5 great martial arts films you may not have heard of

Harry Kettle Harry Kettle

The origin of MMA fandom may stem from the rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship for many, but as well as that, a multitude of fans around the world started off by watching some of the great martial arts films of years gone by. Some are well known and have featured some of the biggest stars in the business, whereas others are slightly more ‘indie’ given the base definition of the term.

We can already hear the complaints coming from a mile away regarding just how ‘known’ or ‘unknown’ these films may be, but when push comes to shove, the wider spectrum of viewers out there need to sample these films regardless of whether or not they’ve heard about them in passing.

It’s a great time to be a fan of the sport of MMA, but sometimes, we need to go back to our roots.

13 Assassins

Elaborate stories are great, simple stories are great, and everything in between is great – as long as the execution works. For us, 13 Assassins is a tale that doesn’t need all too much explaining, and yet it’s still incredibly fun to watch. You’ve got a series of assassins working together in unison for what is essentially a suicide mission to kill the evil Lord Naritsugu. Oh, and it’s loosely based on true events.

Kid with the Golden Arm

Kid with the Golden Arm isn’t even considered to be an outstanding film by many, but in our eyes, it’s just non-stop kung fu fun. Given that it was first released back in 1979 the action sequences are actually quite impressive, and we just love the big and bright colours and overall vibe that the film gives off. It’s one of those forgotten classics that fans will always go back and watch if they get the chance.


Underdog stories make the world go around, especially in combat sports, and that’s what you’ve got with Chocolate. It’s the story of an autistic girl that wants to try and gain a measure of revenge against those who have wronged her family, and it’s just generally a really important film. The fight scenes tend to exceed all expectations, and you’ve got a hero that you can really get behind from the word go.

The Raid 2

Violence, violence, violence. Not only does The Raid 2 more than live up to the hype of the first film, but the final section of the film serves as the pinnacle of action scenes on the big screen. It’s absolutely stunning to watch and we can guarantee you won’t be able to keep your eyes off of it. In truth, words can never do it justice. Just watch.

House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers is a little bit different in every sense of the word, as you can tell by the above clip. It mixes in a degree of outright romance and passion that serves as a nice release from the physical nature of some other entries, and sometimes you need that. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly an enjoyable watch.