5. Lock, Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrells
Hey, you say, this does not belong on a list of foreign films. Or fight films for that matter. If you’ve seen the movie, I doubt you’ll argue that it doesn’t belong on a top ten list of some kind, it is after all a great film. Well let me defend my choice. It is indeed foreign. The movie was filmed in Britain and released in 1998. Guy Ritchie directed and introduced us to Jason Statham, who has since been involved in Snatch, The Transporter 1 and 2, Crank, and The One among others. England was apparently excited that it also included Vinnie Jones, who to my surprise, was an English footballer. So it is foreign. It also includes characters with such heavy accents, that I can’t help but imagine the vast majority of them are speaking English as a second language. A fight film though? Well, most of the fighting is gunplay, but that doesn’t exclude it. I own the film, and pick out incredibly funny dialogue every time I watch it again. The only way this may not fit my criteria is on the basis of it having a plot, its got oodles of plot.
4. District 13
A French connection for the list. This movie runs like an advertisement for parkour, and includes endless chase scenes through the Paris slums. The movie has a razor-thin plot. The year is 2010, and with very slight references to the race riots in Paris, the government has decided to put all of the French trouble makers into District 13 and enclose it with a large cement wall. Of course there are good people living in the bad parts of town, and one of these Leito (David Belle) has got a hold of a huge shipment of cocaine and attempts to get rid of it. Eventually he teams up with France’s only honourable police officer, and the two of them run, jump and pound their way through the city. I watched the movie in English (dubbed in English anyways) and later saw part of it in French with English subtitles. I HIGHLY recommend the latter. The best fight just happens to be between the two ‘good’ guys.
3. Kung Fu Hustle
Sometimes, where you watch a movie influences your reaction to it. I was on a plane from Malaysia to Singapore when I saw Kung Fu Hustle, a parody of Kung Fu movies. I absolutely loved it. I saw it with English subtitles and on a small airplane screen, but it was still extremely entertaining. The movie has crazy characters, gangs and themes but the kung fu action is awesome. From the Axe Gang to the recurring lollipop, the plot is weird, and the landlady still confuses me. Watch it and enjoy.
2. The Protector
Also known as Ong Bak 2. Tony Jaa is a famed Thai elephant caretaker. When a crazed mafia from Australia steals the elephants designed to serve the king of Thailand, Tony goes crazy. Again Jaa plays the reluctant warrior and the plot is even stupider than Ong Bak. Two scenes make this one of the sweetest foreign fight movies ever. One is a steady-cam shot in a humongous restaurant, that involves a lot of fighting, and an incredible amount of furniture breakage. The other involves Tony breaking a minimum of 34 arms and wrists. Either scene is worth the price of admission.
1. Rumble in the Bronx.
Every so often, a movie comes out that completely takes you by surprise. This was one for me. Unless you really followed foreign films or kung fu in general, you didn’t see this movie coming. Rumble marked Jackie Chan’s explosion onto the North American scene in 1996. His mastery of kung fu, amazing use of props and obvious excecutor of his own stunts made Jackie an instant hero. The audience literally cheered when a big gang of bad dudes walked up because everyone knew Jackie would have to take them all on. The characters are likable, the English is terrible, and the stunts are fantastic.