September 10, 2011 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I've watched IP Man, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Ong Bak, Chocolate, and am currently watching Kung Fu Dunk (this looks like a frighteningly bad-but-awesome movie). Please recommend me more?

Also trying to remember the name of the funny kung-fu movie where a guy gets punched into the sky and comes back to drive a guy into the ground. I think it also contains a girl who uses her white hair as a weapon?

Anyway, just really looking for all sorts of kung-fu movie recommendations. I'd also really like it if you told me why you enjoyed the movie.

Note! I hate dubbed movies (I'd much rather read the subtitles) and if possible, I'd love recommendations I might not otherwise get in the U.S. except by watching lots of pre-movie DVD trailers. I also don't care if they're Chinese, Japanese, Korean...as long as you think I'd enjoy them! And I'd prefer to be able to watch them on DVD, if possible.

Thank you so much!
posted by DisreputableDog to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking of Kung Fu Hustle?
posted by annsunny at 2:56 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You didn't mention Shaolin Soccer. Watch it!
posted by hermitosis at 3:02 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Previous thread that might be relevant.

I don't remember Kung Fu Hustle having a white-haired antagonist, but The Bride with White Hair comes to mind.
posted by annsunny at 3:08 PM on September 10, 2011

Response by poster: Not going to thread sit, but forgot to mention that the movie I'm trying to remember the title of is definitely more modern, rather Americanized (I think), and has some other strange characters. I think I remember some rather fat men and women, someone getting punched through several walls of a building, and some other really weird characters. Fairly bright colors and over the top people.
posted by DisreputableDog at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2011

Oh man, go watch the Baby Cart to Hades series posthaste.
posted by elizardbits at 3:29 PM on September 10, 2011

Er, sorry, the series is actually called Lone Wolf and Cub. derp derp.
posted by elizardbits at 3:30 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Here are some:

* Shaolin Soccer
* Iron Monkey
* any of the Once Upon a Time in China series
* House of Flying Daggers
* Hero
posted by ambulatorybird at 3:30 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Iron Monkey is a classic. It's directed by Woo-Ping Yuen who choreographed Crouching Tiger and The Matrix and stars Donnie Yen.
posted by cazoo at 3:30 PM on September 10, 2011

Yeah, you're definitely thinking of Kung Fu Hustle.
posted by idb at 3:30 PM on September 10, 2011

To add to the already great suggestions:

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Battle Royale
Ichi the Killer
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:37 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Legend of Drunken Master - old Jackie Chan.

Some old Jet Li movies:

The Shaolin Temple
Once Upon a Time in China and it's sequel
More recently: Hero

+1'ing the Lone Wolf and Cub suggestion, tho these are samurai flicks, not kung fu movies... not sure if you care about the distinction or not. If you like these, also check out Zatoichi flicks, I especially like the recent version made by Beat Takeshi, who is also in the above-mentioned Battle Royale. for more of him, check out Brother or Violent Cop.

If you like Crouching Tiger, definitely watch House of Flying Daggars as well as Hero, linked above.

If you want less serious and more ridiculous and funny, check out...

Samurai Fiction
Machine Girl

I may have strayed a bit there, but all solid movies I think.
posted by utsutsu at 3:57 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

A woman using hair as a weapon reminds me more of one of the Chinese Ghost Story films, I think maybe the second or third one?

Some of my favorites:
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk -- Includes one of my favorite setpieces ever, where a woman battles people on top of a wooden structure to see who can win the hand of her daughter in marriage

Tai Chi Master (aka Twin Warriors) -- Jet Li must to invent a whole new style of martial arts to defeat his childhood friend

Legend of the Drunken Master (aka Drunken Master II) -- Jackie Chan drinks to make his fighting more powerful!

Supercop (aka Police Story 3) -- Michelle Yeoh learned to ride a motorcycle about 30 minutes before they had her jump onto a train with one (and really, you can't go wrong with any of the Police Story movies)

Heroic Trio -- Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, and Michelle Yeoh kick all kinds of ass in a weird dystopian future that's probably standing in for the 1997 handover

Finally, Mr. Vampire -- If Lam Ching-Ying says he needs some sticky rice to fight Chinese hopping vampires, bring him some sodding sticky rice, accept no substitutes

And as above, the Once Upon a Time in China series is good and now I have this urge to go back and rewatch Iron Monkey.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:09 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's modern and not really kung fu (but neither is Ong Bak, which is Muy Thai), but I really liked District 13 and it's sequel (they're french, original title is Bienlieu 13 (sp?))

Also there's Ong Bak 2 and 3...

Most of the ones above are pretty great.
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:18 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing the Legend of Fong Sai Yuk and the Once Upon a Time in China series.
And raising you Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter series:
Street Fighter
Return of the Street Fighter
The Street Fighter's Last Revenge

the spin-off Sister Street Fighter series:
Sister Street Fighter
Sister Street Fighter: Hanging by a Thread
The Return of the Sister Street Fighter
Sister Street Fighter, Fifth Level Fist

the Executioner series:
The Executioner
Karate Inferno: The Executioner II

Chiba's Masutatsu Ōyama trilogy. Basically any 70's Chiba.

