Author Topic: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films  (Read 4883 times)

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Offline CJones

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #120 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.

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #121 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.
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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.

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Online George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #122 on: December 21, 2019, 05:22:33 PM »
My Martial Arts All-Stars

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

Offline stethacantus

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #123 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 )

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 )

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 )

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 )

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 )

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 )

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.

Online George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #124 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.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 06:48:43 PM by George-2.0 »

Johnny Unusual

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #125 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.

Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #126 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.

Online George-2.0

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #127 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.  :)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 09:57:10 PM by George-2.0 »

Johnny Unusual

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Re: List of Crap #121: Top 50 Martial Arts/Wuxia Films
« Reply #128 on: December 24, 2019, 04:51:17 AM »
Glad we could share.