10 martial arts epics to watch once you’re done with Iron Fist
For more martial arts action, here are the films you should watch after you've binged Netflix's Iron Fist.
The latest entry into Netflix’s original series based within the Marvel Cinematic Universe hits the streaming service on 17 March 2017. Based on the lesser-known hero, Iron Fist, the series sees the introduction of the titular hero into the loose-knit world of heroes that already includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Iron Fist’s comic book history strongly ties him to Luke Cage specifically, with both characters sharing a long-running series under the banner of "Heroes For Hire". However, the character’s origins lie in the 1970s obsession with martial arts.
If you do quickly binge all the Iron Fist episodes (not always the best idea) and you’re salivating for yet more kung-fu/martial arts action, these are the films you should check out next.
Enter The Dragon
Bruce Lee is synonymous with kung-fu action, which is why it’s particularly annoying that currently, none of his classic films are on Australian streaming services. Enter The Dragon is arguably the definitive Bruce Lee flick, but if you want to watch it, you’ll have to score a purchased copy. Yes, the plot is somewhat clichéd, but you can’t help but be drawn in by the quality of the action and Lee’s personal charisma.
The lack of Bruce Lee streaming is definitely a problem for fans of the genre, but there is always Ip Man, the semi-biographical (but largely fictional) film based on the life of Bruce Lee’s martial arts teacher. Set during the events of the Sino-Japanese war, it’s heavy on the action and a must-watch film.
Ip Man (and Ip Man 2 and 3) stream on Netflix Australia.
Ip Man and its sequels are available via iTunes in either standard or high definition.
The Legend Of Drunken Master
Jackie Chan got his start as (essentially) a Bruce Lee clone in Hong Kong cinema, but he quickly became more than just a pale carbon copy. There’s quite a wide range of Jackie Chan’s films on offer, but avoid his later and more schlocky Hollywood work such as the Rush Hour films if you want genuine martial arts action. Instead, go for 1994’s The Legend Of Drunken Master, which is 1 part comedy, 57 parts action and at least 3 parts of wondering how he actually survived the classic fight at the end.
The Legend Of Drunken Master streams on Netflix Australia.
It’s so 80s it hurts and that’s precisely the point. It's a tale of a lone cop with legendary kung-fu skills taking on the most evil dictator in history by way of buxom Vikings, actual Thor, time travel, hacking and every possible bad joke along the way. Plus, David Hasselhoff. Kung Fury isn’t long and it's in no way subtle, but if you want to laugh at the purely ludicrous nature of the genre, it’s so very much worth your time.
Kung Fury streams on Netflix Australia.
You can buy the over-the-top music video for True Survivor, the theme from Kung Fury sung by none other than David Hasselhoff, from iTunes.
Do you know what happens when you kick somebody in the face? It hurts. Many kung-fu films focus on fast-paced action with relatively little in the way of the ongoing consequences of all that violence, but not The Raid. Yes, okay, technically it’s a Silat film rather than a kung-fu film if you’re a purist, but if what you want is gritty and exceptionally hard-hitting action, it’s hard to overlook Gareth Evans’ action masterpiece.
The Raid and The Raid 2 stream on Stan.
Kung Fu Panda
Like the rest of its Marvel fare, Iron Fist really isn’t for youngsters, even though much of Marvel’s general marketing is towards kids. If the presence of Iron Fist has your younglings on edge for some action, edge them towards something a little softer. Actually, a lot softer, given that Dreamworks’ 3-movie Kung Fu Panda series has as its star a chubby, Jack Black-voiced Panda.
Stream Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 on Netflix Australia and Stan.
Kung Fu Panda and its sequels are available via iTunes in either standard or high definition.
Marvel won’t admit to it, but there’s as much exploitative content as there is action-based content surrounding the core character of Iron Fist, and the series has already seen its fair share of "whitewashing" allegations as a result. If you want to go down the ridiculously exploitative angle, though, watch any of the American Ninja movies, which are essentially Kung Fury if it tried to take itself in any way seriously. Even the name of the series' star, Michael Dudikoff, makes him sound like a parody of an 80s action star. He’s one of the few action heroes of that era yet to appear in an Expendables flick, but you can catch his starring efforts and feel your brain unravel at will.
American Ninja 4: Annihilation streams on Netflix Australia.
American Ninja 3 and American Ninja 5 are available via iTunes.
For authentic Hong Kong-style martial arts action, you can’t overlook the plentiful output of the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio. Its output of movies featuring the "Venom Mob" covers a variety of genres with a focus on heavily choreographed action. Masked Avengers is one of the later, darker Venom Mob movies, but it combines martial arts with masks. How much more superhero can you get?
Masked Avengers streams on Netflix Australia.
Masked Avengers is available via iTunes.
Kung Fu Hustle
Iron Fist isn't the only one who can present fists of iron... or any other kind of ludicrous kung-fu power needed to keep the plot ticking along. Stephen Chow’s deliberately comic Kung Fu Hustle is set in 1940s Canton with more than a few nods to classic mob films as well. Kung Fu Hustle is an excellent action comedy flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s seriously good fun.
Kung Fu Hustle streams on Netflix Australia.
Kung Fu Hustle is available via iTunes.
The story of an underdog sports team rising up to face adversity has been done to death a thousand times before, but the matching up of soccer and martial arts gives Shaolin Soccer, a not-terribly-serious movie, all of its energy. We’re not certain that every move in Shaolin Soccer would pass muster against a decent referee, but maybe that’s not the point.
Shaolin Soccer streams on Netflix Australia.
Shaolin Soccer is available via iTunes.