Kungfu is a traditional Chinese martial arts where countless versions exist. In the West, kungfu was introduced in the seventies by the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. The solid ingredients: injustice, revenge, a touch of humor and a lot of acrobatic fighting. What are the top 10 kungfufilms of all time?
10 Come Drink With Me
Come Drink With Me from 1966 is often seen as kungfu’s ear film. As often in kungfufilms it plays down in historical times. During the Ming dynasty, the daughter of a general must save her captured brother from the hands of bandits. Of course, the main man is a master of martial arts. Malicious monks and a good beggar are also their men. The dancing fighting style of Come Drink With Me would be very influential.
9 Ip Man
Ip Man (2008) is a very stylish film of Yip Man’s life, the master taught by Bruce Lee in Wing Chun. The film focuses on the period of the Second Chinese-Japanese War (1937 – 1945), with historical factuality not always important. For example, the duel between Ip Man and a Japanese general after refusing to teach Japanese soldiers his martial arts has never taken place.
8 King Boxer
King Boxer (also known as Five Fingers of Death) is a very influential Kungfufilm with Lo Lieh in the lead. Lieh was Bruce Lee’s forerunner and when the film was released in the West in 1973, it caused a short-lived hype that was quickly overshadowed by Enter the Dragon. A student Chi-Hao must see a wicked opponent at a tournament so he can marry his master’s daughter. In Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino would often refer to King Boxer.
7 Iron Monkey
Iron Monkey is a typical example of seventies kungfu in which long fights are fought in a choppy style and it’s always time for a strange joke. Iron (played by Chen Kuan Tai) is a naive young man whose family is captured by a malicious general. He flew and lost what gives him the nickname of students at the Shaolin Temple. Once accepted, Iron develops the special Monkey Fist movement that will be useful in the epic final battle against the general, master of the powerful Eagle Claw movement.
6 Kung Fu Hustle
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) is one of the most popular kungfufilms of recent times. Headroll player Stephen Chow wrote and directed after the success of Shaolin Soccer the film and managed to get a large number of, sometimes almost forgotten, Kungfu legendes like Bruce Leung to get back to play in a movie. In addition, the film is full of references to classical martial arts films like Palm or Ru Lai and Western movies like The Blues Brothers. The result is a happy and quirky mix of kungfu, singing, action and humor.
5 The Prodigal Son
Sammo Hung often plays a good pocket in kungfufilms. He also directs many movies including the classic The Prodigal Son. Leung is a wealthy son who does not really do his best during the training of the arts. His father then pays other fighters to lose his son. When Leung gets behind, he decides to take a serious lesson, with some effort he finds some very characteristic teachers.
4 Warriors Two
In this Sammo Hung movie from 1978 a portrait is painted by Leung Jan, a famous practitioner of the Wing Chun style of kungfu. Warriors Two is often acclaimed by experts for the authentic use of this style. In extended training sessions, one Hua, who was almost killed by bad guys, learned the basic principles of kungfu. As is more common in Hung’s films, a misunderstanding of great confusion makes the end fighting more fun.
3 Drunken Master
Jackie Chan became world famous with his comic style of kungfu. His masterpiece Drunken Master from 1978 would popularize Zui Quian, the drunk fighting style. Chan plays the brutal wong forced by his father to learn from the infamous Beggar So. This proves to be a drunkard, which nevertheless subjects his student to a strict training. Eventually he gets a lesson in the drunk boxing style in which the fighter with strange movements nadoet a drunkard. Obviously, this leads to a large number of hilarious combat scenes that belong to the best of the genre. A sequel to 1994, again with Chan in the lead, is almost as strong.
2 Fist of Fury
Among fans of Bruce Lee has been discussing for decades or Fist of Fury (1972) better than his latest movie Enter the Dragon. Fist of Fury, with his typical storyline in which Chen (Lee) takes revenge for the murder of his teacher by Japanese rulers, is the favorite of purists. The whole movie is being classified as Lee because he is Chinese, which he obviously does not allow himself to be. Everyone who comes into contact with the furious Chen is being ruthlessly defeated. In the last scene, Chen is being watched by Japanese soldiers whom he then jumps to while the image freezes and shoots. A picture that would make Lee a world star.
1 The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
The Shaw Brothers production team was responsible for the best films from Hong Kong for years. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (also known as Shaolin Master Killer) from 1978 is seen as their best kunffufilm. Gordon Liu is playing a young student San Te. Under the influence of a rebel teacher, he enters into an uprising against the local government who recklessly returns. San Te then searches for survival safety at the Shao Lin Temple. Once admitted he proves to be exceptionally talented and to quickly pass the 35 rooms with fighting tests. His masters then remove him from school so he teaches the people kungfu and can stand up against the oppressors. But once again San Te returns to build the 36th room. An extremely influential movie that pours out with surprising action.
Top 10 Kung Fu Films