Martial arts appeal to many as a form of action-filled defense mechanism. The speed, discipline, flexibility, and power that lead roles depict in martial arts movies inspire many action lovers. This must be the reason why people were drawn to the genre in the early 1970s and 1980s. It spawned hundreds of English-dubbed films by Hong Kong producers.
Now, martial arts movies are being made globally, but Hong Kong action movies have ruled the genre since Bruce Lee’s ascent to stardom in 1971. Bruce Lee, the master of martial arts, amazed the world with his impressive skills. Its impact spanned internationally in action thrillers like The Matrix trilogy. Since the genre’s popularity is rising, we’ve gathered the 10 best martial arts movies on Disney Plus for you to enjoy.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Runtime: 3 hrs.27 mins
Seven Samurai was initially named The Magnificent Seven when it first aired in the United States. It is an epic 1954 Japanese samurai drama. It had the second-best national box office performance in Japan.
Farmers in a town plagued by bandits employ a skilled samurai for safety. He enlists the help of six other Samurai. But they must deal with the looter army strike while the Samurai are busy educating the villagers on how to defend themselves.
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Cast: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Runtime: 1 hr.47 mins
Equilibrium is an American dystopian sci-fi film launched in 2002. The movie received an American Choreography Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Fight Choreography.
In a bleak future where all gestures of feelings are prohibited by law – a man in control of maintaining the law goes up to overthrow the system and the state.
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
IMDb Rating: 8.7
Runtime: 2 hr.16 mins
It is a science fiction action film that dominated the box office in 1999. It was the highest-earning film of all time, raking in nearly $460 million against a $63 million spending plan. Because of the success of the film, two full-length prequels were launched.
It depicts a dark fate in which unnatural intelligence has formed the Matrix, a realistic simulation. They deceive people to gain strength from their bodies. Folks have unknowingly gotten trapped within them. The truth is discovered by Thomas Anderson, a computer expert who goes by the pseudo name “Neo,” the hacker. In a rebellion against the computers, he quickly joins forces with Matrix’s escaped prisoners.
Mortal Kombat (2021)
Director: Simon McQuoid
Writer: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham, Oren Uziel
Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Runtime: 1 hr.50 mins
Mortal Kombat, a 2021 martial arts fiction film, is based on the same-titled video game franchise. The movie earned both positive and negative reviews from critics and earned more than $84 million worldwide.
An M.M.A. fighter seeks for Earth’s top warriors to resist Outworld’s foes in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman
Cast: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Runtime: 2 hr.20 mins
Warrior, an American sports action film, was released in theatres on September 9, 2011. Despite its lack of commercial success, critics praised the film.
His father coaches the addict younger son of a longtime boxer to participate in a blended martial arts tournament. Sadly, the fighter is at odds with his detached elderly brother.
Police Story 2
Director: Jackie Chan
Writer: Jackie Chan, Paul B. Clay, Edward Tang
Star Cast: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Kwok-Hung Lam
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Runtime: 1 hr.41 mins
Police Story 2 was a commercial success in Hong Kong in 1988. It is the second installment of the Police Story franchise and a spinoff of the blockbuster 1985 film Police Story. The film was given a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Action Choreography.
While the bad guys of Police Story (1985) seek vengeance, the Hong Kong police officer must confront a group of extorting bombers.
Director: Kar-Wai Wong
Writer: Kar-Wai Wong, Jingzhi Zou, Haofeng Xu
Star Cast: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang
IMDB Rating: 6.5
Runtime: 2 hrs.10 mins
It’s a martial arts drama released in 2013 premised on the life of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man. The film was well received by critics, becoming the first Wong Kar-Wai film acknowledged by the Academy Awards.
It’s a tale of Ip Man, the martial arts teacher who educated Bruce Lee.
Director: James Wong
Writer: Glen Morgan, James Wong
Cast: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo
IMDb Rating: 5.9
Runtime: 1 hr.27 mins
Columbia Pictures released the sci-fi action film The One in the United States on November 2, 2001. Besides getting negative feedback from critics, the film grossed $78.5 million worldwide.
A devious Multiverse operator gets stronger with every victim as he tries to find himself through different existences. But, before becoming “The One,” his task can only be completed by his previous incarnation, an L.A.S.D. officer.
Director: Niki Caro
Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek
Star Cast: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Gong Li
IMDB Rating: 5.7
Runtime: 1 hr.55 mins
It’s a 2020 American fantasy adventure drama modeled on Disney’s 1998 animated movie that bears the same title. It is based on the Chinese folktale Ballad of Mulan. Western critics gave the film largely favorable reviews, praising the action scenes, attire, and performances.
It’s a story of a female maiden who conceals herself as a male fighter to protect her father.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Writer: Justin Marks, Takashi Nishiyama, Hiroshi Matsumoto
Cast: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan
IMDb Rating: 3.7
Runtime: 1 hr.36 mins
On February 27, 2009, the American action movie Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li premiered. The audience gave the film mixed feedback.
Chun-Li, a teenager, witnesses M. Bison, a billionaire mafia boss, kidnap her father. As an adult, she sets sail on a vengeance quest. Meanwhile, in the Street Fighter universe, she goes up to prominence as the most well-known criminal fighter.