Uma Thurman is The Bride in Quentin Tarantino's 'Kill Bill.'

Last chance: ‘Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2’ on HBO Max

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), Quentin Tarantino’s fourth film (as he insists in the credits) returns to his old passions with a new weapon in his arsenal: a visual eye. Tarantino created the role “The Bride” for Uma Thurman, who plays the lead with fierce intensity. A professional assassin left for dead, she wakes up […]

Tony Jaa, stars in the Thailand martial arts sensation directed by Prachya Pinkaew

Last chance: Tony Jaa is ‘Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior’ on Hulu

Tony Jaa, the stocky Thai stuntman turned action hero in Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Thailand, 2003), harkens back to an earlier kind of screen martial artist. Jaa has an impressive physique, a steel snap to his delivery, and a gymnastic prowess to his style, and director Prachya Pinkaew puts it all on display in an […]

Last chance: ‘Enter the Dragon’ – Bruce Lee is supreme on Netflix

Enter the Dragon (1973) – After years of supporting roles in Hollywood, American citizen Bruce Lee became a star in Hong Kong with a handful of hard-edged martial arts thrillers. He returned to conquer his adopted homeland with this American/Hong Kong co-production, a glorified B-movie mix of kung-fu fighting (choreographed by Lee himself) and James […]

Shu Qi in Hou Hsiou-Hsien's rapturous wuxia 'The Assassin'

Hou Hsiou-Hsien’s ‘The Assassin’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

The Assassin (China, 2015) is a martial arts drama as cinematic poem. Chinese filmmaker Hou Hsiou-Hsien won the Best Director Award at Cannes for his direction, which reimagines the genre from a spectacle of action and choreography and acrobatic skill to a vision of stillness and tension. The first film from Hou in eight years, […]

Jackie Chan in 'The Forbidden Kingdom,' which co-stars Jet Li.

‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ – Family-friendly martial arts fantasy on Amazon Prime

Jackie Chan and Jet Li team up for the first and only time in a feature film in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), an American take on the classic Chinese folktale “The Monkey King.” Yes, Jackie Chan (who was 53 at the time) was no longer the youthful stunt daredevil and acrobatic dynamo and the 45-year-old […]

Jackie Chan goes west in ‘Shanghai Noon’ on Amazon Prime

Jackie Chan became an international action star without the help of Hollywood when he brought blockbuster movie values to his brand of martial arts action and comedy in a series of Hong Kong hit action spectacles in the 1980s and 1990s. By the time Hollywood made a second attempt to launch him in American movies, […]

Hugh Jackman is ‘The Wolverine’ on Disney+

The Wolverine (2013) is both a sequel and a reboot of the solo spin-off from the X-Men movies. Hugh Jackman is back with the abs and the adamantium claws as Logan, the ferocious fan favorite of the team, and the screenwriters draw from the ninja storylines of earlier Wolverine comic books: the dark, brooding loner […]

‘Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster’ on Netflix

Our story so far: the title character (played by Hong Kong martial arts maestro Donnie Yen) is the real-life martial Chinese arts teacher and proponent of Wing Chun style who was a hero during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria but is more famous to the western world for mentoring the young Bruce Lee. Which is […]