Kung Fu Movies (2015)

PopGap #06 Wrap-up: Kung Fu Movies

By dorrk, July 2nd 2015
List complete!

A few days late, but I've completed my June 2015 watchlist of the top 21 kung fu movies I hadn't seen (or needed to re-watch) from Ric Meyers' list of the "Top 100 Kung Fu Movies 1966-2010." Meyers' complete list can be found at the back of his fun book Films of Fury: the Kung Fu Movie Book. In retrospect — and, really, I knew this before I started — 21 was a steep order, especially the same month I decided to try and make video reviews of several of the movies. I ended up only making five videos, but that sidebar put me about 10 days behind on my watching and writing. So, lesson learned.

Now I can announce that I have seen 39 of the 98 movies on Meyers' list. the highest ranked on my Flickchart is The Killer at #101. the lowest ranked is Shaolin Soccer at #2852 (out of a total of 3093 movies). the 21 movies from this month's list are fairly well-distributed between these poles. Here's how they ended up ranking on my Flickchart ("global rank" refers to the movie's overall popularity on Flickchart according to all user rankings):

How they rank

  1. #287. Police Story (1985) Dir: Jackie Chan / Global Rank: #1514
  2. #288. Jackie Chan's Project A2 (1987) Dir: Jackie Chan / Global Rank: #4267
  3. #386. Fist of Legend (1994) Dir: Gordon Chan / Global Rank: #2466
  4. #695. Peking Opera Blues (1986) Dir: Hark Tsui / Global Rank: #14125
  5. #736. Jackie Chan's Project A (1983) Dir: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung / Global Rank: #2449
  6. #775. The Way of the Dragon (1972) Dir: Bruce Lee / Global Rank: #1481
  7. #865. Fist of Fury / the Chinese Connection (1972) Dir: Wei Lo / Global Rank: #1931
  8. #945. Iron Monkey (1993) Dir: Woo-ping Yuen / Global Rank: #2246
  9. #1074. Crippled Avengers (1978) Dir: Cheh Chang / Global Rank: #7499
  10. #1089. Ip Man (2008) Dir: Wilson Yip / Global Rank: #993
  11. #1152. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978) Dir: Woo-ping Yuen / Global Rank: #3899
  12. #1195. Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992) Dir: Hark Tsui / Global Rank: #4710
  13. #1328. Supercop (1992) Dir: Stanley Tong / Global Rank: #2629
  14. #1359. Fearless (2006) Dir: Ronny Yu / Global Rank: #2087
  15. #1364. A Touch of Zen (1971) Dir: King Hu / Global Rank: #4288
  16. #1428. Police Story 2 (1988) Dir: Jackie Chan / Global Rank: #2932
  17. #1787. A Better Tomorrow II (1987) Dir: John Woo / Global Rank: #3676
  18. #2321. Five Deadly Venoms (1978) Dir: Cheh Chang / Global Rank: #4343
  19. #2370. A Better Tomorrow (1986) Dir: John Woo / Global Rank: #1656
  20. #2605. Ashes of Time (1993) Dir: Wong Kar-Wai / Global Rank: #4701
  21. #2610. Once Upon a Time in China (1991) Dir: Hark Tsui / Global Rank: #2193

I liked 17 out of 21, and really enjoyed nine of those. Three of the movies from this month's list moved into my Top 500, so it was overall a very good, productive month compared to some of the months past. the biggest surprise there was Fist of Legend, which I hadn't seen before and really loved despite not being a great Jet Li fan.

At the beginning of the month, I posted my Top 23 kung fu movies, which spanned deep into my chart, extending a bit past my Top 2000. Now, my Top 25 Kung Fu Movies fit mostly within my Top 1000, so that's a pretty big shift. Here's that list:

My Top 25 Kung Fu Movies

  1. #76. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) Dir: Quentin Tarantino/ Global Rank: #166
  2. #77. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) Dir: Quentin Tarantino/ Global Rank: #273
  3. #226. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Dir: Ang Lee/ Global Rank: #628
  4. #285. the Raid 2: Berandal (2014) Dir: Gareth Evans/ Global Rank: #1293
  5. #287. Police Story (1985) Dir: Jackie Chan/ Global Rank: #1514
  6. #288. Jackie Chan's Project A2 (1987) Dir: Jackie Chan/ Global Rank: #4267
  7. #365. Enter the Dragon (1973) Dir: Robert Clouse/ Global Rank: #342
  8. #386. Fist of Legend (1994) Dir: Gordon Chan/ Global Rank: #2466
  9. #398. Hero (2002) Dir: Yimou Zhang/ Global Rank: #1081
  10. #472. Dragons Forever (1988) Dir: Sammo Hung, Corey Yuen/ Global Rank: #3770
  11. #535. the Young Master (1980) Dir: Jackie Chan/ Global Rank: #5378
  12. #695. Peking Opera Blues (1986) Dir: Hark Tsui/ Global Rank: #14125
  13. #736. Jackie Chan's Project A (1983) Dir: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung/ Global Rank: #2449
  14. #775. Return of the Dragon (1972) Dir: Bruce Lee/ Global Rank: #1481
  15. #778. Drunken Master (1978) Dir: Woo-ping Yuen/ Global Rank: #1002
  16. #826. Ong-Bak: the Thai Warrior (2003) Dir: Prachya Pinkaew/ Global Rank: #1923
  17. #846. Tai Chi Master (1993) Dir: Woo-ping Yuen/ Global Rank: #5698
  18. #863. Merantau (2009) Dir: Gareth Evans/ Global Rank: #15672
  19. #865. the Chinese Connection (1972) Dir: Wei Lo/ Global Rank: #1931
  20. #912. the Legend of Drunken Master (1994) Dir: Chia-Liang Liu/ Global Rank: #1326
  21. #945. Iron Monkey (1993) Dir: Woo-ping Yuen/ Global Rank: #2246
  22. #955. Five Element Ninjas (1982) Dir: Cheh Chang/ Global Rank: #9019
  23. #968. the Raid (2011) Dir: Gareth Evans/ Global Rank: #877
  24. #1034. the 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) Dir: Chia-Liang Liu / Global Rank: #1641
  25. #1035. Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) Dir: Yu Wang / Global Rank: #3029

What did I learn?

I learned that Jet Li is best when cut loose from playing sanctified folk heroes. I learned that if a kung fu movie has women in it, women will be punched. I learned that there is a strong current of (somewhat justified) anti-Japanese (and generally xenophobic) sentiment fueling a segment of this genre. I learned to keep my lists shorter.

Watch our video preview of June 2015's Kung Fu PopGap



More Info:

I have reviews posted for all the movies on this blog, and live-tweeted most viewings here:
https://twitter.com/popgap

Our Youtube channel is here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI2fy3vQn-Q2-82002Fz63g

This list is posted to Letterboxd, here:
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/popgap-2015-06-ric-meyers-top-kung-fu-movies/

You can keep track of my Flickchart here:
http://www.flickchart.com/Charts.aspx?user=dorrk

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