable practitioners of Wing Chun include Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, and Robert Downey Jr.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 16, 2019, 06:11:12 PM
And that's the first half - pretty solid group, with many of the best actors, choreographers and directors represented. While it was heavy with HK cinema, there were visits to Japan, the USA, and Thailand.

Tomorrow we begin the final 25 with an odd-ball - a movie I'd never expected to see even on a top 100, let alone making it at #25.

How's that for a cliff-hanger. See you Tuesday.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 16, 2019, 06:22:43 PM
Tomorrow we begin the final 25 with an odd-ball - a movie I'd never expected to see even on a top 100, let alone making it at #25.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e8/Mr_magoo.jpg)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Russoguru on December 16, 2019, 10:16:14 PM
God I can't remember the last time Leslie Nielsen was in a halfway decent movie-- oh wait, yes I can... Spy Hard, 1997.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 16, 2019, 10:19:13 PM
God I can't remember the last time Leslie Nielsen was in a halfway decent movie-- oh wait, yes I can... Spy Hard, 1997.

You are being extremely generous to Spy Hard
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Russoguru on December 16, 2019, 10:28:39 PM
I think I'm becoming nice in my old age.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 17, 2019, 02:32:17 AM
Surf Ninjas could even fit in on this list possibly, well maybe.  ;D It holds up I think, at least as a fun B-movie.

Lot of great cool fun movies here, and cool fun looking ones I haven't seen. Quality stuff folks.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:17:53 AM
As much as I'd like to see a 'Kung Fu Magoo' movie on the list, it's not in the cards. We'll have to settle for these instead...

#25 – Five Fighters from Shaolin
https://www.youtube.com/v/5bUJ-t7oiYI
41 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1984
Director: Shih Hao Ko

None of my sources ranked it and I couldn't find much info on it, but Kung Fu Movies Guide gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars and wrote… A chopsocky tale of two halves. The first hour sees a laughing monk (Mark Long) recruit a traveling band of wastrels (a brother and sister duo; two annoying cooks; a fat guy with a cart) to join him in creating a self-sufficient Buddhist commune in the shadow of the Shaolin temple. The film picks up once the ensemble develop their kung fu skills. Chen Shan becomes star pupil, gymnast Yau Ming-yin works out on a pommel horse, and Lin Yu-zhen, being the only girl, is left to do all the house work. Then a white-haired Jack Long drops in about 30 minutes from the end playing a disgruntled black magic fighter in a red cape demanding to know the whereabouts of a coveted Shaolin manuscript, and the film goes bananas. The swords come out and heads explode in a bonkers finale. It’s worth sticking around for. – Ben Johnson

My Thoughts: Every now and then in these LoCs, you'll get a surprise entry in the top 25, and '5 Fighters' would be that for this one. It only has 21 views at Letterboxd, with grades ranging from a half-star to the full 5 (with a reviewer praising it by calling it a "Trashterpiece", lol). F-Zero had it on his list, and I didn't think twice about it... then the next list came in from Fluncheon, and there it was again... and so here it is. A bonkers movie - flying from out of the blue, and into our kung fu hearts.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:20:50 AM
#24 – The Crippled Avengers
https://www.youtube.com/v/RxtnXrgrg7Y
43 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (Fluncheon)

Year: 1978
Director: Chang Cheh

Paste ranked it #5 and wrote… In a time when exploitation cinema seemed the standard for cheap movie houses the world over, no martial arts flick got much better than this Shaw Brothers staple, which eventually adopted the much more PC title, Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms. The blind one, the deaf mute, the one without legs, and the brain-damaged “idiot”: together, they make an unstoppable force of vengeance against the local martial arts master who crippled them, and his son, who ironically lost his arms at a young age, and so sports dart-shooting cast-iron facsimiles. In other words, Crippled Avengers plays it cool, allowing our disfigured heroes few but important victories for most of the film, building up to its final 25-minute series of fight scenes, in which a blind man, a deaf mute, a man with iron prosthetic legs, and an acrobatic “idiot” combine their individual strengths to defeat a kung fu master with, basically, robot arms. Movies like this are the reasons we get up in the morning. —Dom Sinacola

My Thoughts: Both the training and battle sequence with the rings - true poetry in motion

Oh, and it boasts one of the all-time great movie posters.

(https://cdn.pastemagazine.com/www/system/images/photo_albums/b-movie-posters/large/1978---crippled-avengers.jpg?1384968217)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:24:15 AM
#23 – A Touch of Zen
https://www.youtube.com/v/18yH_9ZT27Q
43 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #5 (Edward J Grug III)

Year: 1971
Director: King Hu

Ranked #10 on the Hong Kong Film Awards 100 Best Chinese Motion Pictures - Ranked 19th by Paste - If King Hu’s Dragon Gate Inn established a lot of the hallmarks of classic wuxia, then A Touch of Zen elevated things to the next level. A film of style, grace and gravitas, A Touch of Zen is unusual in that it features a veritable non-combatant as its lead protagonist, although he is surrounded by many others who know how to fight. Beyond its choreography and effects (which won it the first-ever award at Cannes for a Chinese-language film), this three-hour epic (it’s very long) is also noted for its strong themes of spirituality and the tenants of Buddhism, which have rarely been explored in detail even in the years since. Truly influential in many ways, it is perhaps best encapsulated in the famous bamboo forest swordfight, which gave birth to so many similar fights over the years, to the point where “bamboo forest fight” is one of the most common of all wuxia tropes. Films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers owe much to this one. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: Filmed in Taiwan, where King Hu was unable to find the staff to do what he needed... so he did it himself. Styled hair, designed costumes, even helped build the sets.

(https://www.amoeba.com/sized-images/maxs/500/500/uploads/movies/primary/atouchofzendvd.jpg)

My Thoughts: I remember when Crouching Tiger was released, how critics and such praised Ang Lees art-house approach to Wuxia, as if it had never been done like that before.... but it was King Hu who paved that path decades before.

That rooftop battle, as the combatants fly off in the distance as Mr. Gu stares helplessly, is like a ballet - beautifully shot and composed. Plus you get these gorgeous panoramic vistas that utilize the Taiwanese landscapes to great effect. It's all a work of art.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 17, 2019, 05:27:03 AM
As much as I'd like to see a 'Kung Fu Magoo' movie on the list...

OK.

https://www.youtube.com/v/KgE_crPtVDA

Finally, for everyone asking "can I have a feature length movie at Flash Animation quality?"
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 17, 2019, 04:11:22 PM
A Touch of Zen is incredible. It's what recently got my Wife and I watching both Wuxia and Martial Arts films. Unfortunately we're still very new to it, so I haven't seen many of the other films on the list.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:31:10 PM
#22 – Heroes of the East
https://www.youtube.com/v/R_Exl1eek3k
44 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #7 (Stethacantus and George-2.0)

Year: 1978
Director: Lau Kar-Leung

aka Shaolin Challenges Ninja... GamesRadar ranked it 10th in their list of top 25 kung fu movies - Paste ranked this 22 out of 100 and said… Gordon Liu is our hero in the classic Heroes of the East, but it’s not quite the Gordon Liu we’re used to. Quite honestly, the Gordon in this movie is a dick—he marries a Japanese woman and tries to convert her to more “ladylike” martial arts before offending all the prominent martial artists in her country and ending up in a series of duels with them. The film is unconventional in portraying the Japanese not as outright villains but simply aggrieved, honorable fighters. What we get from that set-up is a fascinating contrast in styles, and fights that pit balanced elements of combat against one another—for example, Chinese drunken boxing vs. Sino-Okinawan karate. Or Japanese weapons such as the sai against Chinese butterfly swords. It’s simply fun, classic stuff, and a story that doesn’t feel like it’s been told a million times before. Personal favorite: Gordon takes on a ninja looking dude wielding “the Japanese crab technique.” It involves a lot of scuttling side-to-side and tiny little shuffle-steps, and it will probably make you chuckle. —Jim Vorel

My Thoughts: This domestic comedy-drama answers the age-old question, “What If Tracy and Hepburn were martial artists?” Chinese man marries Japanese woman – and she’s a M.A. spitfire, kicking down walls and statues, which lead to the couple quarreling, both verbally and physically, on which country has the best weapons, fighting styles and traditions. The scene where they sit down to dinner is a hoot – things get more serious when we get into the challenges – which feature some of the best fight choreography in a Shaw Brother’s film.

