14 Martial Arts Movies Every Guy Should See


Few things are as delectably enjoyable as martial arts films. You can turn most on half way through and still get glued to your couch. You coast along with the plot (as awful as it can be at times) eagerly anticipating the next fight scene. Great martial arts flicks, however, combine awesome combat with a story that actually makes it worth the down time between roundhouse kicks. Here are 14 every guys should see.

Ip Man

The fight scenes in Ip Man are so devastatingly awesome, you’ll want to start training in Wing Chun as soon as the credits roll. Bruce Lee’s mentor, as played by Donnie Yen, is soft-spoken, kind, and insanely badass when it comes to combat. Ip Man is not just a watch-worthy flick because of the great fight scenes, but it’s also an interesting historical look at the world Ip Man lived in and what life was like in 1930’s Southern China. Plus, any dude who trained Bruce Lee must be pretty decent, right? Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix Instant Netflix DVD


For as awesome as Jet Li is, a lot of his films fall short for us. Hero is one major exception (along with Once Upon a Time in China). The first thing you’ll notice about Hero is the sheer beauty of it. Not just the choreographed fight scenes, but just the overall look. It’s stunning. In fact, it’s the only time we can recall watching a plethora of arrows fly towards someone’s cranium and thinking how beautiful it is. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix DVD

Enter the Dragon

Not including any Bruce Lee movies on this list would be ridiculous. While some might argue that The Chinese Connection should be the choice, we just can’t not choose Enter the Dragon. Is it the greatest story ever told? No. Does it feature Bruce Lee destroying a substantial series of evil-doers? Yes. For that alone, it’s just awesome. Amazon iTunes Netflix DVD


Some of the kicks in Ong-Bak will leave you checking your own jaw to see if it got shattered to pieces from some sort of weird osmosis. The film, which mostly showcases Muay Thai, is the standout project from the incredible Tony Jaa, and definitetly worth a watch. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix Instant Netflix DVD

Brotherhood of the Wolf

When you think French movies, you think passionate romances, artsy flicks that go over your head, and plenty of baguettes. You don’t think martial arts. And while Brotherhood of the Wolf isn’t a straight-up martial arts movie (it isn’t a straight-up any kind of movie, actually), it is a serious piece of entertainment. It’s one of those movies you just put on and enjoy without letting your brain get to wrapped up in what’s going on. It’s like nothing you’ve seen before and it’s damn entertaining. Netflix DVD

13 Assassins

The scheming and strategy, the David vs. Goliath aspect, and the kickass battles make 13 Assassins a treat for samurai fans. Actually, it’s a treat for movie fans in general, because, unlike some martial arts films, there’s actually some grandiose scope aside from the standard action scenes. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix Instant Netflix DVD

The Man From Nowhere

It can be challenging at times to determine what is and what isn’t a true martial arts movie. Like, what do you do when lots of the action involves gun fights but there is still martial arts involved? While The Man from Nowhere walks that fine line, we put it on this list for two good reasons: 1) It’s unbelievably awesome, and 2) The fight scene with the eyeball in a jar. That’s all we’ll say. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix Instant Netflix DVD

Kung Fu Hustle

Martial arts movies don’t always have to be dead serious, in fact, they don’t always have to be serious at all. Kung Fu Hustle won’t be confused for a Bruce Lee epic, but it’s definitely a must watch. It’s so absurdly ridiculous that you almost miss how awesome the fighting is. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix DVD

Once Upon a Time in China

The first in a trilogy, Once Upon a Time in China really introduced many to the skills of Jet Li. It also happens to combine incredible fight scenes with a large-scale story that will keep you interested for the 2+ hours. Netflix DVD

Kill Bill Vol. 1

No subtitles! Okay, watching Kill Bill Vol 1 is not pleasurable just because you don’t have do any reading, it just happens to be a kickass martial arts flick from a dude who knows a thing or two about violence on film. It’s one of the few films with a female protagonist and the only film on this list that involves sick moves with a nonstick frying pan. iTunes Netflix DVD