Ooh! And Master of the Flying Guillotine!
posted by lilnemo at 4:56 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ong Bak 2 and 3, although as I understand it, they are inferior to the original. There's also a sequel to Ip Man.
posted by stef0knee at 5:03 PM on September 10, 2011

utsutsu speaks an awful lot of truth for just one man - basically every movie off his list is worth a watch (though I have my issues with the politics of Hero).

Almost everything Jackie Chan did before coming to America (including some of his work in Canada) is worth checking out.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:42 PM on September 10, 2011

House of Flying Daggers is better than you might think. It's really depressing, but it seems that the Chinese like their serious romantic stories to have tragic endings.

The final sequence was filmed outdoors in Ukraine and the day they began filming, it started to snow. Having little choice in the matter, they kept filming, and so the whole thing is in the snow in the movie, and it really does work pretty well that way. It adds to the atmosphere.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:52 PM on September 10, 2011

tho these are samurai flicks, not kung fu movies

where even is my brain today! wtf self.

posted by elizardbits at 6:28 PM on September 10, 2011

I don't know that I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie, but I'm wondering if the one you're trying to remember with the girl with the white hair is The Forbidden Kingdom. Parts of it are in Chinese, but it's mostly an American (that is to say, in English) film that starred Jackie Chan and Jet Li a few years back.
posted by Diagonalize at 6:48 PM on September 10, 2011

A goofy independent parody, yes, but I quite liked Golden Blade III: Return of the Monkey's Uncle.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:51 PM on September 10, 2011

HAHAHHA, Kung Fu Dunk. What a glorious mess of movie. Unless you're only interested in period piece kung fu movies, dinging up the Jackie Chan recommendations. Why bother with anything else until you watch the classics: Project A, Operation Condor, Wheels on Meals (skateboarding), Drunken Master (!!!!), Police Story 1, 2, and Supercop (also !!!! don't bother with the new one unless you want to see Jackie GET SERIOUS), City Hunter (best theme song ever written*), Who Am I? (hahahaha, awesome camp), and The Tuxedo (just kidding!)

*by men named Jackie Chan
posted by jng at 6:55 PM on September 10, 2011

A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop is not strictly a kung fu movie, but it has a lot of the tropes and is hilarious and brilliant.

A World without Thieves. More caper than kung fu, but it has "fight" scenes between rival pickpocket gangs that reminiscent of kung fu films. A very clever movie.

Hero is my favorite Zhang Yimou film, but the others are good too. You've already seen Crouching Tiger, but also check out House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.

The Emperor and the Assassin is similar to Hero but more serious.

Red Cliff is an epic period piece. I didn't think it was as much fun as Emperor and the Assassin or Hero, but if you like massive scale ancient Chinese army battles and legendary hero fighting scenes, this is your movie. Note that the Chinese release (available as a torrent) is two films and contains many hours that didn't make it into the single-film Western market release.

And if you liked Ip Man, there's always Ip Man 2.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:20 PM on September 10, 2011

Great suggestions all-around, esp. Fong Say Yuk, Once Upon a Time in China, and Drunken Master (there's some confusion regarding Drunken Master and the sequel; there's two of them).

Wing Chung with (young) Michelle Yeoh and (younger) Donny Yen. Under-rated. Like Ip Man (Ip Man 2 wasn't very good) it deals with the inception of the discipline of Wing Chung, but focusing on the female originator of the school. Silly HK comedy blended with some really good pre-overly-wires&cgi choreographed scenes.

Last Hero in China is a decent Jet Li film.
posted by porpoise at 7:21 PM on September 10, 2011

Not kung-fu because it is set in Japan, but you might like it anyway - Dororo. Also the two Onmyoji films are possibilities.
posted by gudrun at 7:30 PM on September 10, 2011

God of Cookery, from the director of Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, sounds like just what you're looking for. (Conveniently available for watching on YouTube.) I agree with one review of it that said,
In hindsight, the first half or so of the movie is silly and maybe a little hard to follow. It can't seem to find its pace. It goes from kind of funny, to reeeeally weird, to a bit creepy, to humorous, to "whoa, what the hell's going on"... But the last half is pure awesomeness.
And one I've recommended before, with mild trepidation since many people consider this Billy Zane's worst! movie! ever! but I really like Invincible.

Two things to be aware of, which might help keep it from sucking for you:

1) This is a Hong Kong movie; it just happens to be made in English.
2) The movie is an extended Buddhist allegory, based on Jet Li's Tibetan Buddhist beliefs.

