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The 10 Greatest Fight Movies of All Time

(Just one of the reasons why you should rent “The Story of Ricky” immediately.)

Long before we became obsessed with MMA, martial arts flicks satisfied our thirst for blood. We now pay tribute to the best of the best — and the kickass fight scenes and iconic stars that made these movies so essential. Click the links for video clips, and let us know how you feel in the comments section…


10. Kickboxer (1989)

Say what you will about Kickboxer, but it delivers what it promises. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Kurt Sloane, the European-accented brother to an American kickboxing champion (?) who travels to Thailand only to be paralyzed by the vicious Tong Po. It isn’t until Sloane seeks out the wisdom and awesomely unorthodox training of Xian Chow that he is ready to seek revenge in a brutal underground match that features no shortage of broken glass-encrusted fists and long, drawn-out screams.

Best Ass-Kicking: How do you prepare for the fight of your life? By getting drunk and beating up bar patrons while dancing horribly in pleated pants. How else?

Classic Quote: “I tell them you say they no good fighters… and that their mothers have sex with mules.” (Xian Chow)

9. The Legend of Drunken Master aka Drunken Master II (1994)

Widely considered to be Jackie Chan’s masterwork, The Legend of Drunken Master centers on a good-natured devotee of “drunken boxing,” who — like Popeye with his spinach — becomes an unstoppable force whenever he gets some booze in him. It’s a perfect representation of Chan’s trademark mix of slapstick comedy, white-knuckle stunts, and machine gun-paced kung fu, and the climactic eight-minute sequence is possibly the most astounding piece of fight choreography committed to film. If the whole movie was like that, Drunken Master would be much higher on our list. Unfortunately there’s a lot of filler about ginseng roots and Western imperialism that you have to wade through to get to the good stuff.

Best ass-kicking: The aforementioned final fight between Wong Fei-hung (Chan) and the movie’s two villains, which features fire-breathing, an attempted chin-in-eye submission, and some truly diabolical feats of agility.

Classic quote: “What does it mean when there’s a picture of a skull?” “Good Stuff!” (Mrs. Wong and Wong Fei-hung)

8. The Protector (2005)

These days, Tony Jaa is the only action star worth watching. His films are marked by a high-impact ultra-realism, due to the fact that he’s genuinely kicking the shit out of his unfortunate co-stars. (Like Jackie Chan, Jaa also foregoes the use of wires and body-doubles.) In The Protector, he plays Kham, a man trained in Muay Thai as a guard/caretaker of his family’s sacred elephants. When his father is murdered and their prize elephant is stolen by a smuggling ring, Kham is sent into a kill-crazy rampage for justice. From his vicious arm-breaking spree near the end of the movie to his face-off against a pack of roided-out man-freaks, it’s a thrilling showcase of Jaa’s awe-inspiring abilities.

Best ass-kicking: The monumental tracking shot as Kham makes his way to the hideout of the smugglers. Four minutes of uninterrupted destruction, with no camera cuts — an absolute must-see.

Classic quote: “He came from Thailand; a stranger who lived by a code of honor that we have all but forgotten. His were the old ways, and there were those who mocked him for it. But his was the right path. The just path. And for me, he will always be a hero.” (Mark)

7. The Karate Kid (1984)

It’s hokey and it’s dated, but it’s still the classic that had kids in the eighties signing up for karate lessons and wearing flimsy gi’s as pajamas. I mean, at least I heard some kids did that, the losers. Daniel LaRussa is everyone’s favorite underdog as he stands up to the bullies at the Cobra Kai with Mr. Miagi’s help and romances Elizabeth Shue en route to winning a karate tournament and being declared “all right” by the formidable Johnny Lawrence.

Best Ass-Kicking: Mr. Miagi is Daniel’s savior as he drops in ninja-style to dismantle the skeleton crew from the Cobra Kai dojo.

Classic Quote: “Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?” “No, sensei!” (John Kreese and Cobra Kai)

6. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

It might just be the most batshit crazy cult classic of all time — and it’s definitely the grossest. Riki-Oh tells the tale of a young man born with superhuman strength, who is sent to prison after avenging his girlfriend’s sort-of-accidental death. Since it’s the year 2001 (!), all prisons are privately-owned, and this one is run by a corrupt warden and his henchmen in the Gang of Four. Ricky quickly lands on their shitlist, and spends most of the movie fighting for his life. Along the way, heads are crushed, eyeballs are punctured, and Ricky is nearly strangled with an attacker’s intestines. Trust us, it’s absolutely hilarious.