I also liked how we come to a place of mutual respect and reconciliation between Chinese and Japanese characters at the end. Which was uncommon for films from this period.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:34:02 PM
#21 – The Way of the Dragon
https://www.youtube.com/v/4lNDLaSWmhY
44 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (linszoid)

Year: 1972
Director: Bruce Lee

GamesRadar ranked it 20th - Paste ranked it #47 - Way of the Dragon stands as the only film that Bruce Lee ever finished directorial duties on, passing away before he could complete The Game of Death or the co-credit he might have shared on Enter the Dragon. It stands, therefore, as perhaps the most accurate and complete piece of work that Lee personally envisioned, a story about a Hong Kong fighter who travels to Rome in order to protect a family restaurant being threatened by the mob. As one would expect, it has some great fights, but nobody has quite the same presence on camera as Lee. If there’s one thing most viewers would take away from this one today, it’s the fact that this film contains one of the holy grails of martial arts battles: Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris, the final opponent, which takes place among the ruins of the Roman Colosseum. That classic fight is no doubt worth the price of admission alone—just feel the tension as both of them warm up and crack their knuckles before the battle begins. —Jim Vorel

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/JeetKuneDo.svg)

The Jeet Kune Do Emblem: The Taijitu represents the concepts of yin and yang. The Chinese characters indicate: "Using no way as way" and "Having no limitation as limitation". The arrows represent the endless interaction between yang and yin

Lee's fighting style: Jeet Kune Do (Chinese: 截拳道; Cantonese Yale: jiht kyùhn douh; [tsìːt̚.kʰy̏ːn.tòu]), or "The way of the intercepting fist" in Cantonese, abbreviated JKD, is a hybrid philosophy of martial arts heavily influenced by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Lee founded the system on July 9, 1967, referring to it as "non-classical", suggesting that it is a formless form of Chinese Kung Fu. Unlike more traditional martial arts, Jeet Kune Do is not fixed or patterned and is a philosophy with guiding ideas. Named for the Wing Chun concept of interception or attacking when one's opponent is about to attack, Jeet Kune Do's practitioners believe in minimal effort with maximum effect and extreme speed.  for more... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeet_Kune_Do
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 17, 2019, 05:40:34 PM
A Touch of Zen is incredible. It's what recently got my Wife and I watching both Wuxia and Martial Arts films. Unfortunately we're still very new to it, so I haven't seen many of the other films on the list.

That's a great one to start with, hopefully, your getting some ideas for the watchlist from this one.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 04:27:41 AM
#20 – Come Drink With Me
https://www.youtube.com/v/z1A6PnPZ6Gk
46 points on 2 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Fluncheon & Charles Castle)

Year: 1966
Director: King Hu (with Sammo Hung)

GamesRadar ranked this 11th, while Paste ranked it 35th and said… With a female protagonist (Cheng Pei-pei) at the head of an army of warrior women and the Shaw Brothers’ stamp early on in the production company’s run, Come Drink With Me not only broke the wuxia mold, it practically created it. Without the film, there would have been no Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino has even been rumored for years to have a remake in his docket); in fact, without this film’s meager success in the U.S., later bolstered by the Weinstein Brothers commitment to bringing martial arts classics to cult-inclined Western audiences, there are few other films of its ilk that would have ever been embraced outside of China and Hong Kong. Achingly tender in moments, with fight scenes that more resemble sophisticated, choreographed dance than realistic brawls, the influence of Come Drink With Me can’t be overstated. Even if you’ve never seen it, when you think of martial arts film, you think of something akin to this. —Dom Sinacola

Trivia: from kung fu kingdom.com (https://kungfukingdom.com/come-drink-with-me-movie-review/)
* “Come Drink With Me” is an adaptation of a Beijing Opera called “The Drunken Beggar”.

* It was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.

* Director King Hu deliberately chose a ballet dancer, Cheng Pei-pei, for the lead female role, stating, “…rather than fighting. I’m very interested in Peking opera and particularly its movement and action effects, although I think it’s difficult to express them adequately on stage, where the physical limitations are too great.” King Hu was said to recognize that some of the fights are stylized as opposed to realistic but claimed that combat in his movies was “always keyed to the notion of dance”.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 04:34:43 AM
#19 – The Raid 2: Berendal
https://www.youtube.com/v/MG9uFX3uYq4
46 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 2014
Director: Gareth Evans

Paste ranked it #58 and said… Nearly five years in gestation, The Raid 2 feels like the exact kind of movie that Gareth Evans has always dreamed of making. Or…scratch that: this is the kind of movie that every fan of martial arts cinema has always dreamed of watching—the pure and unhindered manifestation of brutal hand-to-hand action shot with unrepentantly magnanimous scope. Where the original film exposed the world to a rapid-fire form of Indonesian martial arts called Pencak silat, The Raid 2 made that style of fighting the only key to survival in a society on the verge of total nihilism. Expanding from an occupied office building to the whole of the criminal underworld, The Raid 2 takes the surviving characters from the first film and pushes them toward a tragic and/or exhausted end. Practically every scene is the result of filmmaking bravura, but perhaps the most trenchant is one in which hero Rama (Iko Uwais), barely holding himself together after hours of fighting, walks slowly back through the now-quiet graveyard of defeated bodies he left in his wake not long before. It’s a humbling moment, that the calm after the storm is just a sad reflection on all the pain inflicted during the storm itself. Self-aware and yet unstoppable despite that, The Raid 2 is a new standard for action cinema. — Dom Sinacola

Trivia: Julie Estelle had zero background in martial arts and she had to learn Silat from basic for 6 months before she started shooting her fight scenes.

Silat is a collective word for a class of indigenous martial arts from the geo-cultural area of the Maritime Southeast Asia. It is traditionally practiced in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, portions of the Philippines, the southern part of Thailand and the central part of Vietnam. There are hundreds of different styles (aliran) and schools (perguruan), but they tend to focus either on strikes, joint manipulation, weaponry, or some combination thereof. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silat
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 04:37:53 AM
#18 – The Raid: Redemption
https://www.youtube.com/v/m6Q7KnXpNOg
49 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 2011
Director: Gareth Evans

Paste ranked it #32 and said… When future generations look back upon the beginning of the 21st century and seek a way to understand the claustrophobia and fear that defined so much of our popular media of the time, let them look upon The Raid and weep. Essentially one extended action set-piece, paced with super-human precision to both incite and then maximally exploit one’s heightened dopamine levels, The Raid leaves no headspace for hesitation—once you’re in, you’re at its mercy, and the film’s only relief awaits at the top of an apartment block ruled by one of Jakarta’s scrappiest, psychopathic-iest crime bosses. The Raid is what martial arts cinema looks like in our young century: bleak, dystopian and hyper-violent. This is brutality at its barest. —Dom Sinacola

Trivia: Despite the fact that the movie's tagline mentions "30 floors of chaos," the apartment building in the movie only features 14 floors, 15 if you count the ground floor.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 04:40:55 AM
I apparently need to give the Raid another shot... I actually turned it off halfway through. But so many people rave about the Raid (and its sequel) that I'm thinking maybe I wasn't in the right mood or frame of mind for it 7 years ago?
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 18, 2019, 04:46:11 AM
The Raid 2 is amazing.  Its also an incredibly different movie than the first.  The first was a lean, tense thriller that feels very John Carpenter-esque (to me at least).  The sequel is a gangster epic with martial arts.  If you are going in for the experience of the first again, you may be very surprised at the very large cast and intrigue at play.  Sadly, it seems like The Raid 3 isn't happening but I'm hoping if it did, it two would have been a very different movie (I would have gone with a smaller, more intimate story that still manages to have a ton of action).

Meanwhile, the Raid is a movie with no fat on it.  It feels very stripped down, mixing some horror-style thrills with incredibly brutal but eye melting action.  Its a shame it got stuck with that subtitle because redemption is something that it can be argued happens, but its not really what its about.  At least, not enough to warrant the subtitle.


