What’s All the Hi-Ya? Martial-Arts Fun at Redbox!

by | Apr 29th, 2011 | 2:25PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movie Lists, Movies

We got a whole lotta kickin’ going on at redbox these days. Here’s your handy guide to all the martial-arts action available for rental!

(Note: If you’re not into subtitles, all of these films except the Shaw Brothers classics have English-language dub tracks available on the DVDs.)

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster

Where the heck are we? British-controlled Hong Kong in the 1950s

Who’s doin’ all the kickin’? Hong Kong stars Donnie Yen as legendary real-life kung-fun instructor Ip Man and Sammo Hung as one of his rivals. (The famed actor Hung also choreographed the fight scenes.)

What kind of kickin’ is it? The many terrific fight scenes mostly display Wing Chun fighting, the style of Chinese martial arts taught and promoted by Man

Why for? Man’s attempts to start up a Wing Chun school are threatened by local rival gangs and later a brutal, villainous American fighter called Twister.

What kind of movie is it? A sequel to 2008′s successful Ip Man, part 2 is very Rocky 4, right down to the final “we can be friends” speech to a fight crowd. The Ip Man movies feature dazzling and impressive fight scenes, but are also grounded by a more reality-based stories, good acting, and Yen’s solid, likable presence.

Best part? A martial arts fight test involving a room full of overturned chairs is especially great. (Also there’s a cameo at the very end from the boy who would become Man’s most famous student.)

Ong Bak 3

Where the heck are we? 15th-century Thailand, as seen through star and co-director Tony Jaa’s fevered imagination

Who’s doin’ all the kickin’? Tony Jaa! Star of Ong Bak 1 & 2 and one of the most exciting (and nutso) martial-arts movie performers out there, and–for a brief time in 2010–a Thai monk.

What kind of kickin’ is it? Muay Thai, also known as the Art of Eight Limbs–when you watch Jaa in action you’ll understand why.

Why for? Oh gosh, I’m not really sure–as in the awesome Ong Bak 2, Jaa is once again Tien, a sort of fightin’ Chosen One who–after recovering from his Ong Bak 2 wounds–is back to defending the honor of elephants everywhere and fightin’ some evil royal bad guy ruler cause he did something. I think. I don’t watch or love the Ong Bak movies for their plots.

What kind of movie is it? While completely, beautifully over the top in the fight scenes, Jaa’s films always have a gritty, muddy naturalism to all the whack-smack. You’re never quite sure why things are happening, but they’re always fantastic to watch.

Best part? Much to my chagrin, Jaa does not bitch-slap an elephant to its knees in this one, but you’ll be happy to know he does have a wild finale rematch with his fierce enemy the Crow Ghost (Dan Chupong)!

Muay Thai Fighter (Chaiya)

Where the heck are we? Thailand’s Chaiya District and Bangkok, present day

Who’s doin’ all the kickin’? Three childhood friends whose lives take them in different directions

What kind of kickin’ is it? Mostly bare-knuckle kick-boxing matches with a Muay Thai or Chaiya style flavor.

Why for? In the big city of Bangkok some of the friends get caught up in fighting fixed matches for local crime lords.

What kind of movie is it? Think Slumdog Millionaire Thai-style, only with more people getting kicked in the face. Plus big romantic subplots full of heavy sighs and Asian pop ballads.

Best part? One of the guys flirts with a nurse at a hospital by asking, “Miss, would you like to open my chest and examine my heart?” (I wrote that one down to use myself sometime.)

The Storm Warriors

Where the heck are we? Medieval fantasy China

Who’s doin’ all the kickin’? Aaron Kwok (also a dancer) and Ekin Cheng (also a singer) as the warriors Cloud and Wind.

What kind of kickin’ is it? Not as much hand-to-hand (or foot-to-face)–we’re talking epic sorcery battles, energy bolts, magic chains, that sort of thing.

Why for? The evil Japanese warlord Lord Godless has invaded China.

What kind of movie is it? Big special-effects fantasy action! Most everything was shot on bluescreen, so the real stars of the show are the phantasmagoric landscapes boldly painted in a 300 style.

Best part? “Let me use my molten fist!” hollers a bad guy as some really spectacular elemental battles unfold. Stuff gets seriously busted up.

Legendary Assassin

Where the heck are we? Modern-day Hong Kong

Who’s doin’ all the kickin’? Co-director Wu Jing, aka Jacky Wu, as “Bruce” a mysterious (and legendary) crime-world assassin

What kind of kickin’ is it? A harder-edged Jackie-Chan style martial arts, thanks to Chan protégé Nicky Li, the fight choreographer who also co-directed.

Why for? Walking around with his latest target’s head in a bowling-ball bag, loner Bruce falls for a cute police officer (singer-model Celina Jade).

What kind of movie is it? Archly melodramatic, with lots of John-Woo-style angst over conflicting loyalties and moral codes.

Best part? There’s a fine one-man-versus-an-army climactic battle in the rain, but did I mention Bruce walks around with a guy’s noggin in a bowling bag?! That leads one character to declare, “I want you to return my husbands head.”

Shaw Brothers Bonus!

You can also still rent three highly recommended classic kung-fu movies from the famous Shaw Brothers Studios:

Read more about the movies and the Shaw Brothers here.


5 Responses to “What’s All the Hi-Ya? Martial-Arts Fun at Redbox!”

  1. vruggio
    Posted on May 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    You must see IP Man (Part One of what appears to be a Trilogy)
    Donnie Yen truely mesmerizes in the roll of the man who not only
    taught Bruce Lee; but defied an Empire.
    I also highly recomend “Flash Point” staring Donnie Yen!

  2. Adrian
    Posted on May 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I seen all donnie yen movies, ordered them online a couple years back. I would’ve bought them all if redbox had them back them.

  3. Adrian
    Posted on May 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I also think subtitles are awesome , either English or Chinese

  4. E.RICK
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve got a question for RED BOX; I’ve been waiting for a movie called “Legend of the Fist”…. Red Box said it would be out June 14th 2011. Unfortunately the movie did not come out; so I ask:

    Why publish that it will be out whe it was not?
    Will the movie come out?
    If so, When is the date?
    and will you really release the movie?

  5. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Hi E. Rick, yes the redbox release date of Legend of the Fist was moved back, but it will be available from redbox on July 19.