In less than a week, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will finally release in theaters after much anticipation. The latest Marvel film stars Simu Liu as the title character who must confront a past that he thought he left behind. Currently, Shangi-Chi boasts a high rating of 91% on rotten tomatoes, so the buzz for the latest Marvel flick appears to be great thus far. Of course, you know the formula for Marvel characters, action, goofy one-liners, and villains who generally want to take over the world. Before the new superhero flick hits theaters on September 3, 2021, here are five films with incredible martial arts fighting that will get you pumped for the latest Marvel offering.
While I wouldn’t stop you from checking out the entire Ip Man series, the first film remains the best out of all of them. Surprisingly, Ip Man is an exciting action film with an emotional story that does a good job of developing its characters. Don’t go into this film thinking that you’ll get non-stop kicking and punching. Starring Donnie Yen, Ip Man is based on the real-life Chinese artist grandmaster, Yip Man; It follows the grandmaster during the Japanese invasion of China, where Ip Man and his family are forced to leave his home when his city is occupied. The grandmaster must fight in order to survive the new world that he finds himself in. Clocking in at 1 hour and 46 minutes, Ip Man is a tight action movie that provides a good amount of heart, humor, and action.
The Raid 1 & 2
Two classic films that should be seen by anyone who’s a fan of true martial arts (or great action movies in general). Starring Iko Uwais (Snake Eyes, Mile 22), the first movie is about a group of police officers who become trapped inside a building full of criminals run by a ruthless mobster who puts a bounty on the S.W.A.T. teams head. While the story is nothing new, the incredible fight scenes are what make The Raid: Redemption one of the best action films of the last decade. Combat fighting in its purest form, The Raid transcends the genre thanks to its stunning choreography.
The same can be said about The Raid 2, which features some of the best fight scenes in an action movie ever. This time, a rookie cop goes undercover to befriend the son of a prominent crime kingpin. The sequel to 2011 predecessor focuses more on the story and character development than the first; however, once the action starts it pushes the boundaries of what an action film should be. As previously stated, these films are a must-see if you’re a fan of true martial arts.
The Night Comes For Us
A bloody and ultra-crazy thrill ride with Sub Zero (Joe Taslim) in the lead. This Netflix action film tests the limits of over-the-top violence; however, it never fails to produce a good story featuring a great cast of actors. The film follows, Ito, a gangland enforcer, who tries to redeem his honor by protecting a little girl amidst a violent insurrection within his Triad crime family. Like Ip Man, The Night Comes For Us has a surprising amount of emotional depth throughout its 2 hours and 1-minute runtime; however, the film never bores, and the ludicrous action is worth the long runtime.
While the story of an elite assassin seeking revenge after the betrayal of her own organization has been done countless times, this Korean film is packed with incredible action and set pieces that make it stand out from the pact. Anchored by a strong performance from Kim Ok-bin, the elite assassin is given a chance to start a new life following the death of her mentor. However, Sook-hee discovers some deep dark secrets of her past that force her to take action into her own hands. Jam-packed with amazing choreography and a good story that elevates the action and characters, The Villainess makes a strong mark within the genre.
John Wick Trilogy
Come on, you know that I couldn’t make a list about movies with incredible fights and not name John Wick. Starring Keanu Reeves, a retired assassin gets revenge on a group of thugs who steal John’s prized car and kill the puppy that was the last gift from his wife. Since the success of the first film, the sequels have gotten bigger in scope and world-building; however, throughout all three remaining stellar and top-notch fight choreography. Keanu Reeves is perfect as the title character and the world of The Continental is exciting to explore in each film. John Wick never loses sight of a well-told story and doesn’t insult the audience with mindless action and dumb plot points. Like every other film on the list, a must-see trilogy for any action aficionado.