Warning: violence
https://www.youtube.com/v/Nz2hD54xsy8

https://www.youtube.com/v/n8QsSqqX2yk
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 05:44:38 PM
#17 – Rumble in the Bronx
https://www.youtube.com/v/q7vg8uGzLts
50 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (PsychoGoatee)

Year: 1995
Director: Stanley Tong

Ranked 26th by Paste, who said... Here’s a weird factoid: Jackie Chan was 41 years old in 1995, when Rumble in the Bronx succeeded in making him an American film star. He’d already been a star in China for more than a decade, but can you think of any other martial artists who turn into a big deal for the first time after their 40th birthdays? The irrepressibly youthful Chan plays a Hong Kong cop who comes to New York for a wedding and gets sucked into a criminal underworld. It wasn’t Chan’s first American film, but it was the one that finally synthesized the trademark Chan dynamic: Fast pace, lots of physical comedy and death-defying stunt work. Don’t look for compelling acting here, because Rumble in the Bronx is as cheesy as they come. Do look for classic stunts, like Chan leaping off a building and onto a fire escape with no wires or nets. Or the epic fight in the villain’s headquarters and its hilarious use of props, especially refrigerators. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: from Kung Fu Kingdom, “The Bronx” was actually filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and you can frequently spot mountains in the background of certain shots!
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 05:46:03 PM
#16 – Shaolin Soccer
https://www.youtube.com/v/6FAaOwNnHTA
50 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (ColeStratton)

Year: 2001
Director: Stephen Chow

Ranked 85th by Paste, they wrote... Set in an alternate universe where the Three Stooges were down-ontheir-luck monks and kung fu nothing more than a silly distraction from more lucrative adult matters, Shaolin Soccer somehow—between impromptu dance numbers, confusing body dynamics, self-help homilies, a whole lot of hilarious screaming, and an utter commitment to CGI—tells a warm-hearted tale about how martial arts is so much more than a way to kick your enemies in the face really hard. It’s a way of life. As such, Stephen Chow shines, suffusing every shot and every bit of visual minutiae with the unbridled excitement of both those who make action flicks and those who adoringly watch them. Though he’d later go on to perfect his madcap brand of big budget, beat-em-up fantasy, Shaolin Soccer is nearly perfect as an example of a martial arts film that seems to exist on its own spacetime continuum. —Dom Sinacola
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 18, 2019, 06:32:34 PM
And here's what I've been seeing, your LoC in Letterboxd list form (sans notes), so far...

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_OJyE8a3qT8/XfreqrsNB7I/AAAAAAAAE_8/tudtp9mX2xURwaq3JVtSoeQV3NvJaB4jgCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/loc3.PNG)
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gXVy-eBqXDo/XfreqkdCk4I/AAAAAAAAE_4/g2WvdESBg4YZBCZNDzXMz4YC0RYA_PDvwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Loc2.PNG)
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4tIBjJKQr1E/XfreuDE7p7I/AAAAAAAAFAA/x6BoDNLcsyMihK0PnUgo2E_VHl-c_eVKwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Loc1.PNG)

The final 15 is heading your way!
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Edward J Grug III on December 18, 2019, 07:09:29 PM
Letterboxd lists are so satisfying :D
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Charles Castle on December 18, 2019, 09:11:01 PM
This list is excellent for wandering down the YouTube rabbit hole. Most of them are, but this one in particular.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 18, 2019, 10:50:29 PM
Right on, lot of cool stuff. And excellent to see so much Jackie Chan on the list, what an epic filmography.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 19, 2019, 02:56:18 AM
#15 – Big Trouble in Little China
https://www.youtube.com/v/592EiTD2Hgo
51 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (ColeStratton)

Year: 1986
Director: John Carpenter

Neither Paste (Top 100) or GamesRadar (Top 25) ranked the film - which tells the story of Jack Burton, who helps his friend Wang Chi rescue Wang's green-eyed fiancée from bandits in San Francisco's Chinatown. They go into the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, where they face an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan, who requires a woman with green eyes to marry him in order to release him from a centuries-old curse.

Although the original screenplay by first-time screenwriters Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein was envisioned as a Western set in the 1880s, screenwriter W. D. Richter was hired to rewrite the script extensively and modernize it. The studio hired Carpenter to direct the film and rushed Big Trouble in Little China into production so that it would be released before a similarly themed Eddie Murphy film, The Golden Child, which was slated to come out around the same time. The project fulfilled Carpenter's long-standing desire to make a martial arts film.

The film was a commercial failure, grossing $11.1 million in North America, below its estimated $19 to $25 million budget. It received mixed reviews that left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent filmmaking. It has since become a cult classic and has a 79% average rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a steady audience on home video. -Wiki

Kung Fu Kingdom gave it a rating of 8 out of 10. Read Brad Curran's review, here... https://kungfukingdom.com/big-trouble-in-little-china-movie-review/
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 19, 2019, 02:58:53 AM
#14 – Kill Bill: Vol. 1
https://www.youtube.com/v/7kSuas6mRpk
53 points on 5 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 2003
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Ranked #11 in Pastes top 100 - The greatness of Kill Bill Vol. 1 was in its finely tuned balance between acting as an homage to classic martial arts movies (both Chinese and Japanese) and as a blistering entry into the genre canon on its own visceral, offbeat merits. In the early 2000s, there was perhaps no cinematic experience like it (well, at least until Vol. 2 arrived). The gory but graceful tea house battle with the Crazy 88; the intensely claustrophobic kitchen showdown—these are only two excellent examples of everything that makes a martial arts movie superb. That Tarantino filled two movies with this stuff of greatness makes for some truly transcendent viewing. -K. Alexander Smith
.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 19, 2019, 03:00:07 AM
#13 –The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
https://www.youtube.com/v/9e4HDsEJfro
54 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #7 (Johnny Unusual)

Year: 1978
Director: Lau Kar-leung

GamesRadar ranked it #1 - Paste ranked it 2nd and wrote… And this is why any kung fu fan will always love Gordon Liu. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is as classic as it gets—the definitive Shaolin movie, without a doubt, and the source of Liu’s nickname, “Master Killer.” He plays a young student who is wounded when his school is culled by the Manchu government, so he flees to the refuge of the Shaolin temple. After toiling as a laborer, he is finally granted the right to learn kung fu, which begins the film’s famous training sequences. It’s the rare film where those training sequences actually outshine the traditional fights, because they’re just so beautiful, fluid and inventive. In each of the 36 chambers, San Te must toil to discipline his body, mind, reflexes and will. They make up the whole center of the film, and are unforgettable. The film just has a gravitas —it imbues kung fu with a great dignity, because true kung fu can only be attained through the greatest of sacrifice. —Jim Vorel
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 19, 2019, 06:18:54 AM
I think I like Kill Bill Vol. 2 more but I feel that despite Pai Mei and the fight between Beatrix and Elle, its far less of a martial arts movie while vol. 1 is wall to wall action.

The 36th Chamber was a relatively new watch for me but it hit my "watch a guy train with unusual methods" buttons for sure.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 19, 2019, 05:21:17 PM
#12 – Fist of Legend
https://www.youtube.com/v/zfZXiw-lgMs
56 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (Charles Castle)

Year:1994
Director: Gordon Chan

Paste ranked #15 and wrote...  Jet Li is one of the few kung fu practitioners who can make the claim that he’s played his own teacher and student—his character Chen Zhen is the student of Huo Yuanjia, who he then played 12 years later in Fearless. Fist of Legend, on the other hand, is essentially a remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, another tale pitting Chinese nationalist against the oppression of Japanese invaders in the Second SinoJapanese War. There’s nothing too fancy about the story: “You killed my master, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.” What’s fancy is the fighting, because oh man, can Jet Li kick some serious ass in this one. Through most of the film, he’s seriously on another level, until he meets the seemingly superpowered Japanese guy who is the final villain. I actually prefer one of the earlier fights, though, when Jet takes on an entire school of Japanese karate students—and then punches their master right on the bottom of the foot in a particularly goofy bit of violence. —Jim Vorel
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 19, 2019, 05:24:41 PM
#11 – Iron Monkey
https://www.youtube.com/v/0zM0fEsZjhM
56 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (George-2.0)

Year: 1993
Director: Yuen Woo-ping

Ranked 24th by GamesRadar - Ranked 10th by Paste who wrote... One might reasonably call Iron Monkey the quintessential Hong Kong martial arts film of the ’90s, well known in the U.S. as well thanks to the enterprising efforts of a young Quentin Tarantino, who convinced Miramax to give it a successful U.S. release. However, one should really see the original Chinese version in its unedited state for the performances by Yu Rongguang as the vigilante Iron Monkey and Donnie Yen at his best as the father of a boy who would go on to become one of China’s greatest folk heroes (and subject of many films as well). Purely entertaining, Iron Monkey never takes itself overly seriously, striking an easygoing balance between hyper-kinetic, somewhat unrealistic action and a broadly appealing, Robin Hood-like story. It’s the definition of a kung fu people-pleaser. —Jim Vorel

Trivia: The little boy in this film is based on Wong Fei Hung who is associated with fighting style  Hung Ga (洪家), Hung Kuen (洪拳), or Hung Ga Kuen (洪家拳), which is a southern Chinese martial art (Cantonese, to be more specific) belonging to the southern Shaolin styles. The hallmarks of the Wong Fei-Hung lineage of Hung Ga are deep low stances, notably the "sei ping ma" (四平馬) horse stance, and strong hand techniques, notably the bridge hand, and the versatile tiger claw. To read further... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hung_Ga