Iron Monkey

Think of Iron Monkey as Robin Hood without the goofy tights. An unknown hero steals from the rich, only he doesn’t challenge enemies to archery contests, he just beats the crap out of them. The fighting is choreographed by the same dude who worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix, plus, it’s got Donnie Yen in it, which is always a positive. iTunes Netflix DVD

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The fame of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is warranted. Ang Lee’s epic is visually stunning. It feels like you’re watching a kickass fairy tale meant for adults. Oh, and there’s tree fighting. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix DVD

The Legend of Drunken Master

Finally a Jackie Chan movie for the list. Not only that, but a Jackie Chan movie where he gains his fighting ability by drinking. The script writes itself! The film features some of the funniest/coolest fight scenes you’ll ever see. Just don’t pound Maker’s Mark and try to fight after watching it. Netflix DVD

Seven Samurai

This list wouldn’t be complete without the movie many consider the greatest martial arts/samurai film of all time. It’s a movie that spawned so many remakes and offshoots, that you just know without watching it that it will be good. Well, it is good, and, in fact, far, far better than good. Don’t let the black and white and subtitles stop you from watching this masterpiece. Amazon Instant iTunes Netflix DVD


  • Sam K

    That’s really a myth. Overall there are strong behavior differences between the sexes that are based on evolutionary biology. The idea that people float around is that “everyone is 100% different” but that’s not true.

    It’s not black and white, however it’s not one big unisexual shade of grey either. If you go by statistics then I strongly bet that way more men are fans of martial arts movies than women (just like way more women are fans of romantic comedies than men).

    If you’re a woman who likes martial arts films there’s nothing wrong with that – but whining that martial arts films are marketed toward a male audience is dumb. The main fans of these films are men, so it’s naturally going to be marketed toward them.

    If you like something that’s unconventional then take pride in being “different” instead of whining and demanding that the world cater to you.

  • LazyLeslie

    Kill Bill is a joke! It shouldn’t be on the list. Crouching Tiger is overrated and a snooze for me. Where are The Raid 1 and 2? And Ong Bak 2? These movies should be on your top 3. Especially Ong Bak 2. Watch that and come back and talk to me.

  • Shef_Maester

    Awesome movie back in its day… watched it over and over again and inspired me to get into Martial Arts! :-)

  • Ed Lee

    Great list! I would just add Fearless, also known as Huo Yuan Jia. The director’s cut is beautiful, deliberately paced, and features wonderfully made fight scenes mostly free of CGI and wirework.

  • Autumn’s Rain

    where is kung fu shang hai? that was pretty good. kind of cheesy but still good.

  • David Bandel

    what are you talking about?

    obviously guys are more drawn to these types of movies than chicks.

    you liberal idiots live in a fantasy world.

  • http://djdiamondlee.webs.com/ DjDiamond Lee

    Story of RIKI-OH. Goriest Martial arts Movie Ever

  • cdoggydogdog

    Not in british english — the original.

  • cdoggydogdog

    Yea ‘cos men and women are the same. We have different bodies but identical brains :> lol stfu.

  • cdoggydogdog

    Thanks for doing a better job than me

  • SamKen

    I would prefer watching Rurouni Kenshin (trilogy), that’s the legendary Samurai all have been looking for. top on the list man.

  • babbusha

    some interests are rulled by gender ! little Girls like to play With dolls while little boys prefer a car toy or simply tease little Girls.

  • Ed Lee

    …no. What are YOU talking about?
    What the flying fuck does this have to do with political affiliation?
    While it’s true that these films are marketed more to guys than to girls, is it a capital sin if a person without a Y-chromosome enjoys them too?
    Overall, a typical regressive: a pretentious, supercilious, narrow-minded douchebag who believes that his own beliefs are infallible and that liberals are to blame for everything, even when there isn’t even a fucking problem to begin with!

  • David Bandel

    well you’re completely retarded.

    i never said it was a sin or a problem if a chick enjoys them. i said that men were more drawn to them. so your inability to grasp that indicates that you’re stupid.

    pretentious: you’re the one who busted out the dictionary to insult me. not that i’d need a dictionary to understand the words since i have a much larger vocabulary than you. but you definitely did, since as above mentioned, you’ve demonstrated low intelligence.

    narrow-minded: look who flew off the handle at my opinion

    beliefs infallible: you must think yours are if yours, disagreeing with mine, warrant your outburst.

    liberals to blame for everything: nope. they’re just a great example of the stupid mindless masses that make life worse in general for smart people.

    you were just destroyed by super logic and superior intelligence.

