Best Martial Arts Movies of All Time

Eric’s Far-From Authoritative ‘Best
Martial Arts Movies’ of All Time List

[If you have something important to do, don’t waste your time with this post. But if you’re looking to kill some time or procrastinate, dig right in!]

Let’s get one thing straight – I don’t claim to have good taste, be a movie critic, or even a movie buff. Hell I don’t even watch a lot of movies. But I knows what I likes so I’m going to share some of my favourite martial arts movies with you. Selfishly, I’m hoping you can share some of your fave flicks with me so I can better pass these rainy spring days.

So feel free to get all bent outta shape and rip into my choices if you want, “How dare you even CONSIDER The Matrix? That isn’t a martial arts movie – less than 10% of the actors are Oriental!? You’re a disgrace to the Chinese people.”


“Eric, How come Karate Kid 2010 isn’t on your best martial arts movies list? I thought you knew your shit?!? You are so st00pid. I hate you.”

Say whatever you want, I won’t take it personally. It’ll entertain me. Like I said, I knows what I likes.

karate kid martial arts movies

"In West Philadelphia, born and raised, in the DOJO is where I spent most of my days"

So without further adieu, let’s get to my Best Martial Arts Movies of all time…

Best Martial Arts Movies – #5 – Rumble in the Bronx

Yes, Jackie Chan makes it on my list due to his combination of equal parts martial arts skills, creativity, humour and stunts. (I know I’ll get some flack for this one, but bring it on – Jackie is awesome). You can’t beat Jackie when he’s in a room full of furniture and he’s fighting 10+ enemies. His use of chairs, tables, belts, jackets, and whatever other object is in close proximity is unparalleled. But what really impresses me about him is his stunts. He directs all of his stunts and does many of them. In Rumble in the Bronx, he busted up his ankle and finished the film with a cast. Here are some outtakes of his stunts:


Best Martial Arts Movies – #4 – The Matrix Trilogy

I can’t remember which one of these is my favourite, but one of them stood out above the rest (maybe you can remind me?). Sure, Keanu Reeves isn’t a true martial artist, sure there are a lot of special effects, but that’s the whole point. If you want real martial arts, watch MMA. Movies are meant for fantasy and that’s where the Matrix shines.


Best Martial Arts Movies – #3 – Bloodsport

Of course Jean-Claude Van Damme made it on this list. I think this is what I watched at my first sleepover party at my best friend’s house in Grade 4. It blew me away. The splits, on CHAIRS?!? WTF? And Bolo – he inspired me to be able to learn to bounce my pecs.But I think my favourite character was the Monkey man. Oh how I wanted him to win. Alas, it was not meant to be:


Best Martial Arts Movies – #2 – Ong Bak

Tony Jaa is a bad motherf*&#*$. And the opening scene hyped me up like no other opening scene from a movie, except I kind of remember the opening scene from Apocalypto was pretty crazy, I’ll have to check it out again. Anyway Ong Bak was the first movie I saw showcasing Muay Thai and I loved the flying knees and elbows… although the Double Elbow from Kneeling Mount on a Standing Opponent (at 1:29) was a bit much.


The #1 Movie on Eric’s “Best Martial
Arts Movies of All Time” List


Have you seen this one? By far my favourite on the list. Tons of quality fight scenes, the beginning of Matrix style flying around, the epic battle between Karate and Kung-Fu, Japan and China, and a Boss-General modeled after Street Fighter’s Bison that you loved seeing get beat up. If you haven’t seen it, you have to watch it ASAP. Just thinking about it has me pumped. I might have to watch it tonight. Here’s one of many, many good scenes that even showcases some Bruce Lee style fighting:


So that’s my list. What do you think? Am I an idiot?

Have I wasted your time? [If so – read this training post and feel better that you’ve educated yourself at least a bit today.]

Got some recommendations for me?

Let me have your best martial arts movies below:


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  • Tom

    Reply Reply Mon, May 20, 2013

    I agree with your summary of great martial arts movies. I would add Dragon Tiger Gate to the list, simply because it is hard (even in slow motion) to believe that the heroes in the movie aren’t actually connecting with their foes. I know there’s special effects on how they are kicked backwards, but the hits are more real than I’ve ever seen.
    I love the fantasy part of the movies as well, and especially love a martial arts movie with a great story line. The (original) Matrix, and Dragon Tiger Gate have good stories and amazing action. Bullet Proof Monk with Chow Yun-Fat is another one of my top 10 ten movies. They are not ‘American’ with their baddy/goody beat up script with no story line.

  • Ranstorm

    Reply Reply Sun, April 14, 2013

    You forgot Enter the Dragon.

  • tony

    Reply Reply Sun, January 13, 2013

    bloodsport is poo apart from the knee thing van dam is a wife beating bitch

  • tony

    Reply Reply Sun, January 13, 2013

    the best fight sceens are in chocolate u retard eny1 dunt agree WATCH IT buy the way matrix 2 is the good one

  • Brian

    Reply Reply Tue, December 4, 2012

    5. Ip Man (1-3)
    4. Ong Bak
    3. Undisputed (1-3)
    2. Never Back Down (1-2)
    1. Flash Point

    i think i’m gonna add Bourne (1-3) here as well.

  • dorota

    Reply Reply Mon, September 17, 2012

    Very good idea. I got Bloodsport and Fist of Legend to watch as I haven’t seen them yet.
    Also, I think Jackie Chan is a wonderfull athlete and comic actor.
    So here is my list in return (not much to do with MMA) ;-)
    Not very ambitious either mostly romance/comedy/bit of philosophy.

    1. Rusalka [The Mermaid International (English title)] 2007 Anna Melikyan
    2. Billy Elliot 2000
    3. The Yes Man Fix the World
    4. The Taste of Others 2000 Agnès Jaoui
    5. Shirat Ha’Sirena [Song of the Siren] (1994) Eytan Fox
    6. High Spirits 1988 Neil Jordan
    7. Les visiteurs (original title) 1993 Jean-Marie Poiré
    8. Game of Thrones (2011 TV Series)
    9. Millenium 1-3 (Swedish, not Hollywood)
    10. Harry Potter 1-7


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