But Fist of fury is the real Bruce in all his nunchuck spinning glory. It is loosely based on the history of the Chin Woo Athletic Association, which remains one of the largest international martial arts organizations to this day. When Bruce smashed the “ No Dogs and Chinese Allowed ” sign with a sweeping kick, it became a battle cry for the racially oppressed around the world, firmly cementing Bruce as the world’s first Asian global superstar.
Come Drink With Me (1966)
Long before Charlize Theron left Atomic blonde, Cheng Pei Pei led the way as the Golden Swallow, the mysterious invincible swordsman, and all female action heroines are in his wake. Fiercely independent and wildly deadly, Cheng delivers several sophisticated, long-lasting fight scenes, the hallmark of true Kung Fu skill, with poise and precision built on its foundations in ballet. Cheng is remembered in Hollywood as Jade Fox from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and played the go-between in Disney’s live action Mulan. Note that Amazon Prime also has the sequel, Golden swallow, but it’s not as good.
Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
This tour de force from director Tsui Hark and Jet Li launched a six-film franchise and a television series. Jet plays Wong Fei-hung, a true folk hero and Kung Fu master who has been portrayed in over a hundred movies and TV shows. Set in the late 19th century, the film examines themes of Western colonization and Chinese cults, and while blatantly nationalistic, it captures Jet in his martial heyday and contains some of his best fights.
Amazon Prime also Once upon a time in China II, which is a great sequel, but the third installment (not on Amazon Prime) is falling apart, allegedly due to disputes between Jet and Hark.
Ashes of Time Redux (2008)
It was the first attempt of internationally renowned director Wong Kar-wai in the genre of martial arts. It’s lavishly artistic and painstakingly dystopian, not one to see for action but art. Based on a classic wuxia (wuxia is Chinese for genre books and martial arts movies) titled The Eagle Shooting Heroes, Wong simultaneously filmed a parody titled from the book with the same cast. Wong made the Redux after losing the original print, scavenging what was left, republishing it, and rating it again.