  • Ed Lee

    I busted out the dictionary? False, I did no such thing. I use the word in my everyday life because I’m literate, unlike someone here who doesn’t understand basic rules of capitalization.

    Michelle, in her original comment, wasn’t insinuating that women were more drawn to martial arts films than men were, because that would be blatantly false. She was saying that women COULD enjoy them as much as men could. According to you, this makes her a “liberal idiot who lives in a fantasy world”. Obviously, the fierce word choice shows that you have a major problem with girls liking martial arts films as much as guys. Who’s the “narrow-minded” one “who flew off the handle” here?
    My beliefs are not infallible, for they face constant scrutiny and are thus frequently revised or refuted. But an aversion to bullshit is one of my beliefs that will never change.
    And if liberals are the “stupid mindless masses” that you claim they are, why are 97% of the poorest counties in America run by conservatives? Why do conservatives advocate cutting funding for education? Why are their publicity tactics based around blame, the adversary mentality, and fear-mongering? It seems that they are the ones who want to keep the masses stupid and fearful.

  • aaron


  • David Bandel

    let me just nitpick all the mistakes you made and illogic you espoused then move along.

    1. you assume that since i’m lax with syntax i don’t understand it. that was incorrect and illogical and proved you have low intelligence.

    2. i said guys were more drawn to martial arts films than women. that is absolutely correct. you can dispute this all you want, but as a gender, men are more drawn to it than women. i’m not talking about individuals and never made any reference to individuals.

    3. i have no problem with girls liking martial arts films. therefore the logic you used to come to that conclusion was bad and therefore you have low intelligence. i could care fuck less who likes martial arts films. it never crossed my mind.

    4. you flew off the handle, because like most liberals you’re intensely emotional and irrational.

    5. if you are so averse to bullshit then why is that all you spew? why when encountered for the first time in your life by an actual living genius with an iq at least 60 points higher than yours, would you start spewing copious amounts of bullshit rather than taking in the intelligent commentary that’s being served your way. what a wasted opportunity. again indicative of low intelligence.

    6. liberals are absolutely mindless. but i never said anything different about conservatives. anyone who identifies with a ticket is by direct consequence, irrational. that’s not what i was talking about. i was talking about the specific pitfalls being a liberal. not the shortcomings of being into politics or identifying with some specific subset of it in particular.

    7. your comment about the poorest counties being run by conservatives was hilarious btw. correlation does not imply causation. i think you should get used to that phrase. with liberal logic, you’ll have it shoved in your face often. and it’ll always aptly describe the missteps in logic you’re taking at any given time.

    8. both the democrats and republicans are facets of a machine that keeps the masses stupid and fearful. for you to think one does it and not the other shows again that you are very unintelligent.

  • Jet-Chang-Lee-Li

    The minute I saw “Kill Bill” in your list, I already knew you have no idea what you’re writing about. I don’t have my collection with me currently, but I’ll return with a list of martial art movies that you need to see before insulting true martial arts enthusiasts with your very limited knowledge of what a great martial film should be.

  • scionfall

    To add to this list I suggest the following:

    1. Red Cliff. Do yourself a favor and get the international 5 hour version and not the bastardized ‘murica version that was cut in half because movie execs didn’t think we had the attention span to sit through it. Yes it’s 5 hours. And yes, it’s worth every second. Don’t believe me? Then consider that Ang Lee (Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) declared this to be his magnum opus after returning to China from 20 years working stateside. Go see it. Now.

    Rurouni Kenshin trilogy: Adapted from the manga/anime these movies are a live action sight to behold. The choreography is amazing and the movie stands up on its own very well. The sequels are right up there as well if not better.

  • …………………………

    trip out I was just about to watch it. cheers

  • jaku1377

    i fucking love you for that^^^ those are most of my origins and loves of my life

  • Shifu R. Careaga

    A very good list. Need to remove the Guy From Nowhere and add either Raid: Redemption, or Way of the Dragon or the original Drunken Master

    Also Ong Bak is not as important as Ong Bak 2 is the canon of martial arts films anymore. Ong Bak 2 is the single most important demonstration of the actual authentic arts since Drunken Master series.