My thoughts: I saw the Miramax cut in theaters and loved it... later saw the original version, and yes, it's even better. Miramax has a tendency to sanitize the films and alter the script via the dubs. While Monkey was still a wonder, other pictures weren't so lucky - The Heroic Trio, for example, was butchered by Miramax beyond recognition (thankfully I've seen it uncut). The one Miramax change I agree with here was getting rid of the undercranking. I hate undercranking, especially with modern films - these folks are fast enough - it isn't needed and it looks daft.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 19, 2019, 05:28:50 PM
I remember liking it at the time.  But it was ages ago when I saw it.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 12:47:14 AM
#10 – Master of the Flying Guillotine
https://www.youtube.com/v/RmdP1qTjGZY
57 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (F-Zero)

Year: 1976
Director: Jimmy Wang Yu

A sequel to the 1971 film One Armed Boxer - Paste ranked this 13th and wrote… Master of the Flying Guillotine is a hallucinogenic delight, the kind of inspired lunacy that people who have never seen kung fu probably picture in their heads when it’s brought up…except crazier. A Jimmy Wang vehicle (the same guy from One Armed Swordsman), it’s more notable for its awesome villain, the titular user of the flying guillotine. What’s the flying guillotine, you ask? Only the coolest weapon in martial arts cinema history. It’s essentially an oversized hat, attached to a chain, that is thrown over a victim’s head. When the chain is yanked, the hat spins and the inner blades neatly cut off the victim’s head like a circular saw. Jimmy Wang’s duels with both the master and his lackeys are presented seriously, but they’re equally funny because the villains are so out there. Particularly great: The “yoga master” who can extend his arms like Dhalsim in Street Fighter 2, because that’s how yoga works, right? —Jim Vorel

My Thoughts: Might have the greatest soundtrack of any kung fu flick.

From wiki...Most of the music in the film is taken from Krautrock bands, and includes:

* "Super" (Opening theme) and "Super 16" (Master Fung's theme) from Neu!'s second studio album, Neu! 2
 
* "Rubycon, Part One" (The One-Armed Boxer's theme) from Tangerine Dream's sixth studio album, Rubycon', and
 
* "Mitternacht" (Suspense theme), "Morgenspaziergang" (courtyard music) and "Kometenmelodie 2" (End credits) from Kraftwerk's fourth studio album, Autobahn.

The soundtrack has been referenced and sampled extensively, including the use of "Super 16" in Tarantino's Kill Bill
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 12:53:57 AM
#9 – Fist of Fury, aka The Chinese Connection
https://www.youtube.com/v/w_4RjSbSIFY
61 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (linszoid)

Year: 1972
Director: Lo Wei

GamesRadar ranked it #4 - Paste ranked it #31 and said… Bruce Lee’s second feature is a definite upgrade over the rawness of The Big Boss, sporting a bigger budget, better production and a story more important to Lee’s values. His character, Chen Zhen, becomes a Chinese folk hero when he stands up to the invading Japanese occupiers—especially in the classic scene where he breaks a sign permitting “no Chinese and no dogs” in the local park. This is the film where Bruce Lee truly arrived in a fully formed state, and if there’s a precise moment when that happens, it’s the classic dojo fight where Chen shows up at the Japanese training facility and absolutely goes to town on everyone inside. It’s iconic, like so many Bruce Lee moments. Do you know how you can tell just how iconic he is? Literally every piece of clothing he wore in a film has become a visual symbol for decades to come, whether it’s a simple white shirt, or this film’s navy blue suit, or of course the yellow tracksuit from The Game of Death. That’s how you know the guy is a legend. —Jim Vorel

Kung Fu Kingdom (https://kungfukingdom.com/fist-of-fury-movie-review/) gave it 10 out of 10 and wrote... In any genre, films run the full spectrum of quality – from terrible to mediocre, from good to fantastic. But only a few have achieved the distinction of being truly groundbreaking and worthy of historical note. “Fist of Fury” is unquestionably one of these prime examples. With an emotionally-gripping story, electrifying martial arts action, and Bruce Lee’s dynamic, larger-than-life charisma combined with tremendous physical prowess, “Fist of Fury” is a specimen of near perfection. His previous film, “The Big Boss” may have made Bruce Lee a star, but “Fist of Fury” was the film that made him an icon for the ages

My Review: https://letterboxd.com/captainquint/film/fist-of-fury/

And see it with subs, the dubs are funnier, but lose nuance in the performance. Plus, I hope the Rifftrax release hasn't hurt this picture's reputation among forum members... it really is an outstanding kung fu flick. And for the record: Bruce didn't figure out that one guy was Japanese because of his nipples - as some forum members joked- but by the sarashi wrap he was wearing. You'll often see sarashi in Japanese anime, yakuza films, etc
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 01:05:01 AM
#8 – Duel to the Death
https://www.youtube.com/v/gDPjaSaJqt8
66 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (F-Zero)

Year: 1983
Director: Ching Siu-Tung

Ranked 10th in WatchMojo's list of "Top 10 Underrated Martial Arts Movies" - Kung Fu Movies Guide (http://kungfumovieguide.com/duel-to-the-death/) gave it 5 out of 5 stars and wrote… Tony Ching Siu-tung’s directorial debut is a shot of pure adrenaline; treading similar ground to the golden age of Shaw Brothers’ finest post-modern wuxia films, only tanked up on amphetamines. The wirework maestro exploits his talents in scenes of overblown wizardry, with cliff-top showdowns and clans of crazy ninja. But it is also a heartfelt film in spite of the flying stars and severed heads; heads which, in one instance, continue to talk even after they have been decapitated. The story focuses on an ancient Ming dynasty duel held every decade between China’s greatest Shaolin fighter and Japan’s best Samurai. The duel doesn’t happen until the very end of the film, after we learn about the Holy Sword House and its fragile inhabitants, and the attempts of their Japanese rivals to sabotage the main event and steal China’s martial secrets. That’s when the ninja arrive: a hyperactive brigade of stealth fighters who disappear into smoke, fly through the air in defiance of gravity, spring from absolutely nowhere and, in one great scene, disguise themselves as a single, giant, towering super ninja entity, before springing out of formation to wreak havoc. The final duel is an exhilarating climax set in a coastal landscape with heavy fog, crashing waves and falling rocks. Tony Ching would later hone his more supernatural leanings with the seminal A Chinese Ghost Story films. If you loved that beguiling, weird franchise, then this even weirder masterpiece is definitely for you. -Ben Johnson

My Thoughts: A surprise entry in the top 10, but a worthy one. I could find very little info on the picture (stethacantus, did Ric Meyers say anything about it in his book?) When Mojo calls it underrated, they probably mean underseen. Because it's not that it isn't respected among martial arts movie fans, but few outside that circle seem to know of it.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 01:08:33 AM
I'll post the other 2, and a short piece on the power of 5, later today.

And yes, I changed the title font for the top 10, to impact. What an appropriate name for a martial arts list.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 20, 2019, 05:15:09 AM
Duel to the Death is the ultimate Japan vs China showdown.  The best swordsman in Japan vs the best swordsman in China.  Crazy action yet philosophical. 

They clash in the beginning and eventually join forces to fight a common foe.  After an epic battle and just when you think it's all over, in true Samurai fashion the Japanese swordsman turns on the Chinese swordsman as a matter of honor.  The rivalry MUST be resolved!  They have an epic wire sword battle on the cliffs overlooking a raging ocean.  You can find the youtube of the battle but you need the context of their relationship first.

The filmmakers present both sides of the rivalry not as a political 50/50 split of respect, but somehow simultaneously present both sides with 100% heart, if that makes sense.   

(https://i.ibb.co/q5CtjMs/totes.jpg) (https://ibb.co/Wt0b5Wy)

Flora Chong-Leen is so unearthly beautiful I can barely believe she's real.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 20, 2019, 05:54:56 AM
Does anyone remember the late, great hkflix.com?  THAT was what the internet was all about.  What a terrible loss for that website to shut down.  You can't even see web pages on waybackmachine any more.

Here's an article by the owner on the shutdown:
https://cityonfire.com/original-founder-of-hkflix-com-speaks-out/
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 20, 2019, 10:00:17 AM
Nice to see Duel to the Death so high on the list, what an awesome film.

And yeah, getting unedited versions of some of these is always tough, especially on blu-ray. Rumble in the Bronx and Iron Monkey as mentioned, etc.

Lot of great fun movies! Master of the Flying Guillotine is fun. Quite a few of these came to my attention thanks to Wu Tang, RZA and whatnot mentioning them.

Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 03:54:53 PM
I watched a bunch at ok.ru (which I linked to for the Savage Five), I don't know how legit they are, but with some hunting, I was able to find movies uncut, original language with English subs. Netflix also had a bunch I could stream with English subtitles - so I was able to catch a lot of these the way Kung fu God intended.  ;)

Flying Guillotine was a kick, it just missed making my list, so I'm glad others voted for it, as it deserves a spot at the table.

Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 03:58:27 PM
#7 – Five Element Ninjas
https://www.youtube.com/v/OA68I1u31Z0
66 points on 3 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Stethacantus)

Year: 1982
Director: Chang Cheh

aka Chinese Super Ninjas - Paste ranked it 8th and wrote…. This was Cheh’s swan song with the Shaw Brothers, as tastes were changing and leaving the costumed period pieces behind—but man, it’s a doozy. Responding to the out-there stylistic choices of the town, the director apparently said “I’ll just outdo everyone,” and he produced one of the most ludicrous (but awesome) kung fu films ever made. This is the essence of Saturday morning kung fu theater in America, but if you only saw it that way, it’s doing the film a disservice, because you’re likely to miss out on the surprising and sometimes comical gore of the fight scenes. The story revolves around a few young fighters seeking vengeance against a ninja clan that massacred their classmates, but it’s the villains that really stand out. Each group of ninjas has their own absurd costumes and ridiculous quirks. Gold ninjas use their shields to blind enemies. Water ninjas use snorkels and pull opponents down underwater to drown them. Fire ninjas use smoke shields to hide and move. Wood ninjas pose as trees and use claws to slash and tear. And finally, the supremely goofy Earth ninjas are somehow able to tunnel through solid soil like freaking earthworms and explode out of the ground with an almighty bang. Five Element Ninjas is as crazy as kung fu gets, but you’ve got to love it for its entertaining excesses. —Jim Vorel

(https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LtGTVWkdodk/V-MmW-WYlMI/AAAAAAAACOU/7lGeydcR5vgY7gM8_e-TLD-zGR-wYgTlgCLcB/s1600/Five-Element-Ninjas.jpg)

My Thoughts: I first saw this during the weekend marathon I had a while back and just loved it. It's incredibly fun, violent, absurd with an involving story. This is playing at Amazon Prime and Netflix (which gives you subtitle and language options. While the English dub is hilarious -it sounds like the voices come from South Park- I'll say it again, stick to the original language with subs…. It’s much more enjoyable that way)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 04:00:56 PM
#6 – Police Story
https://www.youtube.com/v/EpXMJ3wo0kI
67 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (stethacantus & PsychoGoatee)

Year: 1985
Director: Jackie Chan

Paste ranked it 18th and said… Remember that scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood drive the Bluesmobile through a mall and wreck it up good? That’s basically what Jackie Chan does to a shopping center in Police Story, except it’s with his own two hands. Seriously, there’s enough breakaway glass in that one, nine-minute fight scene for 10 martial arts movies. Chan plays a cop (again) who goes after bad guys (again). Why complicate the plot synopsis any more than that? The only sensible way to rank Jackie Chan movies is simply to focus on the action and the death-defying stunts, which all the films in the Police Story series have in spades. Chan has called the first Police Story his greatest film, though, and who are we to argue? — Jim Vorel

Trivia: from kung fu kingdom (https://kungfukingdom.com/police-story-movie-review/)
* Jackie Chan sang the theme for the film.

* It won the Best Film award at the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards.

* The scene where the villains go through the green double-decker bus window and crash land onto the concrete was actually an accident. They were supposed to fall onto the car. They kept the take in the film.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 04:07:51 PM
And before I unleash the final 5 tomorrow, here's a piece about 5 - you see a lot of martial arts movies with 5 in the title, and appropriately, our 50(+1) had 5 Fives (Five Fingers of Death, Five Venoms, The Savage Five, the Five Fighters from Shaolin and Five Element Ninja). Five is a big deal in Chinese philosophy and culture. I'd like to give you a straight forward and easy summary of what it all means, but it gets pretty murky.... you have 5 elements, but I've read that they are not like the 4 elements as westerners understand them. There are 5 phases, but they are not really like phases.... confused? I was.

Wiki defines it as...

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/FiveElementsCycleBalanceImbalance_02_plain.svg)

The wuxing (Chinese: 五行; pinyin: wǔxíng), also known as the Five Elements, Five Agents, Five Movements, Five Phases, Five Planets, Five Processes, Five Stages, Five Steps, or Five Ways, is the short form of "wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì" (五種流行之氣) or "the five types of chi dominating at different times" .It is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The "Five Phases" are Wood (木 mù), Fire (火 huǒ), Earth (土 tǔ), Metal (金 jīn), and Water (水 shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the "mutual generation" (相生 xiāngshēng) sequence. In the order of "mutual overcoming" (相剋/相克 xiāngkè), they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. After it came to maturity in the second or first century BCE during the Han dynasty, this device was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial arts. The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 20, 2019, 04:23:20 PM
Learn something new every day. And I've gotta see Five Elements Ninja, that sounds rad. And Police Story sure blew me away.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: linszoid on December 20, 2019, 04:31:12 PM
Wait, so the 5 elements are constantly insulting each other? Is metal all like, "Hey fire, some of us can pee without a burning sensation. No need to get fired up. You must really be hot under the collar. Burn"
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: stethacantus on December 20, 2019, 07:36:53 PM
While the English dub is hilarious -it sounds like the voices come from South Park- I'll say it again, stick to the original language with subs…. It’s much more enjoyable that way)

I don't think Shaw Brothers actually recorded sound, but like most studios across the world, filmed without sound and had their movies dubbed. The Chinese language track is supposedly all dubbed. The only way to hear the true voices of their stars was in the few co-productions with English studios. For example, David Chiang in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires which was co-produced with Hammer Films. Each actor at Shaw Brothers had his own vocal actor who did his voice for the Chinese release.  It was a combination of the actors working in so many films that they didn't have the time to dub their voices, and some of them unable to speak the dialect  the films were officially being released in.  The English language dubs were done by Australian voice actors who often did more than one character in a film, and would trade off on actors on each film. It wasn't just that the English dubs weren't as well acted as the Chinese dubs, but the dialog needed to be rewritten once translated to English so it would fit the lip movement, and often subtext an occasionally vital plot points were omitted. Removed lines were often replaced with the line "But still...", so often that it became a joke among English language fans of the films.

Perhaps the worst offense was with Heroes of the East. The original film had the Chinese actors speaking Chinese, and most of the Japanese characters only able to speak Japanese. The inability for both cultures to communicate was a major plot point. But in the English dub, all the characters speak English. The original ending has Gordon Liu giving a speech about how both martial arts schools should be united while the leader of the Japanese translates to those who don't speak Chinese. In the English language dub everyone speaks English. The speech is mostly the same, but instead of the leader of the Japanese translating, he is yelling at his students to listen to what Gordon Liu is saying because it is important, while they are trying to listen to what Gordon Liu is saying.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 20, 2019, 08:39:29 PM
That's interesting, I knew the Italians did that for decades, didn't know China (or Shaw) was. I mean, I knew they were recording multiple tracks for many of these things - Mandarin, Cantonese.... but I wasn't sure what the original language was, or if it mattered.

In early India cinema, they would sometimes film 2 movies, one in Hindi one Bengali - same story, same director, but with mostly different actors, at times, a few different scenes. As an aside, India has an interesting sound and music history. If anyone is interested, here's a piece on that... http://www.filmsound.org/india/
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 03:27:12 AM
#5 – Hero
https://www.youtube.com/v/_USDk5jaGek
75 points on 4 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Charles Castle)

Year: 2002
Director: Zhang Yimou

That's one of the more misleading trailers you'll ever find - Hero is actually a highly fictionalized account of the failed assasination attempt on the first Emperor of China - While not ranked by either Paste or GamesRadar, the picture received a 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, who wrote... With death-defying action sequences and epic historic sweep, Hero offers everything a martial arts fan could ask for.

Ben Johnson of Kung Fu Movie Guide (http://kungfumovieguide.com/hero/) gave it 5-stars and wrote... "Hero is a monumental picture; like looking at a King Hu movie through a kaleidoscope. Chinese art director Zhang Yimou brings together an ensemble cast of exquisite talent to create a period martial arts tale of epic proportions, whilst meticulous Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle scours the land for some of the most breathtaking visuals ever captured in an action movie. At times the film is quite overwhelming, and a small screen can never do it justice."

