Although it’s just one type of martial arts, Kung Fu has always commanded a uniquely powerful position in the imaginations of movie makers around the world. Dating all the way back to the 1920s, Kung Fu fighting movies have been an elemental aspect of filmmaking. You can see the way the fighting style has inspired filmmakers both in Asia and in other parts of the world, and eventually in Hollywood. The best Kung Fu movies use the best of what this fighting form has to offer to create uniquely thrilling action sequences that may still surprise, even decades after their original release. Even more crucially, they take the philosophical concept behind kung fu, which can apply to any skill that requires energy and patience to master.
Whether they were homegrown in Asia or heavily inspired by Kung Fu films of the best, these are the 10 best Kung Fu movies of all time that you can watch online.
9. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
The only film on this list that goes pedal to the comedy metal, Kung Fu Hustle is a hilariously and imaginatively cartoonish take on the Wuxia Kung Fu film genre. After the success of Shaolin Soccer (an honorable mention and a great sports movie) in 2001, writer, director, producer, and protagonist Stephen Chow capitalized by creating an endlessly rewatchable gangster-action-comedy. In 1940s Shanghai, a quirky grouping of households in a cramped complex show their worth when the terrifying Axe Gang knocks on their door. Sing (Stephen Chow) aspires to join the Axe Gang but is restricted by his lack of ability and unshakeable morality.
Inspired at a young age by the legendary Bruce Lee, Stephen Chow devoted his life to martial arts and film arts. Because he was too poor to attend proper training schools, Chow learned his fundamental skills from TV and movies, translating his experience into the lighthearted films we see him produce today. Kung Fu Hustle, however, is the only one of Chow’s films that ends on a serious note, with the protagonist mastering an ancient, magical, and mysterious style of Kung Fu known as “Buddhist Palm.” In real life, Chow has taken his initial self-training and applied it to Wing Chun Kung Fu, the same style that Bruce Lee so famously mastered.
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