The 12 Highest Rated Kung Fu Movies On Netflix

If you’re in the mood for an action flick, but would rather go for something a little quieter, a little more graceful than Schwarzenegger-fueled explosions, a solid martial arts movie is a sure bet. And man, does Netflix have a lot of them. Granted, you’re going to have to read a lot of subtitles or put up with bad dubbing, but nobody watches a Bruce Lee movie for the riveting dialogue.

When it comes to Kung Fu movies, fans of the genre can be incredibly opinionated on what is and isn’t a good martial arts flick. Personally, I’m more of a Bloodsport and American Ninja guy — probably because they were on TV every weekend in the early 90s — but I realize these are not considered “good” martial arts movies. Luckily, for those that want a well-choreographed Hong Kong classic, Netflix has some of Bruce Lee and Jet Li’s best work available for streaming. There’s also some pretty good low-budget stuff that’s made the cut as well. So without wasting any more time, here are the 12 highest rated Kung Fu movies on Netflix, as rated by you the user.

Ip Man 4.3 stars out of 2,799,289 ratings

Based on the life of Bruce Lee’s master, Yip Man, the movie won over Hong Kong film critics and audiences with its story of the Wing Chun master’s life during the second Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s. The film has some of the best martial arts movie action of the last decade, but also delivers an engaging narrative of Japan’s occupation of Hong Kong at the time. The martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung helped the movie garner 12 Hong Kong film awards including “Best Picture” and “Best Action Choreography.” Rotten Tomatoes 93, IMDB 8.1

Ip Man 2 4.3 stars out of 1,976,334 ratings

Confident that Ip Man would find success, producer Raymond Wong and director Wilson Yip announced their plans for a sequel before Ip Man had even been released in Chinese theaters. As far as sequels go, Ip Man 2 does its predecessor justice with actor Donnie Yen reprising the lead role that sees the martial arts master navigating through Hong Kong which has come under British rule following WWII. The movie has an incredible fight scene with Ip squaring off in the ring against one of Britain’s top boxers, and briefly touches on a young Bruce Lee’s introduction to the Wing Chun master. Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.6

Blood and Bone 4.1 stars out of 743,742 ratings

2009 was a good year for martial arts action star Michael Jai White. He gave us the incredibly funny blaxploitation spoof, Black Dynamite, then followed it up with the knuckle-busting Blood and Bone. The premise has been featured in too many movies to count — an ex-con has to honor a promise to a dead friend, ass kicking ensues — but it’s one of the better low-budget martial arts films out there, and the camera work in the fight scenes is done well enough to make up for a clichéd plot. Rotten Tomatoes 72, IMDB 6.7

The Legend is Born: Ip Man 4.1 stars out of 472,381 ratings

This is the third film in the Ip franchise, though technically it’s a stand alone as the movie has no connection to the previous films’ director or lead actor. Still, even with Dennis To taking over for Donnie Yen as Ip, Legend has managed to win over Ip Man’s audience, somewhat. The film works as a prequel to the first two films, with some of the actors returning, but in different roles which is a bit confusing. The action is still there, but the story of Ip falling in love doesn’t have a chance to fully develop mostly due to the substandard acting. Rotten Tomatoes 60, IMDB 7.1

Way of the Dragon 4.1 stars out of 300,807 ratings

This is the movie that brought Hong Kong’s martial arts superstar Bruce Lee and rising American action star Chuck Norris together. It’s also Lee’s sole directorial effort. The plot follows Bruce Lee traveling to Italy to help out a friend whose restaurant is being targeted by the local mafia. The mafia has its own secret weapon though — yep, Chuck Norris — pre-Stetson hat, of course. The movie’s score is reminiscent of Sergio Leon’s spaghetti westerns and has some incredible fight scenes, one in particular with Lee pulling a brutal move and ripping out Chuck Norris’ chest hair. Rotten Tomatoes 87, IMDB 7.3

Red Cliff 4 stars out of 559,186 ratings

John Woo’s Red Cliff follows the battles at the end of China’s Han Dynasty known as the Red Cliff Battles. You’ll want to set aside a day to watch it as the movie is incredibly long, clocking in at over four hours. The movie has some spectacular action scenes — as it should with a budget of $80 million. The film took some criticism for trading in historical accuracy for blockbuster theatrics, but at 288 minutes in length, personally, I want entertainment over spot-on history. Rotten Tomatoes 78, IMDB 7.4

Shaolin 4 stars out of 540,213 ratings

Director Benny Chan’s 2011 film follows 1930s warlord Hou Jie’s quest for redemption after defeating his rival and returning to a Shaolin monastery. The movie goes above the standard flying fists of many kung fu flicks, focusing just as much on Hou Jie’s struggle for rebirth and showcasing the movie’s scenic filming locations as it does high kicking action. That said, there is still plenty of large-scale combat going down. Rotten Tomatoes 78, IMDB 6.9

The Big Boss 4 stars out of 343,246 ratings

Big Boss was Bruce Lee’s first major Hong Kong action film and sees him playing the role of a peaceful young man who just wants to find out what happened to his missing cousins. As you can probably guess, Lee doesn’t keep the peace for long and soon embarks on a quest that will lead him to a ruthless Thai gangster. The movie’s plot might get pushed to the wayside, but that’s a minor complaint as the real purpose of the film is to showoff Lee’s fighting prowess and showoff he does. Rotten Tomatoes 74, IMDB 7.1

The Chinese Connection 4 stars out of 384,358 ratings

Lee followed up The Big Boss with 1972’s The Chinese Connection aka Fists of Fury. The story is somewhat similar to his previous film, only instead of avenging his cousins’ deaths he’s after the criminal that killed his master while battling foreign Japanese forces. The filmmakers’ anti-Japanese sentiment pours through by portraying the Japanese soldiers in the most stereotypical way possible with pencil-thin mustaches and slick backed hair to match their evil demeanor. The movie manages to showcase Lee as a more confident actor than in Big Boss and still matches it equally with fast-paced fight scenes. Rotten Tomatoes 85, IMDB 7.4

Fearless 3.9 stars out of 2,095,545 ratings

Arguably one of Jet Li’s strongest and best choreographed films, Fearless is based on the life of Huo Yuanjia who helped to restore China’s national pride when its culture was in jeopardy from Western and Japanese influence by staging publicized fights against foreign opponents. The movie is able to pull off an appealing biopic story without losing any of the action, helping it to become one of Hong Kong’s most successful movies of the last decade. Rotten Tomatoes 86, IMDB 7.7

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior 3.9 stars out of 1,241,462 ratings (spin kick while on fire)

I think the above GIF really tells you more about what you can expect than any sort of summary, but if you must know… The movie about a warrior journeying to a city’s underworld to retrieve a stolen statue helped introduce Tony Jaa as a new action star as well as bring muy Thai to international movie audiences. That fire kick didn’t come easy for Jaa, as several takes had to be filmed which resulted in his eyebrows and eyelashes being burned off. Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.2

Ip Man: The Final Fight 3.9 stars out of 405,055 ratings

Most movie franchises have over-stayed their welcome by the time the fourth film rolls around and Ip Man: The Final Fight is no exception. This film sees a new actor portraying the Wing Chun master in his later life, teaching students before getting into trouble with a Hong Kong mob boss. The general consensus among critics and fans of the previous Ip Man films is that Final Fight isn’t a bad martial arts movie by any means, it just can’t compete with its predecessors. If you’ve seen and enjoyed the other three though, what’s to stop you from giving senior citizen Ip man a shot? Rotten Tomatoes 55, IMDB 5.9