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Top of the chops: The Screening Rooms top 10 kung fu films

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Whether it's a traditional tale of ancient Chinese fighting mystics, or a slickly made, modern bloodfest, kung fu has always been a ri

Whether it's a traditional tale of ancient Chinese fighting mystics, or a slickly made, modern bloodfest, kung fu has always been a rich part of cinema.

We've compiled a list of 10 of the best. Don't agree? Think we've missed one? Share your views by using the Sound Off box below and we'll publish the best.

1. Enter the Dragon
(Robert Clouse, 1973)

Bruce Lee's last movie before his untimely death, this is him at his very best. A man on a revenge mission, Lee travels to a mysterious island to fight in a deadly tournament hosted by an evil billionaire. Along with being technically amazing -- the nunchucks scene is jaw-dropping -- it's the most stylish and iconic martial arts film ever made.

2. Ong-bak
(Prachya Pinkaew, 2003)

Tony Jaa is a modern master. He has appeared in very few major releases, but has already made a huge impact. "Ong-bak" is the perfect showcase for his extraordinary skills: whether he's fighting a roomful of people or taking part in the most exciting chase we have ever seen -- jumping through rings of barbed wire and sliding under moving cars while doing the splits -- he makes this film every bit the martial arts spectacle.

3. Wong Fei Hung (Once Upon a Time in China)
(Hark Tsui, 1991)

Part Chinese history, part gripping kung fu movie, this eastern epic has Jet Li demonstrating his talents as the eponymous hero who stands up to invading foreign forces in 19th century China. Armed with a limitless arsenal of martial arts moves, Li takes on masses of gun-toting, badly acting opponents. A visual delight and Jet Li's best work.

4. Kill Bill 1 & 2
(Quentin Tarantino, 2003/2004)

Quentin Tarantino is a movie geek -- specifically, a B-movie geek -- and kung fu has long held a place in his heart. "Kill Bill," his tribute to the genre, ticks every box: revenge; a powerful, all-knowing nemesis; stylish fights, costumes and music; and blood, lots and lots of blood.

5. Wo hu cang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
(Ang Lee, 2000)

Every eye-catching detail of this touching and beautiful film works. A love story with outlaws, witches and Shaolin monks is augmented by breathtaking cinematography and some fantastic performances from Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and newcomer Ziyi Zhang. This visual feast tugs at the heart strings better than any karate chop could.

6. The Karate Kid
(John G. Avildsen, 1984)

A simple but well-executed plot sees Ralph Macchio's underdog work his way up an unconventional path to take on the mean and nasty establishment. It spawned a spate of copycat films, while thousands of children signed up to after-school karate; everyone now knows how to defend themselves by waxing on or off and that the best fighting move is obviously The Crane. Hiya!

7. Ging chaat goo si (Police Story)
(Jackie Chan, 1985)

Jackie Chan is probably China's biggest export to Hollywood, well-known for doing his own death-defying stunts. This is one of the films that got him noticed in the United States. When he fights, Chan is unstoppable: he uses every prop on the set and puts himself in enormous physical danger. Out and out fun.

8. Shogun Assassin
(Robert Houston, 1980)

Referenced several times in Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films, this forgotten classic must have set a record for the amount of blood spilt as our hero crosses the country on a revenge mission. Early on, Tomisaburo Wakayama says "they will pay with rivers of blood"; he isn't wrong. Violent and wonderful.

9. Siu lam juk kau (Shaolin Soccer)
(Stephen Chow, 2001)

Should this be in the best or worst list? It's definitely unique. Once described as "the best kung fu football film of all time," this is one of the more ridiculous films of the genre. A group of down-and-out martial arts experts form a five-a-side football team to take on a group of evil, drug-taking clones. It's as simple, and as silly as that. And it's one of our guiltiest pleasures.

10. The Matrix
(Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999)

A sci-fi spin on the genre, this modern classic has all the key elements: our hero has superhuman powers; the bad guys, led by the relentless Agent Smith, form part of a shady, all-powerful organization intent on oppressing humankind; and the fight scenes are fantastically technical. Against all the odds, it appears Keanu really does know Kung Fu. 

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