martial arts movies

On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee passed away in Hong Kong. On July 20, 2020, in honor of his life and his profound effect on my life, I watched director Bao Nguyen's Be Water, an ESPN "30 for 30" film that covers his life, career and martial arts philosophy.

What separates Be Water from other Bruce Lee documentaries is the lack of narration. Instead, Nguyen provides insights via rarely seen videos and home movies; diary entries; letters to friends; and interviews with Lee's students, a former girlfriend, his daughter Shannon Lee, his brother Robert Lee and his widow Linda Lee Caldwell.

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Top Martial Arts Films of the 21st Century

For Black Belt's September 2005 issue, I wrote "Top 20 Martial Arts Films of All Time." I based my selections on each movie's impact on martial arts cinema, not necessarily on its acting or fight choreography. It wasn't an easy process then, and it wasn't any easier when the editor of Black Belt asked me to write this piece on the top films that have been released during this century. Nevertheless, I agreed. Here's my top-21 countdown.

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Streaming now on Redbox On Demand: Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne and Alec Baldwin star in the hilarious, hard-hitting comedy CHICK FIGHT. When a woman is introduced to an underground, all-female fight club in order to turn the mess of her life around, she discovers she is much more personally connected to the history of the club than she could have ever imagined. Stream CHICK FIGHT instantly on your smart TV or favorite device with the Redbox app today. Rated R.

How Shannon Lee Is Keeping Bruce Lee's Legacy Alive

When you talk martial arts, the first thing that pops into anyone's mind — anyone anywhere on the planet — is the name Bruce Lee. Action filmmakers still look to his movies for inspiration for their fight scenes. Martial arts instructors still evaluate what they teach lest their students get mired in a "classical mess."

Many of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news of his death. No doubt we all fervently hoped that the news was wrong. Even writing these words sparks memories, transporting me back to when I was 10 — watching Lee portray Kato in The Green Hornet, kicking and chopping his way through all sorts of bad guys.

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In December 1979, I found myself meeting with a film director named Ding Shan-xi. He had thick-rimmed glasses, combed-back hair and a stature that commanded respect. We were at an abandoned American military base in Taipei for my first audition for a kung fu film.

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Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
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