1. “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist”
This film creatively took forgettable fight films, found similar actors, and reshot and redubbed everything to concoct a crazy story containing everything from angry barnyard animals to lots of ’70s funk.
Beware of Master Pain.
2. “A Fistful of Yen”
The “featured presentation” within the 1977 sketch comedy “Kentucky Fried Movie” kinda-sorta followed the plot of “A Fistful of Dollars” and “Enter the Dragon” but threw in killer toy robots, a “Dating Game” type competition between fighters, references to “The Wizard of Oz,” and perhaps the most memorable answering machine message ever heard in a martial arts flick.
3. “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”
Most of this early Wayans Brothers comedy is a clever send-up/homage to blacksploitation action films.
But there’s also a big nod to fight films from this era with a character named Kung Fu Joe, who doesn’t seem able to speak other than grunts or growls, whether he’s taking on the baddies or chatting with his friends.
4. “Big Trouble in Little China”
The top-billed star of this John Carpenter flick is the wisecracking long-haul trucker Jack Burton, played by Kurt Russell.
But fans of fighting, funny or otherwise, will appreciate the Chinese mysticism and amazing choreography, including some fighters with “Mortal Kombat” like supernatural powers.
5. “Kung Fu Hustle”
For anyone who has ever wondered if your neighbors are actually martial arts masters in disguise, this movie is for you. There’s plenty of pratfalls and laugh-out-loud moments in this 2004 film as Sing has to decide if the gangster life is truly for him.
6. “They Call Me Bruce?”
When organized crime gets involved, Bruce has to decide whether to harness his inner warrior or his inner chicken.
7. “Drunken Master”
Jackie Chan deserves a black belt for successfully combining slapstick comedy and precise martial arts.
This 1978 film showed how if you add alcohol, you can create cool yet imaginary fighting styles like Devil’s Leg and Devil’s Shadowless Hands.
8. “The Legend of the Drunken Master”
Chan revisits Drunken Boxing style in 1994 where he plays a man trying to follow the path of peace, but finds himself forced to unleash comic violence on artifact-stealing foreigners, provided he’s adequately liquored up.
9. “Kung Fu Panda”
A roly-poly panda with a big appetite was never anyone’s idea of the Chosen One, including said panda’s. This animated film evokes plenty of fight cliches, from finding your destiny to the proper warrior diet (dewfall?), but makes them all fun.
10. “Shaolin Soccer”
Purists say the international version and the Director’s Cut are better than the American theatrical release, which changed several scenes.
But the 2001 has an original concept — rather than battling it out at sinister fortresses like those other movies, rival warriors take to the soccer field. Go Team Evil!