Trivia from Kung Fu Kingdom (who rated the film 9 out of 10)
In “Highlander Endgame” Donnie Yen appears as an immortal whom Duncan McLeod recognises as Jing Ke, the same historical figure on which “Hero” is based
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 03:29:07 AM
#4 – Kung Fu Hustle
https://www.youtube.com/v/47nS6Wo4yaw
89 points on 7 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Cole Stratton & Johnny Unusual)

Year: 2004
Director: Stephen Chow

Paste ranked it #68 and wrote… Stephen Chow is probably the biggest name in martial arts comedy since the days of Sammo Hung, and Kung Fu Hustle will likely remain one of his most well-regarded films both as a director and performer. Gleefully kooky, it combines occasional song and dance with extremely exaggerated kung fu parody in telling the tale of a young man who ends up overthrowing a large criminal organization, the “Deadly Axe Gang.” This is not a complex film—rather, it’s simply intended as popcorn entertainment at its most absurd. The action has no basis in reality, being closer to a real-world depiction of Looney Tune physics. The characters are broad pastiches and references to famous actors from the genre’s history abound. With comedy that teeters decidedly on the juvenile or inscrutable side, it’s a film that some will dismiss off-hand, but Chow’s style has always and will probably always be “entertain first, make sense later.” That’s what he does, and he does it better than anyone else. —Jim Vorel
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 03:46:34 AM
#3 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
https://www.youtube.com/v/-jTdOdcMKoY
91 points on 9 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (Charles Castle)

Year: 2000
Director: Ang Lee

Ranked 6th in Pastes Top 100... Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning epic is not only the highest-grossing foreign film ever, but it also happens to be yet another foreign film that changed the cinematic landscape: a kung fu flick with pulpy soul and a romantic heart. Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi play 19th-century warriors whose loyalty and vitality are tested by a series of events that lead each to contemplate their many life decisions that brought them to that point. Beyond the entrancing and lyrical storytelling, Crouching Tiger stands as a rare, beautiful beacon of hope: a foreign film that was actually universally embraced by Western audiences. Here’s to hoping that happens more often. —Jeremy Medina

Trivia: Crouching Tiger was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Foreign Language Film (Taiwan)

Cheng Pei-pei (Come Drink With Me) won Best Supporting Actress at the 20th Hong Kong Film Awards

The film was originally written as a novel series by Wang Dulu starting in the late 1930s, and is loosely adapted from the storyline of the fourth book in the series

My Thoughts: I have a giant crush on Zhang Ziyi... that's all I wanted to add. Thank you.


Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 03:51:31 AM
So are you moist with anticipation? Is the suspense killing you?

Sure, we all know it's coming down to Miami Connection and Samurai Cop, but still, who will be #1?

Ah, who am I kidding, there is no suspense. I'm the only member on the forum.

I could go to sleep, make y'all wait another 8 hours, but that would be mean,

So here it is.

wait for it...

wait...

wait...
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 03:57:24 AM
#2 – The Legend of Drunken Master
https://www.youtube.com/v/7P7tWqwKqE4
109 points on 8 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (linszoid)

Year: 1994
Director: Lau Kar-leung

Paste ranked it 7th and said… 1994’s Drunken Master II (released in the U.S. as The Legend of Drunken Master) is Jackie Chan’s best movie—by far. It features everything uniquely awesome about Chan’s martial-arts movie stardom while showcasing each of his prime elements (fluidity of motion/technique, comedic timing, sheer athleticism) better than in any one of his other cinematic punch-outs, including the original 1978 Drunken Master (starring an obviously much younger Chan). Here he leads as Wong Fei Hung, a Chinese folk hero who employs his Zui Quan (Drunken Boxing) skills to stop the corrupt British consul set on illegally exporting Chinese artifacts out of the country. Although nearly all the action sequences are wonderfully exhaustive and memorable, the final fight is a breathless show-stopper. —K. Alexander Smith

My Thoughts: When Bruce Lee died there were a lot of pretenders to the throne, a lot of studios trying desperately to find the new Bruce. It failed because Lee was one of a kind. Jackie went the other way, he used comedy, developed his own style... whereas Bruce would face a crowd of toughs and give a look that said, "Is that all you got?" and then plow right in a destroy them all. Jackie's characters would often get this look of concern and then run away from the gang of toughs. He'd use the environment around him, against them - flip back, circle round, climb, fall, all while trying to avoid obstructions (like a bus or a tractor) which he would also employ in his kung fu dance.

I think it's appropriate that our top films feature two distinct, charismatic superstars of the genre - the kings. Which takes us to...
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 04:05:41 AM
#1 – Enter The Dragon
https://www.youtube.com/v/81jCPIag4KA
122 points on 8 of 11 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (George-2.0)

Year: 1973
Director: Robert Clouse

GamesRadar ranked it 7th - Paste ranked it 3rd and wrote… What remains to be said about Enter the Dragon? Bruce Lee’s most essential film draws upon the classic tournament structure to give a variety of interesting fights (even for a confused-looking John Saxon), but it also shines in any of the other moments where it’s following Lee as he snoops around Han’s fortress, uncovering his drug manufacturing schemes. Jim Kelly is also valuable as a second talented performer, in the role that would make him a blaxploitation icon. There’s no shortage of iconic moments and fights, such as the final duel with a claw-handed Han, but perhaps the best is when Lee fights his way through a few dozen henchmen in the bowels of the fortress, including a young Jackie Chan, who gets his neck snapped. You’ve also got to feel for that poor mook who sees Bruce Lee wielding nunchucks and says to himself, “No problem, I can take him.” —Jim Vorel

Casting:
John Saxon is a black belt in Judo and Shotokan Karate, who studied under grandmaster Hidetaka Nishiyama for three years. In negotiations, his agent told the film's producers that if they wanted him they would have to change the story so that the character of Williams would be killed, not Roper. They agreed and the script was changed.

Rockne Tarkington was originally cast in the role of Williams. However, he unexpectedly dropped out days before the production was about to begin in Hong Kong. Producer Fred Weintraub knew that karate world champion, Jim Kelly had a training dojo in Crenshaw, Los Angeles so he hastily arranged a meeting. Weintraub was immediately impressed, and Kelly was cast in the film. The success of Kelly's appearance launched his career as a star: after Enter the Dragon, he signed a three-film deal with Warner Bros and went on to make several martial arts-themed blaxploitation films in the 1970s.
 
Jackie Chan appears as a guard during the underground lair battle scene and gets his neck snapped by Lee. He also performed several stunts for the film, including the scene where Lee's character quickly climbs a rooftop at night. However, Yuen Wah was Lee's main stunt double for the film.
 
Sammo Hung appears in a brief fight scene against Lee at the start of the film.

My Review: https://letterboxd.com/captainquint/film/enter-the-dragon/

Greatest Movie Poster ever? A lot of the HK flicks featured incredible poster art, but this definitely ranks among my favorites

(https://chinesemartialstudies.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/enter-the-dragon-movie-poster.jpg)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 04:23:52 AM
And there it is, I wanted to get it done before Christmas - mission accomplished. I want to thank everyone who contributed lists (10 full, 1 partial). I'm grateful to all who helped make this a pretty darn good LoC. While I was familiar with the movies we got in the States in the 70s, I was no expert going in, but I watched a lot of movies over the last couple of weeks, did a lot of reading and learning, and that added to my enjoyment as host.

Final thoughts on what didn't make the 50? I thought Ong Bak was a lock (it was on 3 lists, but missed the 50 by 2 pts). I thought the Matrix would show up on more lists. I was surprised that Van Damme and Chuck Norris were no shows (aside from his gig in a Bruce Lee movie). And despite Under Siege being a solid flick, I'm not surprised that Seagal wasn't present, as a lot of people dislike him.

I now throw the meteor hammer over to Linszoid for the next LoC. Take it away sensei.

The Top 15
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XbLhpkK9HwM/Xf4OiOKvJZI/AAAAAAAAFAU/QUJ-rlx7p1kslQ6hn5_5SMsd3NIJkcgfACLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/loc1.PNG)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: linszoid on December 21, 2019, 08:43:51 AM
Nice job on the list, even though we as a group seemed to forget about Death Promise.

I'll try to get mine started today or tomorrow.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: F-Zero on December 21, 2019, 09:03:41 AM
I picked up some leads on great kung fu movies i havent seen.  Awesome job, thx for hosting
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Russoguru on December 21, 2019, 09:18:52 AM
So Enter the Dragon won? Wow, I'm shocked.  ;)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: PsychoGoatee on December 21, 2019, 10:26:35 AM
Lot of fun, excellent countdown! And you're right I forgot about Van Damme and Tony Jaa. Bloodsport is a classic for sure. And this list gave me some more cool movies for my watch list, as always, which is cool.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: CJones on December 21, 2019, 11:21:32 AM
I'm surprised Blood Sport wasn't on the list. I didn't have time submit a list myself (I got up to about 15), but that definitely would have been on it.

