Karate Movies To Kick Off Your List
Karate movies are popular among action movie fans, but which ones are worth your time? They often wrongly categorized as fight movies, but if you've seen more than one of these movies, you know better. They can even be comedies in disguise. Some are so funny that they cross genres, but it's their action sequences that make them most enjoyable.
*(This article may contain spoilers. If you haven't seen the film you're reading about, proceed with caution.)
Here are 8 of our top picks:
- Fist of Fury (1972)
- Enter The Dragon (1972)
- The Karate Kid (1984)
- Once Upon a Time In China (1991)
- Fist Of Legend (1994)
- Fearless (2006)
- Black Belt (2007)
- Ip Man (2008)
1. Fist of Fury (1972)
Fist of Fury (also known as The Chinese Connection) is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Lo Wei and starring Bruce Lee in his second major role. The film was an international success and made Lee an instant star.
The film is centered on a character named Chen Zhen, a young Chinese man with a deep love for martial arts who returns to Shanghai after studying abroad in Japan. Upon returning to his native land, Chen discovers that the Japanese have invaded China and are trying to wipe out the Chinese people.
He sets out on a mission of revenge against the Japanese forces who murdered his teacher and family members.
2. Enter The Dragon (1973)
Enter The Dragon is a 1973 martial arts film starring Bruce Lee in his final role. The movie was written and directed by Robert Clouse, who also directed the original Game of Death.
Enter The Dragon is about a martial arts expert who is recruited by a secretive intelligence agency to enter a mysterious tournament in order to avenge the death of his sister.
3. The Karate Kid (1984)
The Karate Kid is a truly enjoyable movie. It has a great story with good characters, and the acting is good as well. The soundtrack is also quite nice, and the cinematography does a great job of conveying the setting. The fight scenes are very realistic and believable, and there's lots of dialogue throughout to keep you engaged in what's happening on screen.
It's the classic underdog story we all love to see unfold on screen—a young boy moves to a new town and faces adversity but eventually comes out on top with the help of an unlikely mentor.
In this case, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is your typical bullied kid until he meets Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who teaches him karate and helps him stand up to his tormentors. While this movie has been criticized for its stereotyped portrayal of Japanese culture, it still holds up as one of the most iconic films about karate ever made.
4. Once Upon a Time In China (1991)
The story of this movie follows Wong Fei-Hung as he grows up from being a young boy to an adult who is skilled in martial arts. As his father teaches him how to fight better so he can defend himself from bullies and other people who might want to hurt him, Wong also learns about Confucian philosophy and how to live as an honorable man.
As an adult, Wong has many adventures where he uses his martial arts skills to help people out. He also makes many friends along the way including some Japanese people who come over to China to fight because they don't want their country ruled by foreigners anymore.
5. Fist Of Legend (1994)
Fist of Legend is a 1994 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Gordon Chan, who also co-wrote the screenplay with David Wu.
The film was produced by Jet Li's production company and stars Li as Chen Zhen, a Chinese martial artist who travels to Japan in order to find the man who killed his teacher. Along with this, Fist of Legend is a remake of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury (1972).
6. Fearless (2006)
Fearless is a drama film that stars Jet Li as Huo Yuanjia, a martial arts master and national hero in China during the early 20th century. The film is based on a true story about his life and the events that led to his death.
7. Black Belt (2007)
Black Belt: Kuro-Obi takes place in Japan during the year 1932. Three martial artists training under the same dojo master go their separate ways after their dojo master passes away and they are obligated to join the Japanese army.
Later on, the three martial artists reunite and do battle against tyranny and corrupt forces. The karate techniques used throughout the movie are authentic, which makes this gem that much better.
8. Ip Man (2008)
Ip Man is a semi-biographical Hong Kong martial arts film based on the life of Yip Man, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun. The film stars Donnie Yen as Ip Man, who was also the film's fight choreographer and action director.
The story begins in Foshan in the 1930s and follows Yip as he travels to Hong Kong and establishes himself as an instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu. He later moves back to Foshan where he faces off against Japanese fighters during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
What's Your Favorite Karate Movie?
Movies about karate are very popular among people of all ages because they provide us with entertainment as well as education on how karate can help us in different situations. What's your favorite movie about Karate?