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Dr. Craig D. Reid, author of the Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies, lists his candidates for the top 5 Kung Fu films of the 80's, when the martial arts movie craze was in full-swing. Did your favorites make the cut?

Twenty-first century kung fu film fans are more aware and appreciative of good movies than their ancestors ever were. There are three main reason for this: the mainstream success of Chinese-language martial arts films such as Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou's Hero and House of Flying Daggers in the West; the use of stylized Hong Kong action in Hollywood blockbusters; and the international success of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and their cohorts. Now, without further ado, let's take a trip down memory lane and dive in to the top five kung fu films from the eighties.

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UPDATE: Watching Mulan will reportedly cost $29.95.

Disney has announced that Mulan, the live-action version of the studio's 1998 animated hit, will be available starting September 4, 2020, on its streaming service. The film had been scheduled for a theatrical release, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused Disney to postpone its debut.

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Black Belt's entertainment blogger takes a look at the new AMC series Into the Badlands, starring Daniel Wu. It's Wu's real-life martial arts skills that make this post-apocalyptic series a cut above the rest.

No American-made TV show — whether it's produced by Netflix, the networks, cable or the premium channels — has come close to capturing the essence of Hong Kong cinema's frenetic-paced, over-the-top, highly stylized martial arts action. Until now. I am, of course, raving about the outrageous and audacious martial arts action served up by the hit AMC series Into the Badlands. More than 8.2 million people tuned in for its premiere in November 2015, making it the top-rated new fall series on either cable or broadcast television. It was also the third-largest audience for the launch of a cable series. I interviewed Badlands star Daniel Wu a wee while ago for the cover story of the February/March 2016 issue of Black Belt. He discussed in depth his martial arts pedigree and philosophy, as well as how he got into filmmaking and why he wanted to do the series. Don’t worry! This blog won’t give you deja vu if you’ve already read that article. All I’ll say is that Wu, a Chinese-American, is a legitimate martial artist who’s famous in Asia for his non-martial arts roles. His latest film, a doctor-and-patient-who’s-going-to-die tear-jerker called Go Away Mr. Tumor, is China's 2015 Academy Award contender for Best Foreign Language Film. Inasmuch as there's been some decent martial arts action in series like Netflix’s Marco Polo and Daredevil, several fair stabs with ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a few good seasons of the CW's Arrow, none has gone beyond the call of duty the way Badlands has.

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Hero was a bona fide hit in theaters! Find out what went into making this Chinese martial arts film a success — and why its successor House of Flying Daggers didn't fare so well.

Zhang Yi-mou directed three well-received motion pictures — Red Sorghum (1987), Ju Dou (1990) and Raise the Red Lantern (1991) — and even though the latter two were Cannes Film Festival award nominees, the Chinese film auteur didn’t attract mainstream attention in the West until he tried his hand at the martial arts. Specifically, it wasn't until 2002 when he made Hero, which stars Jet Li and Donnie Yen. The irony about Zhang's ascendancy into the worldwide wu xia film craze is that he never saw a Bruce Lee movie until 1979. And as of 2004, he’d watched only 15 martial arts films, one of them being his second wu xia film House of Flying Daggers (2004). "It's not that I don't like the films," Zhang said when I interviewed him in 2004. "But growing up during the Cultural Revolution, we never saw these films, and it wasn't until film school that I learned about Bruce Lee movies and watched wu xia films." Rather than making a film adaptation of a work from Chinese literature, Zhang spent three years developing an original story for Hero. However, just as he was about to start shooting, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) was released. That caused Zhang to shelve the project. "I was concerned that people would always think that I was trying to emulate Lee and have Hero be China's answer to Taiwan's Crouching Tiger," Zhang said.

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