Black Belt Magazine

21 From 21

For Black Belt’s September 2005 issue, I wrote “Top 20 Martial Arts Films of All Time.” I based my selections on each movie’s impact on martial arts cinema, not necessarily on its acting or fight choreography. It wasn’t an easy process then, and it wasn’t any easier when the editor of Black Belt asked me to write this piece on the top films that have been released during this century. Nevertheless, I agreed. Here’s my top-21 countdown.

This Bollywood hit is so outrageous and stunning that I laughed at its bravura. It’s Ten Commandments meets Ben-Hur in ancient India. The plot revolves around a queen who chooses her adopted virtuous son Baahubali as her heir over her contemptible birth son Bhalla. Subsequently, Bhalla’s venomous deceit causes Baahubali to be exiled. As Bhalla becomes a power-hungry ruler, Baahubali returns, leading a stampede of flaming bulls with horns afire to destroy a dam and wash away the army that surrounds the city. Holy cow! When Baahubali wields a half-ton chain with each arm, no soldier, statue or wall at Bhalla’s palace is immune to the chain reaction. The fights feature plenty of speed-ramping, which accentuates the emotions.

Directed by Tsui Hark and starring Jet Li, this is the best 3-D film ever made. Even though I saw it in a theater that didn’t have tiered seating, the hairdo of the person in front of my wife didn’t block her view of the subtitles — they jumped off the screen! One engaging scene in the movie had a murder of crows seemingly fly from behind, over our heads and into the screen. That had the people turning their heads to

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