Top 20 Asian Action Movies Of All Time

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Asia has a rich and long history when it comes to the Action Genre, the Hong Kong Cinema is long renowned for delivering some of the best action movies that the world has ever see, Japan and China have also made significant contributions to the genre.

The action cinema was at its peak from the 1970s to the 1990s. The 1970s saw a resurgence in kung fu films which got mainstream attention, popularized by the Legend Bruce Lee, He was succeeded in the 1980s by Jackie Chan, who popularized the use of comedy, dangerous stunts, and modern urban settings in action films, Jet Li used his authentic wushu skills, which appealed to both eastern and western audiences.

The innovative work of directors and producers like Tsui Hark and John Woo contributed a lot to the action genre too, as they showcased their skills by capturing the hearts of many action freaks, which is why we have decided to make a list of some of the Best Asian Action Movies Of All Time.

  • IP Man

IP ManIp Man is a Martial Arts Biographical film, which focuses on the life of Ip Man, who was a Chinese martial artist, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and the teacher of Bruce Lee. The film follows the life of Ip, during the late 1930s, Foshan is a prosperous city with many martial arts schools. Ip, who practices Wing Chun, is the local master. Japan invades China, and thing go south very quickly, Ip and his family live in poverty, with Yip taking any work for food, he even reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defence to support his family,

  • 13 Assassins

13 AssassinsDirected by Takashi Miike, 13 assassins is a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 Japanese period drama film 13 Assassins, the film is loosely based on historical events and follows a group of 13 assassins who plan on killing an evil lord Matsudaira Naritsugu. Takashi Miike is one of japans best directors, and you can see why, as he cleverly puts together a simple story into something much more, the violence in the film is at times shocking, unexpected and effective. So if you’re looking for a violent film, full of great action and an entertaining plot, then 13 Assassins is a great pick.

  • Shaolin Soccer

Shaolin SoccerArguably, one of the most popular Asian films, Shaolin soccer directed by Stephen Chow, the film follows the story of a monk who reunites with his monk brothers after the death of their master to form a soccer team using martial arts to their advantage. The film is incredibly fun to watch, it’s ridiculous, goofy and most of all, extremely entertaining, Shaolin Soccer is a uniquely original film, full of amazing moments and great humour, so if you’re looking for a good laugh and great fun, then you should check out Shaolin Soccer.

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  • Train To Busan

Train To BusanWhat’s better than an action movie? An action movie about zombies, Train To Busan is a South Korean Zombie film which was released in 2016, the film tells the story of a sudden zombie outbreak, which happens in South Korea, as Sok-woo our main protagonist, is stuck inside a train with his daughter, the passengers now have to fight for their families and lives against the zombies. The film is about survival, the main character is not some superhero blasting his way through the zombies, he is just an ordinary man, willing to do anything to protect his daughter, this is what makes the film unique and special, the films shows the selfishness of humans when their lives are on the line.

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  • The Man From Nowhere

The Man From NowhereThe Man From nowhere is a South Korean Action Thriller film, which was released in 2010, The film follows the story of a mysterious man with a dark past, who goes on a bloody rampage and takes on the drug and organ trafficking ring, after his only friend, a child is kidnapped. The Man From Nowhere is a no BS, straight to the point action thriller with some amazing choreographed knife fights and chase scenes. The bond between the main characters adds a nice touch of sentiment to the film and makes the characters much more believable.

  • Battle Royale

Battle RoyaleBased on the 1999 novel by Koushun Takami, Battle Royale is an Action Thriller directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the film is set in the future, where the government captures a class of ninth-grade students and put them on a deserted island, where they are forced to kill each other, the last survivor wins and gets to go home, The film drew huge controversy during the time of its release and was even banned in several countries, Despite the controversy, Battle Royale is an excellent film, the characters are believable and the acting is top-notch. The film smartly captures the problems of the Japanese youth in a truthful yet disturbing way.

  • Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Ong-Bak: The Thai WarriorOng-Bak: The Thai Warrior is a Thai martial arts film, directed by Prachya Pinkaew, the story follows a young Muay Thai fighter ‘Ting’ from a small village, where a statue of Buddha kept in the village’s temple, and its believed that it guarantees the safety of the village, things go wrong as the statue gets stolen and now it’s up to Ting to get it back, the story is pretty standard, but what the movie shines in is in action, the one-on-one fights are choreographed amazingly and are quite intense. Overall, it’s a great action film to watch.

  • House Of Flying Daggers

House Of Flying DaggersHouse of Flying Daggers is a Wuxia film, directed by Zhang Yimou, the story takes place in the ninth century, during the reign of Tang dynasty in China, Where a secret organization called “House Of Flying Daggers” is trying to oppose the government, Two captains of the government army, Leo and Jin plot a scheme against the rebels using the blind dancer Mei (Zhang Ziyi) to reach their leaders, but their love for Mei causes a series of events to unfold. The visuals are majestic, and the battles are epic with stellar production design, and you can see the attention to detail with breathtaking outdoors shots, luxurious interiors and overwhelming costumes.

  • Hard-Boiled

Hard-BoiledDirected by the legendary John Woo, Hard Boiled is an action thriller film starring Chow Yun-fat as Inspector “Tequila” Yuen, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Alan, who is an undercover cop. The film follows the story of two officers who plan on getting revenge on the gangster mob after one of their partners is brutally murdered. What follows is an action film full of violence, guns, chase scenes and spectacular fights masterfully crafted by John Woo and the crew, Hardboiled is one of the most entertaining films that you will ever watch, with actions scenes that will blow your mind.

  • The Raid: Redemption

The Raid: RedemptionThe Raid: Redemption is an Indonesian action film written, directed and edited by Gareth Evans, The film follows the story of a group of well-armed police officers that enter a 15-story building, which is full of drug dealers and gangsters. Their objective is to find capture the drug lord who resides on the 15th floor. The action in this film is truly unique and at times surprising, the film is Raid offers great action sequences which are packed with awesome gunfights, knife fights and good ole’ fashioned fistfights, the hand to hand fights are well choreographed and are some of the most realistic action scenes in recent memory.

  • Old Boy

Old BoyBased on the Japanese Manga of the same name written by Garon Tsuchiya, Old Boy is an action thriller film, directed by Park Chan-wook. The film follows the story of Oh Dae-Sun, who is captured and prisoned for 15 years in a cell which looks like a hotel room without knowing the identity or motives of his captor when Oh Dae-Sun is finally released, he finds out that he must find out his captor in five days. The film has some of the best acting performances that you will see, the background score adds to the tension of the scenes, the film is brutally violent and has some great cinematography, also has an intriguing plot which is hard to find in action films.

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a wuxia film directed by Ang Lee. The film tells the story of Li, who is a great warrior, He decides to give his powerful, ancient sword to an old friend as a gift, but things go south quickly and the sword is stolen by a mysterious master of the martial arts. Now, it’s up to Li to uncover the thief and return the sword to its rightful owner. The film has everything that you would want in a movie, beautiful cinematography, engaging characters, great acting and interesting plot. The film is extremely captivating and is something you watch for yourself to experience the pure magic of cinema.

  • Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu HustleKung Fu Hustle is an action-comedy directed by Stephen Chow, the film is based in the 1940s China and follows the story of sing who desperately wants to join a gang called Axe, He finds his way into a slum which is ruled by some of the greatest kung-fu masters in disguise, certain things take place and Axe Gang and the slumlords engage in an explosive kung-fu battle, what follows is an entertaining, creative and fun events to watch, the film is super funny and will have you rolling on the floor constantly with its unique humour, the special effects are top-notch too, overall if you’re looking for a fun entertaining movie, then Kung Fu Hustle is a great choice.

