Martial arts movies like Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a great gateway to martial arts movies. Here are eight we recommend.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, now in theaters.

Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings features incredible fight choreography and yarn stunts reminiscent of classic martial arts movies. Through its contributions to the genre and the impressive fight choreography of Andy Cheng and the supervision of the late Brad Allan, the film brings new ideas to the genre’s traditional fighting tropes. But after leaving the cinema, fans might want more movies to explore that will scratch the itch in battle. Shang-Chi will surely create. Here are eight great martial arts movies around the world that capture the same essence seen in Shang-Chi.

Mortal combat

Released earlier this year, Mortal combat is based on the blockbuster fighting game franchise. While praised for its hyper-violence and iconic characters like Sub-Zero and Scorpion, the film also features top-notch choreography. Starring martial artists like Max Huang and Joe Taslim and a diversity of characters, the film has both a culture and a style that blend beautifully with the vibe of Shang-Chi. The implementation of magic in martial arts is also an important part of Mortal combat, but it is used more for violence than for mysticism as in Shang-Chi. However, Mortal combat is a great sequel to the stylized action of the Marvel movie.

The Ip Man franchise

The Ip man The franchise is an example of a masterclass in modern martial arts films. The series is an elegant tale of real Ip Man life and is played by Chinese action star Donnie Yen. The film brings the speed and fluidity of the Wing Chun style to life in a fantastic way. A little like Shang-Chi, his combat choreography is also used to tell a story. Not only is the franchise a great example of action, but its drama can touch the hearts of even the toughest moviegoers. New fans at Ip man the series will be delighted with each punch thrown.

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Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Hustle is an action comedy film which is both directed and performed by Stephen Chow. The film follows a man who joins the ruthless ax gang, but when he tries to strengthen a small apartment complex, he finds out that the whole building is filled with kung fu masters. The film also focuses heavily on stylized martial arts and fantastic stunts that no normal person can duplicate. Kung Fu Hustle has his serious moments but is mostly played for laughs and has a lot of heart, making even his most shady characters likable. A Kung Fu Hustle the poster can also be seen in Shang-Chi’s apartment at the start of the film.


Gareth evans Lowering is an Indonesian action film that sees an elite task force sent to arrest a drug lord trapped in a slum full of criminals. Among that team is rookie member Rama (Iko Uwais), who must fight his way through the building to save his partners and stop the slum lords. The film is fast paced and hard hitting as it highlights the little known martial arts known as Pencak Silat. The film is a testament to how stuntmen train to make these incredible fights effortlessly, and that same dedication, speed and ferocity can also be seen in Shang-Chi.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Wuxia films translate to “martial heroes” and are Chinese films that focus on these heroes and their adventures. Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is one of the best examples of this. Not only does it feature incredible son fight scenes, but it also contains a powerful story about two women with separate dreams destined to fight. The film is a classic in its genre and features stunning and vibrant fight sequences that blur the line between what is real and what is fantastic. Same Shang-Chi Can’t help but salute her contributions with her own beautifully choreographed yarn fight sequence and also features one of the film’s protagonists, Michelle Yeoh.

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Drunk Master II

Drunk Master II is the sequel to the original film directed by Jackie Chan. However, this movie takes everything from the original and improves it. Following an older and relatively wiser Wong Fei-hung, the protagonist finds himself in another series of misadventures. Using his drunken style, he and his friends attempt to thwart a smuggling operation and rekindle the legend of the Drunk Master. Jackie Chan is the master of physical comedy through martial arts and has even worked with the aforementioned Brad Allan and Andy Cheng. Thanks to what they learned from Chan, Shang-Chi channel that same style into their film, making Drunk Master II a spiritual predecessor of Shang-Chi.

Enter the Dragon

Like Jackie Chan, another major influence on martial arts in cinema was Bruce Lee. Thanks to Lee, viewers got to see how much fun realistic martial arts can be and because Lee was so skillful, he was able to bring his blinding speed to the masses. Enter the Dragon was his first and only appearance in an American film, and it follows a hero who must use his skills to survive a deadly situation, similar to Shang-Chi. The movie is Lee at its best and is a great way to drain all the energy built up after Shang-Chithe credits of.

Tai Chi Gentleman

Tai Chi Gentleman is a Keanu Reeves movie that stars Tiger Chen as a tai chi student who uses his skills, against his master’s will, for violence. Upon joining a tournament, Chen makes his way to the top but does his best to avoid killing. However, the real fight is inside Chen as he struggles over whether to use tai chi in a traditional or violent way. The movie is a great way to further explore the fighting style used by Shang-Chi’s mother and understand the flow of energy in the movements.

Directed and co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now.

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