Best ass-kicking: Ricky punches holes through two men in the shower room; an honorable mention goes to his unforgettable demolition of Tarzan (clips from both scenes can be seen here, at the 0:51-1:34 and 2:13-2:37 marks).

Classic quote: “You got a lotta guts, Oscar!” (Assistant Warden)

Hit the “next page” link to see which flicks made our top 5!

next page >

Cagepotato Comments

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CheckHisPee- June 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm
Almost forgot, 'Kill Bill' out 'Fearless' in. Would push for 'They Live' but it's not really a "fight movie", does have one of the best fight scenes though and maybe THE best quote to wit "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum." CLASSIC
CheckHisPee- June 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Fight Club out, Rocky in, 'nuff said.
woww- October 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm
Undisputed 3 redemption should be on this list..
k-onda- July 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Seriously half-assed this list.
I'm not gonna go into it - but why do you hate Seagall so much?
Drunken Master's my number one, and I can't see putting Fight Club on here.
DangadaDang- July 21, 2011 at 11:17 am
Oh yeah, and I would personally put Game of Death and Kung Fu Hustle on this bitch.
pussynotafighta- July 21, 2011 at 11:08 am
IRON MONKEy would be on my list , also REDBELT
DangadaDang- July 21, 2011 at 11:01 am
I must say I am incredibly impressed that I counted at least two nods for "Hard Times". Nice job comment section.
KeithHackneyWindmillPalmStrike- July 21, 2011 at 8:44 am
Over the Top??
KeithHackneyWindmillPalmStrike- July 21, 2011 at 8:42 am
KeithHackneyWindmillPalmStrike- July 21, 2011 at 8:41 am
Dante- July 21, 2011 at 8:13 am
Shootfighter 1
paketresor- February 16, 2011 at 2:52 am
keep up the nice work on the site. I kinda like it! :) Could use some more frequent updates, but i'm sure you got more or better things to do , hehe. :)
bali reseguide- February 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm
i have visited this blog a few times now and i have to tell you that i find it quite good actually. keep the nice work up! ;)
Resa- February 12, 2011 at 9:04 am
really appreciated the article that you published actually. it really is not that easy to discover great text to read (you know.. READ! and not just browsing through it like some uniterested and flesh eating zombie before moving on), so cheers man for not wasting my time on the god forsaken internet. :)
Wes- April 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm
where the fuck is fist of fury man come on kill bill? that BS fist of fury is bruce lees greatest film the fight sequences are the greatest ever conceived by man.
Westaboy- April 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm
WOW you should put Streetfighter with Van Dam too (1994) and i prepose the animation as well
Exzactly- March 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Wow and no one put American Ninja up there? What kind of list is this. No Last Dragon? Shame on you people. Where is the Perfect Weapon on this list. This is a sad day for cage potato.
Anonymous- February 27, 2009 at 11:22 am
what about kungfu panda
it just rocks man
the panda kicks ass
mitch- February 25, 2009 at 3:35 pm
also rogue assasin is awesome
mitch- February 25, 2009 at 3:34 pm
jet li's fearless????
this movie is awesome
get some jet in there
Never Back Down- February 25, 2009 at 1:55 pm
OMFG Never Back Down it`s N1 i heve see the movie alot of times and it`s a n1 movie Get it on the list.
roger- February 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm
Charles Bronson in "Hard Times" is my favorite. When he was younger he was really something and this movie depicts him as a very active fighter in the underground street fighting for money racket in the deep south during the hungry 30s. Awesome movie.
Anonymous- February 21, 2009 at 9:15 am
are yu kidding, maybe they will make the top 10 worst movies made
FIGHTER IN THE WIND- February 20, 2009 at 8:25 pm
everyone on this thread needs to watch FIGHTER IN THE WIND!!!
Fighter- January 28, 2009 at 10:17 pm
Wait, wheres the Bourne Trilogy, it's gotta be at least in the top 5.