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Greatest Modern Martial Arts Characters: 5 Roles That Live on Through Big Screen

By    |   Thursday, 07 January 2016 07:10 PM

Martial Arts movies are compelling not only for their remarkably choreographed fight scenes but also for the unique and suspenseful stories they tell. Here are five of the greatest modern martial arts characters:

1. Wong Fei-Hung in “Once Upon A Time in China” (1991)
Wong Fei-Hung, played by Jet Li, is determined to save his hometown from the ravages of western imperialism, the Internet Movie Database noted. After his clinic where he practiced herbal medicine and acupuncture was destroyed, his determination increased, and he stepped forward to protect Aunt Yee, who arrived back from the United States filled with western ideas. Fei-Hung was a legendary martial arts master who lived from 1847 to 1924 and who is the subject of many movies.

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2. The Bride in “Kill Bill Volume 1” (2003)
When the movie opens, The Bride lies wounded on a church floor, the victim of Bill, the leader of a group of assassins she had belonged to and her former lover. Played by Uma Thurman, The Bride attempted to leave the group because she was pregnant with Bill’s child. When she awakes from a coma four years later, she seeks revenge on Bill and the other assassins. This is one of few movies with a female protagonist to make many lists of best martial arts films.

3. Yang Tiachun in “Iron Monkey” (1993)
“Iron Monkey” is an Eastern version of Robin Hood. Yang Taichung, played by Rongguang Yu, was a humble physician who at night transformed into Iron Monkey. During the day, Yang Taichung’s clinic was free for poor people because he charged the rich. At night, Yang stole even more money from the rich. He teamed up with Wong Kei-Fing, Wong Fei-Hung’s father to oust the corrupt governor. These events are what this movie claims started Wong Fei-hung’s passion for martial arts and justice.

4. Wong Fei-Hung in “Legend of Drunken Master” (1994)
This movie offers a completely different take on Wong Fei-Hung’s life than “Once Upon A Time in China.” Jackie Chan plays the character in “Legend of Drunken Master.” In this version, Wong may only fight well when partially intoxicated. This seeming paradox creates for a humorous movie and a lighter approach. The finale comes when Wong battles imperialist British forces that are stealing China’s artifacts.

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5. Yip Man in “Ip Man” (2008)
This film is set in 1930s Foshen, one of the birthplaces of martial arts in China. Ip man is a respected grandmaster who teaches, but does not practice, the martial arts. However, when the Japanese invade and force cruelties upon Yip’s fellow Foshan masters Yip fights back. He challenges the general of the Japanese Army to a battle. Yip Man defeats the general, giving glory back to China. He later establishes a martial arts school where many, including Bruce Lee, come to learn from him.

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Martial Arts movies are compelling not only for their remarkably choreographed fight scenes but also for the unique and suspenseful stories they tell.
Modern, martial arts, characters
Thursday, 07 January 2016 07:10 PM
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