    Kudos for putting in 13 Assassins AND Seven Samurai. NICE.

    I’d extend it to 20, and include some other amazing films as well.

    And I just want to say, the Kickboxer still has one of the best training backstories in all the genre.

  • tdatrufe

    you simply do not state facts, you have no clue about biology and your sentiments are contradicted by real life and its on goings, and as a matter of fact, there is absolutely no rule that states that martial arts, or martial arts movies were made for men lmao youre just expounding your dumb ass opinion on how someone mentally conditioned you to believe that interests were gender specific, yea, back in 1940s when women werent allowed to be anything than live at home maids lol you are out of your depth, I personally dont think you get enough vagina to know anything about it.. women will like whatever they want, and they will watch martial arts movies and they will love it and you cant do a fucking thing about lmao loser

  • John

    Where is The 8 Diagram Pole fighter ?

  • Michelle is a feminazi idiot

    Here we go again, with the overly PC BS!

    Men and women have differences, and instead of celebrating them, we want to be one and the same. It’s like instead of having a girlfriend you want a boyfriend that likes everything you do, maybe even wear the same clothes, why not?
    No one is saying women can’t like these types of movies, but violence is not something most females like. So quit making everything a big deal you feminazi idiot, and all the white knights along with them.

  • lol

    Sweet Jesus you are dumb as dirt son. Go crawl back in your Neanderthal cave.

  • abcs

    dude, martial arts films are crowd pleasers. The real question is, who doesn’t like them?

  • Ace

    Nope, what I’m saying is supported by real life facts. Statistically speaking men watch martial arts movies and participate in martial arts a lot more than women.

    The myth is that it has to do with ‘social conditioning’ but that’s just something ignorant that people who don’t understand biology spout. (Similar to people who think that wild animals like tigers make good pets – the myth is that if a tiger is raised as a pet it’ll be just as docile as a kitten, and that wild tigers are only ‘wild’ due to social conditioning, but we know this isn’t true due to the differences in their genetic pre-disposition).

    Even with 0 conditioning or legal discrimination, for example, the majority of Navy SEALs are sill going to be men – anyone who thinks that if it weren’t for ‘social conditioning’ that men and women would be 50% in every profession or career is living in la la land.

    I think the one who doesn’t get any pussy and is insecure about it is you, especially if you think that women in general like action movies as much as men – what nonsense. I bet you think that guys love chick flicks on average as much as women to, don’t you?

    Well “bro”, then feel free to start a campaign decrying how calling those films “chick flicks” is sexist because “some guys like them too”, and see how far that gets you – lmao

  • Ace

    That’s right, men and women’s brains are different – so even without social conditioning women on average aren’t as into martial arts as men – that’s just reality, even though it’s politically incorrect to say it

  • wittyusername

    i’m also female. there are a lot of women who watch martial films! maybe you’d realize if you just asked..

  • TigerMask

    This seems like a generic list of big budget, well known kung fu movies.

  • darkchaos

    the funny thing is that half of this list doesn’t even have real chinese martial arts or are just stunts and/or people who learned karate, a japanese knock off of chinese martial arts.

  • species-521

    I hereby demand to includeth Brotherhood of the Wolf in a Martial Arts Liste no longer. For you shall see, it hathed juste relating scenes of just two, whyche maketh it not a movie of the Martial Arts exactely . You hearde my words.

  • KDWfan

    Agree with ‘The Man From Nowhere’, it’s a damn good kickass movie but it’s definitely not a martial arts movie, the main actor Won Bin uses army combat techniques in the movie not martial arts, having said that i would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested in watching a serious kickass action movie, the fight scenes are just out of this world especially the scene that the article mentioned above . Now on to the list, i would definitely add Ong Bak 2, Drunken Master 3, Kickboxer, and The Raid: Redemption, i love all the movies from the article above but some of them are not proper martial arts movies.

  • Jay Eel

    You should add “Reign of Assassins” and “True Legend”. And recent release “Kung Fu Killer”.