I honestly think Enter the Dragon is a little overrated. It's good, but it wouldn't be as well regarded as it is if it hadn't been Bruce Lee's last movie.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 21, 2019, 01:37:16 PM
1.   The Raid: Redemption
2.   Kung Fu Hustle
3.   Kill Bill Vol. 1
4.   The Raid 2
5.   Drunken Master
6.   Hero
7.   The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

8.   The Boy and the Beast - A heartwarming animated adventure.  Its on Netflix now.  Its worth checking out.
https://www.youtube.com/v/uifJLWoWv8c
9.   Big Trouble in Little China
10.   Enter the Dragon
11.   Shaolin Soccer
12.   The Legend of the Drunken Master
13.   Five Deadly Venoms
14.   Project A

15.   Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki *
16.   Kung Fu Panda
17.   Dragon Ball: The Battle of Gods - Great Dragon Ball continuation.  More humour focused but that's why it works.  Still, the last fight is appropriately big.
18.   Return to the 36th Chamber
19.   Yojimbo
20.   Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
21.   The Miami Connection
22.   Black Dynamite
23.   The Matrix
24.   Fist of Fury
25.   Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

* I thought Riki-Oh might come up.  From the cinematographer of Avenging Eagle comes... one of the trashiest, goriest martial arts movies out there.  Very cheap, fakey gore too.

Basically, this is (loosely) based on one of the various Japanese comics that was born in the wake of Fist of the North Star featuring bloody, superhuman martial arts.  While Fist of the North Star was in a Mad Max setting, this is set in a dystopian future where corporations run the prison system.  Prescient.  Sent to jail for murdering his girlfriend's killers, Ricky ends up using his martial arts first on dangerous inmates, then on the evil heads of the prison.  Outside of this film, Riki-Oh is mostly a footnote with many other Fist wannabes (the artist later found success with the long running and somewhat less superpowered martial arts series Tough)

I remember seeing this one in high school.  Its cheesy and a complete garbage fire.  I love it.

Warning: bloody madness.

https://www.youtube.com/v/8vMKN1tYknE
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 05:22:33 PM
My Martial Arts All-Stars
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OLBWlB-PVng/Xfat_iCZLeI/AAAAAAAAE_A/8nIwPiGUKFQf8XZKxDd9X8g3LwljJbCxQCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/martialartsmvp.pn)
Bruce Lee * Chang Cheh * Zhang Ziyi

My faves, with movies that made the LoC
Best Actor: Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon)  Runner up... Jimmy Wang Yu
Best Actress: Zhang Ziyi (Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) Runner up...  Cheng Pei-Pei
Best Director: Chang Cheh (5 Elements Ninja, Crippled Avengers, The Savage Five, One-Armed Swordsman, Five Deadly Venoms) Runner up... King Hu

My List
1. Enter the Dragon
Glad to see it at #1, after 5 Element Ninja's early lead out of the gate, Dragon took over and held that #1 spot throughout. There was a brief challenge from Kung Fu Hustle (which held the #2 for a spell), then Drunken Master II made a late push (with Tiger on its heels). Oh, and I won't presume to speak for its other fans, but I highly regard Enter the Dragon because it deserves to be highly regarded... as a superb motion picture, not because it was Bruce's last movie

2. Five Elements Ninja
3. Five Fingers of Death
4. Fist of Fury
5. The Crippled Avengers
6. Iron Monkey
7. Heroes of the East
8. The One-Armed Swordsman
9. Chocolate
10. Hero
11. The Savage Five
12. A Touch of Zen
13. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
14. Way of the Dragon
15. Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival
16. Ong Bak
17. The 36th Chamber of the Shaolin
18. Samurai Spy
19. Zatoichi's Flashing Sword
20. Once Upon a Time in China
21. Zatoichi in Desperation - there were something like 13 Zatoichi films on various lists, but only 1 made the 50
22. Last Hurrah For Chivalry - Yes Virginia, John Woo made a wuxia film
23. Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven
24. Legend of the Drunken Master
25. The Avenging Eagle
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: stethacantus on December 21, 2019, 06:17:31 PM
Having seen a lot of martial arts films, my 25 list doesn't even come close to including all of my favorites.

#1  Five Element Ninjas a.k.a. Chinese Super Ninjas ( 1982 )
#2  The Savage 5 (1974 )
#3 Avenging Eagle ( 1978 )

#4 The Delinquent a.k.a. Street Gangs of Hong Kong ( 1973 )
(https://i.imgur.com/8VcP4Bq.jpg)
It was watching this film and The Savage 5 o television back in the 80s that I realized that martial arts films didn't have to be dumb action movies. Take away the martial arts action, and you had an excellent drama about a teenager seduced into joining a criminal street gang.  The ending was one of the best Chang Cheh had to offer. Avenging the murder of his father, the hero bursts into the evil gang's headquarters, and takes almost every member out with a single furious punch. It even has an old fashioned action scene where the lead villain has the hero tied to a wooden log as it is sawed in half. It is a shame this is one of the films Dragon Dynasty holds the North American rights to, but never released.

#5 Five Shaolin Masters a.k.a. Five Masters of Death ( 1974 )
(https://i.imgur.com/ORqBj5g.jpg)
Another masterpiece from Chang Cheh, made during his Shaolin cycle.  The Shaolin temple is at siege by government troops and set ablaze. the few students to escape the massacre are hunted down by evil martial arts masters working for the Emperor, and Ma Fu Ye, the Shaolin student who became a traitor for the government and had poisoned the head monks and abbot just prior to the siege. Only five students manage to escape, each vowing to take revenge against Ma Fu Ye and the other four evil martial arts masters who slaughtered the students as they fled the temple.


#6 Police Story ( 1985 )
#7 Heroes of the East a.k.a. Challenge of the Ninja ( 1978 )

#8 Man of Iron a.k.a. Warrior of Steel ( 1972 )
Boxer from Shangtung didn't make the list. What a shame. It had that great ending where after killing his way through the villain's army of thugs, the mortally wounded hero is too injured to climb the steps to take out the villain, but figures out a way to do it. If I had more than 25 slots then Boxer from Shangtung would have definitely made my list.  I did like the sequel better. How could there be a sequel if every character from the first film including the hero were killed? Well, as they explain in the opening, it all takes place on the same street 20 years later. Most of the actors return playing similar characters to what they played in the original film. It is pretty much the same plot as all of Chang Cheh's other gangster/street gang films. A hero is seduced into a street gang, rises through the ranks to become the leader, is betrayed by someone and almost killed, recuperates ( or at the least conceals his fatal wound ) and goes after the villain responsible and his gang of minions.  But except for The Delinquent, this was the best of all of them.

#9 Chocolate ( 2008 )

#10 The Bride With White Hair ( 1993 )
Ronnie Yu's fantasy film showing the origin of how the legendary Wolf Girl turned into the feared White Haired Witch, all done with an epic historic backdrop and a touching Romeo and Juliet style romantic tale with Wolf Girl falling in love with a warrior from the opposing army, and how his eventual betrayal of her causes her to turn evil. This film, along with John Woo's The Killer, was responsible for bringing the Hong Kong action film to the mainstream as they both became favorite films shown at film festivals during the 90s, resulting in fans going to the Chinatown video stores looking for imports of these films and any others like them, and eventually leading to American video companies releasing them.

#11  Tom Yum Goong a.k.a. The Protector ( 2005 )
They stole his elephant! Some great fighting and action from Tony Jaa and director Prachya Pinkaew as Tony searches for his elephant and the gang who stole it. This has that incredible 10 minute fight scene where Tony fights his way up floor after floor in a restaurant, all done in a single take.

