Martial Arts Movies with Absurd Fighting Scenes We Love2
By Spencer Stokell
Martial arts movies are a staple to the character of modern cinema. Their style has influenced many genres, from American action to animation to drama. Their plots tend to be epic, taking us to distant lands and times, from classic tales of ancient Asian culture to more modern stories, like the new Shanghai-based Internet TV action/ campy comedy series Wise Hit . But every once in a while a movie comes around with fight scenes so absurd, it deserves special attention. Without further ado, we present our list of martial arts movies with fight scenes so absurd, we can’t help but be entertained. In no particular order…
Wise Hit (Comedy has never been this dangerous) Episode 1
Wise Hit – I Have a Sensitive Side
In this Bruce Lee-and-Mel Brooks-took-on-pulp fiction-in-contemporary-Shanghai-esque series, lovable hit man, Wiseguy, works for local Shanghai boss Carlos, but wants to get out of the business. He’s recently discovered there’s more to life than busting up people’s faces. He’s found an uptapped “sensitive side” inside himself that he needs to explore, and wants to go back to the U.S. to set up a matchmaking service in New York City to bring nice people together. Although the series is an over-the-top work of fiction, Wise Hit’s got the absurd fight scenes we grew to loving in early Bruce Lee movies.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee’s masterpiece ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ dazzled audiences in 2000 with its spectacular choreography and ambience. Using what was at the time unbelievable special effects, the fights played out with an anime-esque disregard for physics or constraints of the human body. From midnight rooftop battles to swordfights set high in a bamboo forest, Lee’s vision was a unique, dream-like contribution to cinema.
The Karate Kid
Our next spot goes to ‘The Karate Kid.’ Yeah, I know, it’s been talked about to death. But as far as absurdity goes, Karate Kid has to make the list. Never mind the whole idea of waxing cars and painting fences translating to martial virtuosity, or the ridiculous car the protagonist, Daniel-san, receives for his birthday (how is a kid going to maintain something like that?). What puts Karate Kid over the top is the final fight scene. Isn’t that guy way too old to be fighting in the same bracket as that child? Shouldn’t he be disqualified for straight up breaking the kid’s leg? And the swan kick… So majestic… Yet so fierce… Watch blondie writhe on the ground in a gripping portrayal of agony. Oscar sh#t right there.
No More Kings – Sweep The Leg
In one of the greatest music videos of all time, No More Kings brings you their first-ever single, Sweep the Leg – a spoof of the cult classic, The Karate Kid, featuring the entire male cast of the original film. It’s more than entertaining – it’s a classic in its own right.
House of Flying Daggers
The second Ang Lee movie to make the list, 2004′s ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ is a spectacle of grace and ferocity, elegant in its execution. Beautiful, and strange at times, the film’s martial sequences take unexpected forms, leading to an epic final confrontation. Possibly the most traditional movie to make the list, but absolutely great and unique.
2001′s ‘Shaolin Soccer’ is a ridiculous mash-up of the underdog sports team and martial arts, and it’s amazing in its execution. The direction from Stephen Chow is just straight up fun. Watching over-the-top martial arts moves used to manuever and score goals ends up being way more entertaining than one may expect. Definitely check it out.
Any Chuck Norris Movie
He has to make the list. He has to. But to pick one movie… Is to pass judgment on the gods themselves. ‘Invasion USA’ comes to mind. The Walker Texas Ranger movies. Flashes of the grace of an exotic cat with tape stuck to one paw. Chuck Norris is its own brand of absurdity, for sure, but for those who can get into it, there are dozens of hours of footage waiting for you. Maybe even on VHS!
Legend of Drunken Master
Jackie Chan is another martial arts movie superstar whose work is difficult to pin down to one movie. But ‘Drunken Master,’ for sure. Of his catalog, it’s one of Chan’s least farcical films. It’s based in a realistic, modern setting, yet throughout the movie Chan employs the art of drunken boxing to take out his opponents. The Popeye-esque nature of the protagonist downing alcohol to get ready for the next bout is delightful, and honestly, pretty awesome.
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Definitely the most absurd movie on the list, Steve Odekerk’s ‘Kung Pow’ is satire at its best. A mix of two old martial arts movies are mixed with original footage to create what might be the craziest martial arts movie of all time. Gopher nunchucks, cow combat, and French aliens are among what you will find, should you seek out this preposterous flick. And seek it you should, because no words can really explain it.
Game of Death
Bruce Lee’s final, and incomplete, film is a stunning portrayal of a master at his peak. Lee basically just goes up a tower, one level at a time, fighting progressively tougher opponents, among them Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chuck Norris (Norris is defeated in the battle, one of the only two defeats I know of). It is said that Lee had to slow his motions down to half speed at this point, because he had become too fast for the cameras to capture his movement. In a tragic, yet almost poetic turn of events, Bruce Lee died before the film could be finished at the age of 32, but the footage that had been recorded has been released posthumously.
Wise Hit – The White Glove Treatment
Spence Stokell is an individual who lives in the woods of Northern California. The trees are interesting here.