Find me the best martial arts choreography of the last 8 years
November 15, 2013 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Okay, so I used to share a house with this guy who would often bring home lots of good Asian cinema (of all sorts, but this question is about martial arts movies), but I moved across the country back in 2005 and I've been getting a hankering for some well-choreographed fighting. I haven't been paying attention to what's come out lately, so I don't know much of what's out there. So I'm looking for the best and cleverest fight choreography from Asian cinema, from 2005 on.

What I'm primarily looking for right now is good (or clever) action choreography. Quality cinema is always a bonus, but goofy is good too as long as it makes for clever action too. Heck I loved the football scene in Romeo Must Die, but that was a pretty terrible movie in general. The same goes for the actors. If they're physically talented, that's great, but a well-put-together scene can make up for a lot (e.g., Kung Fu Hustle). Here are some of my favorites: Fist of Legend, The Millionaire's Express, Hero, Iron Monkey, Tai Chi Master, Prodigal Son, Dragon Inn, Ong Bak, The Protector, a number of Stephen Chow movies (although they can have some seriously painful low points), House of Fury, the first three Once Upon a Time in China films, Wing Chun, Drunken Master, Meals on Wheels, Spooky Encounters, and just about anything choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping, Jackie Chan, or Sammo Hung. I saw Ip Man and it was an okay movie, but I'd like something with a little more oomph in the choreography.
posted by ErWenn to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The Raid
posted by Aznable at 7:12 PM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Came in here to suggest The Raid. It blows almost everything else out of the water.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:16 PM on November 15, 2013

The Raid.
posted by Jairus at 9:18 PM on November 15, 2013

omg you guys THE RAID
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:02 AM on November 16, 2013

It' from 2001 and you mention Kung Fu Hustle but not this: Shaolin Soccer. A ragtag group of brothers/former shaolin monks form a soccer team, eventually facing off against an evil team with superpowers from drugs. Also completely random song and dance number.
posted by cmoj at 7:14 AM on November 16, 2013

Response by poster: I didn't mention Shaolin Soccer directly (it falls in the category of "a number of Stephen Chow movies"), but yes, that definitely would've fit the bill.

It looks like I'll definitely be looking for The Raid. Thanks! Give me more!
posted by ErWenn at 7:35 AM on November 16, 2013

Maybe not what you're looking for, but Warrior was excellent.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:48 AM on November 16, 2013

Sukiyaki Western Django
posted by griphus at 7:51 AM on November 16, 2013

Response by poster: Just to be sure, The Raid that everyone is referring to is the 2011 Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption and not the 1991 Hong Kong film? And if so, is there any place to buy this on DVD (not Blu-Ray) with the original audio and English subtitles?
posted by ErWenn at 8:24 AM on November 16, 2013

Response by poster: Sticherbeast: When you say "maybe not what you're looking for," could you be more specific?
posted by ErWenn at 8:25 AM on November 16, 2013

Warrior takes place in the world of Western MMA. The fight scenes are brief, one-on-one, and only really take place in that context. Different kind of movie than Asian martial arts movies.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:48 AM on November 16, 2013

Best answer: I dunno what you found lacking in Ip Man, but if it was "close but not quite" you could try the sequel (called, unsurprisingly, Ip Man 2) with pretty much the same cast & crew.

I just saw Wong Kar Wai's version of the ip Man story last night - The Grandmaster. Being a Wong Kar Wai film I think it's a bit more focused on the style and cinematography of the fight scenes (by Yuen Woo-Ping) rather than "oomph", but definitely worth a watch. Think Hero more than Drunken Master.

Tsui Hark remade his own Dragon Inn in 2011 as Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, with Jet Li starring.

Possibly pushing your definition of "martial arts choreography", but I loved War of the Arrows, a period Korean archery film.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:25 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

In my opinion, Fearless not only had terrific fight choreography, it is one of the best martial arts movies that has ever been made. Usually, if you want to show a kung fu flick to someone who's not a fan of the genre, it comes with a disclaimer- "Yeah, I know the plot is super cheesy, but just wait for the fighting..." Not so with Fearless, in which the main character undergoes a humbling and poignant transformation by film's end.

Here's a sample- this isn't even my favorite fight scene in the film, but I didn't want to spoil the better ones :)
posted by EKStickland at 8:40 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'll almost certainly watch Ip Man 2 at some point. I even bought it, but somehow the DVD I ended up with wouldn't play on any of my DVD players. I guess that's a question for another week.

Fearless was good! I forgot that was after 2005. I guess I'm aware of most of the stuff that got wide release in the US.
posted by ErWenn at 6:09 AM on November 17, 2013

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