Again, conveniently available on YouTube.
posted by Lexica at 8:12 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fong Sai Yuk I and II are among my favorites. I like the sillier, happier stuff.
posted by yeolcoatl at 11:12 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some general recommendations and categories of martial arts movies:
(these categories might be a bit off, I haven't seen some of these in over a decade)

- Project A (1 & 2), Police Story, Dragons Forever
- The Myth (mixes modern with wuxia/period piece stuff)
- Anything with Sammo Hung is generally great (Skinny Tiger Fatty Dragon is fun)
- The above mentioned Ong Bak
- So Close (wire fu)

Historical Serious: (very little wire fu, albeit, some)
- Bodyguards and Assassins
- The Emperor and the Assassin
- Fighter in the Wind
- The Warlords
- The Three Kingdoms
- Peace Hotel (mostly guns + drama, but some swords)
- The Good the Bad & the Weird (Korean Western in Manchuria, mostly guns, some fighting)

Light Wire-fu
- Once Upon A Time In China (1-3 are pretty good, not so much after that)
- Fong Sai Yuk
- Return of the Fist: The Legend of Chen Zhen (starts heavy wire fu, calms down pretty quickly after)
- Reign of Assassins

Heavy Wire-fu
- Green Snake
- Swordsman 1-2
- 14 Blades
- Heroic Trio
- Dragon Inn
- Seven Swords of Mount Tian/Heaven (has a movie, and a tv series. TV series is slower, and more dramariffic, and better IMO).
- Chinese Odyssey (Parts 1 & 2. Mostly comedy + supernatural stuff, Stephen Chow did Kung Fu Hustle)
posted by yeloson at 11:19 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, and for completely over the top supernatural kung fu: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain involves lightning swords, telekinetic knife fights and demons galore. Fun times.
posted by yeloson at 11:20 PM on September 10, 2011

Correction: Legend of Zu.
posted by yeloson at 11:22 PM on September 10, 2011

"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" is one of the absolute classics of the field.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:49 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Rumble in the Bronx". Jackie Chan comes to America. You know it is going to be good when on the way home from JFK International airport in NY you can see the mountains of Manhattan in the background...no seriously real rocky mountain mountains over Jackie's shoulder.
posted by Gungho at 5:30 AM on September 11, 2011

Seconding Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky and Wing Chung

actually I am praising and weeping at Ricky for the shower scene sneers, the fakebelly gargantua, the comedic audaciousness
posted by past at 7:22 AM on September 11, 2011

If you wound up liking Kung Fu Dunk, what's even more BadButAwesome is Fireball (muay thai prison basketball ... and, yes, it does what it says on the tin).

Ong Bak 2 and 3 are not sequels to the first, they're just the next set of movies made by Tony Jaa. They are inferior if you're looking for the sort of wall-to-wall kinetic kickboxing action that made Ong Bak so great; there's a lot of indulgent arcs of Tony Jaa looking serious and tormented and trying to act. With that said, if you aren't familiar with 'old Siam' era Thai culture, the films are a novel depiction of that period, and some of neat set piece fights. The training montage in Ong Bak 2 is particularly awesome.

If you liked Chocolate, the star, Jeeja Yanin (who everyone was marketing as the female Tony Jaa), has another film called Raging Phoenix. That one wasn't quite as good both from an acting and fighting\stunts point of view.

Other martial arts film that fall outside of the Hong Kong canon:

The Rebel
Bay Rong

of the two, The Rebel is the superior film for straight martial arts. Bay Rong has a bigger budget and is more of a modern heist/crime movie so firefights and car chases get in the way of the hand-to-hand. For 21 Jump Street fans, The Rebel also thawed Dustin Nguyen's career out of cold storage briefly.

South Korea
City of Violence

Somewhat Tarantino-esque story of a couple of guys trying to clean up their crime ridden hometown. Great fight choreography, though more balletic than technically impressive.
posted by bl1nk at 8:11 AM on September 11, 2011

I think that Fist of Legend is to Kung-Fu films what Die Hard or The Killer is to action movies in general.
posted by mkb at 9:03 AM on September 11, 2011

I didn't see The Protector/Tom yum goong mentioned yet. It features a scene with a capoeira fighter and a baby elephant hammer throw. And I'm not joking about the second one.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:28 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Emperor and the Assassin is similar to Hero but more serious.

I'd say that The Emperor and the Assassin is not a Kung Fu movie, but it is a very good historical drama. Hero is not a historical drama, but it is a very pretty Kung Fu movie. If you had to choose, I'd say watch The Emperor and the Assassin; there are plenty of pretty Kung Fu movies, but this one is a much better film and is closer to the actual history.

A character based on Jing Ke also appears in Highlander: Endgame.
posted by homunculus at 9:56 AM on September 11, 2011

try reading Outlaw Vern.

13 Assassins is either out on DVD or in theatre, depending on where you are. awesome samauri flick by Takashi Miike
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:06 PM on September 11, 2011

try some old Shaw Brothers stuff like 36 Chambers of Shaolin
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:07 PM on September 11, 2011

Kung Pow: Enter the fist.

So bad, I bought the dvd twice.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:43 AM on September 12, 2011

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