  • Iron Monkey

Iron MonkeyIron Monkey is a martial arts film directed by and starring Chen Kuan Tai, the story is simple, Corrupt officials of a Chinese province are targeted by the members of Iron Monkey, a group that steals from the rich to provide to the poor, Kei Ying arrives newly In town and is forced to help the corrupt authorities track down Iron-Monkey. What follows is an action-packed film with unique fighting sequences, and epic rooftop chases, the main focus of the film is martial arts, and it’s visible in every action scene, the movie also has one of the best climaxes in action movies,

  • Red Cliff

Red CliffRed Cliff is a Chinese epic war film, directed by John Woo, The film is based on the events of Battle Of Red Cliffs and the end of Han Dynasty, Red Cliff was released in two parts, totalling over four hours in length, you witness some of the best war battles scenes in the history of cinema, the actors do a fantastic job of making the characters believable, John Woo shows us why he is one of the best directors in the world, as every scene is beautifully shown and is a treat to look at if you are someone who loves huge sagas and war films, then Red Cliff is something that you should watch.

  • Drunken Master

Drunken MasterThe film that put Jackie Chan on the map, and made the action-comedy genre famous, the modern action-comedy films have a lot to thank Drunken Master for the mainstream attention, directed by Yuen Woo-ping, Drunken Master tells the story of a mischievous young man named Wong Fei-Hung, sick and tired of his behaviour, Wong’s father sends him to Beggar So to be disciplined, Beggar So also happens to be the master of drunken Martial arts. The film is hilarious and fun to watch, and it’s always entertaining to see Jackie Chan land up in funny situations and the way deals with it. The film has now become a cult classic is still a treat to watch even today.

  • Hero

HeroThe hero is a Chinese Wuxia film, directed by Zhang Yimou. The film stars Jet Li as the nameless protagonist and is based on the Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC. The film has everything that a martial arts fan could ask for, the film is full of death-defying action sequences and epic historical battles which will get your blood pumping, the direction is top-notch and the film is full of beautiful shots that you can just pause your screen and look at in awe. The colour, composition, music, and movement everything is done so magically that you’re going to fall in love with the film.

  • Fist Of Legend

Fist Of LegendReleased in 1994, Fist Of Legend is a Hong Kong Martial arts film directed by Gordon Chan, it is a remake of the 1972 Fist of Fury which starred Bruce Lee, the film revolves around Chen Zhen, who returns to Shanghai only to find out that his teacher is murdered and the school harassed by the Japanese Mob. Though the story is simple, the way its told makes the film unique, the fights scenes are amazingly choreographed and a great number of martial arts and amazing techniques are showcased during the movie. The movie even manages to deal with sensitive topics such as racism, tolerance and acceptance between different groups.­­­ It’s a must-see movie for any martial arts fan.

  • Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

Bhavesh Joshi SuperheroBhavesh Joshi is an Indian Language Action film, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, the story revolves around Bhavesh Joshi, who is an Indian Superhero, who wishes to clean and reform the country of corrupt officials and politicians, theft of water takes place in the village by a local politician and it’s up to the Indian Superhero to save the day. The plot is very well written and film has some great action sequences, Harshawardan does a fantastic job of playing the superhero, the film also touches the topic of problems faced by Indians because of corrupt politicians and police. Also, the film has one of the best chase sequences you’ll ever see in a Bollywood film, if you’re looking for a change from the usual masala Bollywood films, then Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is a great film to watch.

  • The Night Comes For Us

The Night Comes For UsThe Night Comes For Us is an Indonesian action thriller film which was written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto, the films follows Ito, who is a former triad enforcer, as he betrays his former gang to save a young girl, what follows is a series of violent moments which will make you bite your nails, the action is over the top with endless fighting sequences and brutal stabbings and killings, the fight choreography is amazing and there are so many stands out moments that it’s hard to pick one particular moment. The film is outstanding in every way and sets a new standard for martial arts movies if you’re looking for a non-stop action thriller with gruesome action sequences, then you should check out The Night Comes For Us.

Also Read: Popular Indian Actors Who Have Acted In Hollywood

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