It’s a long shot, it’s like when someone asks you what your favourite song is – I usually do not answer because I have so much songs that I hold dear and cannot make each unique ones compete. However if I have to name 20, I would feel safe.
So, what are the hard hitting movies from China and in the martial arts world that have a lasting effect on me? Here is my list of 20 and they are not in any but alphabetic order.
36 Chambers of Shaolin (1978)
Starring Gordon Liu. It is funny and painful to watch as Gordon tries to learn fighting; the kung fu training still rings in my head.
American Ninja 5 (1993)
Starring David Bradley and Lee Reyes, the scene where he meditates and shakes off cuffs is epic.
American Shaolin (1992)
Who doesn’t remember the song: ‘There aint No Cure for the Shaolin Temple Blues? Which is interrupted by the jealous master! Of course the movie makes fun of the Shaolin. Starring (among others) Reese Madigan, Kim Chan and Daniel Dae Kim.
Axe Gang aka Kung fu Hustle (2004)
It was directed, co-written and co-produced by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the lead role. The land lady is the star of the movie, but Chow is simple funny and good with Kung fu. Love the scene where he tells a woman that he cannot beat her because she is a farmer and therefore to the economy.
Black Sheep Affair (1998)
Zhao Wen-Zhou is Yim Dong, a Chinese security officer who is assigned to the Chinese Embassy in the Russian republic of Lavernia after he disobeys orders on a hijacking crisis. The tense scene is in the bathroom in the prison, my brother loves this movie!
Bodyguard from Beijing (1994)
The movie sparked rumours in my country, Is Jet Li gay? He simply won’t touch the women in his movies like Van Damme…lol… but this movie is epic and the storyline unique. The baddest scene for me was when the bad guy went to get the body of his brother from the mortuary – epic!
Bullet in the Head (1990)
John Woo movie, you know him. This movie takes you from the city to the jungle, from friendship to betrayal, from war to handiwork and you cannot watch it without being haunted by that bullet in the head.
Eastern Condors (1987)
Directed by Sammo Hung, who also starred in the lead role. The film co-stars Yuen Biao, Joyce Godenzi, Yuen Wah, Lam Ching-ying, Yuen Woo-ping, Corey Yuen and Billy Chow. You get the picture; it has got war, betrayal, handiwork and some good comedy like when Biao does a coconut to take out a foe. And the soundtrack is great.
Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)
Sammo Hung. Funny and Fierce.
Fist of Legend (1994)
Jet Li. Japanese, explosive. He goes into a class full of Japanese and leaves unscathed with many broken bones!
In the Line of Duty (1985)
Michelle Yeoh, John Shum Kin-Fun, Cynthia Rothrock, Mang Hoi, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Richard Ng Yiu-Hon, Billy Ching Sau-Yat, Chung Faat, Kong Lung, Dick Wei, James Tin Jun, Chan Ging, Mai Kei, Ka Lee, Tai Bo, Wu Ma – cast sells itself.
Kick Boxer (1989)
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and former world kickboxing champion Dennis Alexio – You should see the final fight – seriously, Tong Po should have won!
One Armed Boxer (1971)
Jimmy Wang Yu. With just one hand, he did the impossible even with just one finger! That inflatable Shaolin guy was also the boss.
Ong Bak (2003)
By 2003, I thought martial arts was dead, and then came Tony Jaa, his knee and elbow must be insured, they are too precious!
Only the Strong (1993)
Starring Mark Dacascos, it is considered to be the only Hollywood film that showcases Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, from beginning to end. If you are not still haunted by the soundtrack, Paranaue, you are just a hater!
Shaolin Soccer 2001
Stephen Chow. At some point I sat and was like what if soccer could be like that? My favourite scene was when the opponents dropped spanners from their pants and lied they had been in the garage working!
Shaolin versus Lama (1983)
Alexander Lo, tall and handsome and Lama so tough and proud – he asked him ‘can a student be tougher than a master?’
Snake in Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
Starring Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang Lee and Yuen Woo-ping's real life father, Yuen Siu Tien…when the movie was beamed, the next day was disaster at my primary school as everyone wanted to play the Snake twins!
Tai Chi Master (1993)
My all time best movie from China. Jet Li takes on his brother and displays fine Tai Chi. The soundtrack is one of the best songs to rock to.
|Bryan is massive in Thundering Mantis|
Thundering Mantis (1980)
Starring Bryan Leung, Cheng Feng and Eddy Ko Hung. I hear Bryan has no kung fu training at all! But what he did in this movie…everyone wanted to be called Ah Chi in my hood. That young boy of his, the death of his master and that cruel pigeon mauling villain! Did Ah Chi eat him at the end?