“I know kung fu.” No, I definitely don’t but maybe I will soon!

From Friday night through Saturday night (with an obvious sleep break), Matt and I got on a martial arts film kick. Dissatisfied with the dismal selection of current moves on Netflix streaming, we branched out into foreign films. They have a surprisingly good selection, although, as we found out, a bunch of them are dubbed. I have ADD so things get a bit muddled every once in a while while the words zoom on by, but come on, America, stop being so lazy. Read a little. So there were movies that didn’t make it past the first minute which was disappointing BUT we did watch a bunch of excellent films.

We started off with 13 Assassins.

OH is this a GREAT movie!! It’s about Samurai warriors (um, 13 of them) who go after the most sadistic man I’ve ever seen. SO SO SO GOOD. I recommend not even watching the trailer so that nothing is given away. Watch this film!

And then we discovered Donnie Yen. This man fights kung fu with such a calmness that he looks like he’s barely making an effort. And he takes everyone down. He has the most bad ass moves I’ve ever seen. We watched him in Ip Man and Ip Man 2 (with a brief interlude of Battle Royale which SUCKED. I know that people say that Suzanne Collins based The Hunger Games on this book and I can see that she might have gotten ideas from it, but it’s different and the kids have guns. We both regretted watching this movie, so back to Donnie Yen.)

The stories are semi-biographical about Ip Man, who among many other astonishing feats, trained Bruce Lee. But that is seriously low on the list as you’ll see when you watch the movie. (Here’s the Wiki page on Ip Man if you want to know more about him.) The first movie is definitely superior to Ip Man 2, but that’s usually the case and this one is far better than most sequels I’ve seen. I could watch that man fight every single day.

We moved onto Jet Li’s Fearless. We were trying to stay away from mainstream actors, but the rest of the Donnie Yen movies were either dubbed or modern and we wanted history, not machine guns. This was another great movie, exploring an overly egotistical Wushu fighter who reforms his life. That’s not really what you’ll see in the trailer, but it’s definitely the theme of the movie.

Breathtaking fight scenes. Great film.

After reading all sorts of “best of” martial arts movies lists, On-Bak: The Thai Warrior kept showing up, so we decided to give kickboxing a try. Although the star is an impressive fighter and can jump over/through/under things like no one I’ve ever seen, we turned the movie off halfway through. It just wasn’t doing it for us. By this time, it was almost 10pm. This is a normal hour for most people to be up, but Matt gets up super early and I could pretty much sleep all the time, so we’re usually passed out by 9pm. Discouraged at ending our spectacular day of fight movie epics on this note, we decided to watch one more. We settled on Shaolin. And boy, were we happy that we did.

Shaolin monks are AWESOME. This movie is filled with epic fight scenes, redemption, betrayal. It has it all. And wow, can those monks fights. Such a good choice.

Our two favorites were definitely 13 Assassins and Ip Man, but we enjoyed watching all of these movies (ignoring the fact that we watched Battle Royale and half of Ong-Bak). So, if you’re looking for a Saturday filled with martial arts, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

Obviously, I ran around the house at midnight expelling all sorts of energy acting as though I knew the first thing about kung fu. And Matt made me promise not to perform any death blows on him in my sleep. Somehow, I made it through the night.

Also? I so want to sign up at a local dojo and actually learn real things about kung fu and not just look like an idiot flailing around my living room. So, that might happen!

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