For many, Hong Kong martial-arts movies is best embodied by Bruce Lee. The man is that legendary. Of the four films he starred in during his life, Fist of Fury is probably the best. Quality not just for its ferocious fight scenes, the movie was also a hit for its Chinese nationalism, which saw Lee striking back at the taunt that China was the ‘sick man of Asia’.
Some of the best kung fu movies ever made have come from Hong Kong. Heck, we practically invented it. The first collection of kung fu movies is generally agreed to the Wong Fei-hung series. A Guangdong folk hero, Wong is a near-mythical figure. Born in 1847, he was a martial arts master, a doctor, and a general champion of the weak. The first local film made about him was created in 1949, with another further 98 that followed over the next 21 years starring Kwan Tak-hing, making this Wong saga the longest-running film series in the world.
The martial-arts genre also owes much to Peking opera. As the traditional form of entertainment lost popularity in the middle of the 20th century, performers sought new employment in Hong Kong’s fledgeling movie business. From Yu Jim-yuen’s now-famous Peking opera academy emerged the likes of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Corey Yuen – actors and directors who would create box-office hits across decades.
With such a rich cinematic history, it’s hard to pick such a small number of key kung fu movies made in our city. Still, we’ve given it a shot and here are our recs for the best kung-fu movies ever made in Hong Kong.
RECOMMENDED: Not into ‘chop-socky’ flicks? Try these Hong Kong romcoms instead.