#12 Enter the Dragon ( 1973 )
#13 ZatoIchi Goes To The Fire Festival ( 1970 )

#14  The Lama Avenger a.k.a. The Three Avengers ( 1979 )
(https://i.imgur.com/NOSn0Ob.jpg)
Something should be said for World Northal.  Warner Bros. will always be credited as the studio that brought Martial Arts films to the American mainstream, via the television series Kung Fu, importing and distributing Five Fingers of Death, picking up the distribution of the independent film Billy Jack, co-producing and distributingEnter the Dragon, distributing a number of martial arts films from the team of  producer Fred Weintraub and director Robert Clouse, co-producing the first two Jackie Chan films made in Hollywood, and producing the first two Steven Segal films. But it was distributor World Northal that popularized actual Asian martial arts films by syndicating them to American television on their Black Belt Theater. No one aired martial arts films on television before World Northal, the lone exception being the pilot movie for the Kung Fu television series. They were seen as to violent for broadcast. But World Northal was able to turn R rated films into PG13 via the editing skills of Larry Bensky who either micro edited the graphic  moments out, or craftily had the too graphic violence cropped off during the pan and scan, but still kept almost all of the action intact.  Black Belt Theater got phenomenal ratings wherever they aired ( in New York City  the intro and bumpers were removed and it aired as part of their Drive-in Movie series ), and soon other distributors began syndicating martial arts movies, including Cinema Shares, Golden Harvest, and even Warner Bros. who didn't syndicate Enter the Dragon until after the World Northal films had aired without being fined by the FCC.  Even USA Network didn't begin airing martial arts films on Sundays until after they saw the success of World Northal. But World Northal primarily made their money from distributing dubbed martial arts films to grindhouse theaters, and was not able to survive when most of those theaters were turned into multiplexes and began booking  Hollywood studio films instead. When they went bankrupt, the broadcast rights to the Black Belt Theater films went into limbo, and they disappeared from the airwaves.

I wasted almost every Saturday during the 80s watching  Black Belt Theater, and have fond memories of most of the films shown on it. ( Although, I remembered hating Kung Fu Conspiracy every time it came on. I found a copy a few years back and liked it more than I did in the 80s.  ) Since I have a sentimental attachment to the films of Black Belt Theater, is it any wonder why ten of them made my list?  Almost all of them are from Shaw Brothers. Two of them were from independent studios. The Three Avengers had comedic action star Chin Yuel Sang, Michael Winston and Bruce Li ( during the 80s  World Northal and other distributors thought this Bruce Lee clone had some sort of name recognition, hence almost all of his films ending up on television in the 80s. ) So how good could a martial arts movie be with a Bruce Lee clone, a Jackie Chan clone and a Chuck Norris clone?  Far better than you would expect. This film was incredibly fun and had some great fight scenes. And memorable comedic moments, like when Chin goes to a disco, gets laughed at while trying to dance, and after hearing a girl mock him by saying "He looks like he is trying to practice his Kung Fu.", breaks out into a full Kung Fu kata leading to him winning the dancing competition.

#15 Drunken Master a.k.a. Eagle Claw, Snake Fist, Cat's Paw Part 2 ( 1978 )

#16  The Heroic Trio ( 1993 )
(https://i.imgur.com/l7lbbqD.jpg)
A great superhero/fantasy film from the 90s where Chinese Wonder Woman ( Anita Mui ), Invisible Girl ( Michelle Yeoh ) and The Thief Catcher ( Maggie Chung ) team up to stop a powerful evil eunuch who has been kidnapping babies , and his mute minion ( Anthony Wong ) who has been beheading  people with his flying guillotine.

#17 Wheels on Meals a.k.a. Spartan X  ( 1984 )

#18 Heroes Two a.k.a. Kung Fu Invaders ( 1974 )
Another one from Chang Che's shaolin cycle Shaolin student Fong Sai Yuk ( Alexander Fu Sheng ) is tricked into capturing another Shaolin student Hung Sia Kuan ( Chen Kuan Tai ) who the authorities claim is a bandit.  After realizing he has handed a hero from Shaolin over to the evil emperor's men, Fong spends almost all of the rest of the film attempting to rescue him. Once finally rescued, the two men and their rebel friends stand off against the emperor's army.

#19 Project A a.k.a. Pirate Patrol  ( 1983 )

#20 Eastern Condors ( 1987 )
This was suppose to be one of the Three Dragons films, but Jackie Chan  had to bow out as production on Project A part II dragged on. ( In addition, Eastern Condors kept Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao from reprising their roles in Project A part II )A group of military prisoners are sent on a suicide mission to blow up a bunker full of weapons left behind in Vietnam after the Americans pull out.  Los of great fights, and that memorable scene where Sammo and Yuen turn ordinary leaves into deadly projectiles. It also starred Hang S Ngor  who signed onto the film shortly after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in The Killing Fields

#21 Clan of the White Lotus a.k.a. Fists of the White Lotus ( 1980 )
(https://i.imgur.com/BRObIJZ.jpg)
Pai Mei was one of the evil martial arts masters who allegedly helped with the raid and burning of the Shaolin Temple ( although the character didn't appear in Five Shaolin Masters ) and there were several films depicting students going after the unbeatable white haired priest for vengeance. This film opens with two of those students combining their powers to defeat Pai Mei, but then introduces Pai Mei's master, and even eviler and more powerful white haired priest named White Lotus who once again is unbeatable, even with combined fights. This was one of only seven films directed by Lo Leih, the star of Five Fingers of Death, who also plays Priest White Lotus.

#22 Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior ( 2003 )
Someone stole the head of the statue in Tony Jaa's village! Once again, more incredible action from Tony.

#23 Royal Warriors a.k.a. Police Assassins a.k.a. In The Line OF Duty  ( 1986 )
Three off duty cops foil an attempt to hijack an airliner and free a prisoner being transported. All the villains are killed, and that should be that. Only the villains had another member on the ground, and he vows vengeance, making several attempts against the cops until they eventually team up to take him out.

#24 Die Brut des Bösen a.k.a. Roots of Evil ( 1979 )
(https://i.imgur.com/xVRf1dr.jpg)
No. this doesn't have any memorable fights ( although the fighting was very decent, and far better than what was being offered in American films around the same time. ) What makes this German martial arts film so entertaining is that it is so dumb it is good. And I am pretty sure the guy making the film wasn't going for dumb. The guy who made it was German pop star Christian Anders, who after years of being a successful recording star and teen idol, decided that he not only wanted to become a movie star, but that he would write, direct, produce, score and act in his own films. And he was also a black belt in Karate, so he decided his first film should be a martial arts film. Being in full control of his own film, thee was no one around him to tell him maybe he shouldn't make it, or at the least, he shouldn't cast Deep Roy as the villain. ( Actually, Deep Roy gives a great performance here proving e could have been a great actor had he been offered any other leading roles after this. )

#25 Raid: The Redemption ( 2011 )

And just missing my list: Boxer From Shangtung ( 1972 ), Secret Rivals ( 1976 ), Crippled Avengers ( a.k.a. Mortal Combat  1978 ), The Duel ( a.k.a. Duel of the Iron Fists 1971 ), Riki Oh ( a.k.a. Story of Ricky 1991 ), Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (  1974 ),  The Tattoo Connection ( a.k.a. Black Belt Jones II  1978 ),   Fist of Fury  ( a.k.a. The Chinese Connection  1972 ),  The Jade Claw  ( a.k.a. The Crystal Fist 1979 ),   When Taekwondo Strikes  ( 1973 ),   Dirty Ho  ( 1979 ),   Oops., I Killed My Master ( 1981 ),  Shanghai Express ( a.k.a. Millionaires Express 1986 ),   City of Violence  ( 2006 ), The Taking of Tiger Mountain ( 2014 ),   Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame ( 2010 ), Ashes of Time ( 1994 )




there were something like 13 Zatoichi films on various lists, but only 1 made the 50

I actually had that on my list by mistake. I thought it was the one with the gag where during the ending battle against the henchmen, a Ronin steps forward and says "Stand back! I'll take him!", only for Zatoichi to cut him down a second later. But when I watched it back a week after I submitted the list, I couldn't find the scene. I could have sworn it was in Fire Festival. It is still an awesome Zatoichi film and deserved to be on my list, but I may have chosen something else, and then Zatoichi would have never made the top 50.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 21, 2019, 06:38:12 PM
Funny, we were so close to NOT having a Zatoichi represented? Thankfully he made it, no matter the circumstances.

I just watched the Boxer from Shangtung the other night, and thought it was outstanding - it might have made my list had I seen it earlier. And now I learn I have a sequel to look forward to.

In fact, I have a lot to look forward to.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 21, 2019, 06:42:24 PM
Now that I have Criterion Channel, I'm hoping to dig into Zatoichi sometime but I got a lot on my plate.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on December 23, 2019, 12:32:56 PM
Reading these I only recognized maybe 10 of them, and have only watched a handful of them all the way through.
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: George-2.0 on December 23, 2019, 09:54:48 PM
I most definitely left this LoC wiser than when I came in.

When I say I appreciate the lists, the memories, and information shared here, I'm not blowing smoke, that's genuine. I like discovering, learning new things.

I never knew who World Northal was, never knew what Fist of the North Star was about, had never seen a Chang Cheh film before starting this thing.

Now I do and have, what a gift. Merry Christmas to me.  :)
Title: Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
Post by: Johnny Unusual on December 24, 2019, 04:51:17 AM
Glad we could share.