bruce lee

Photo via ete/YouTube

3 martial arts movies to watch on Netflix instead of Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’

Check out these iconic movies from the past 40 years of martial arts cinema.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 17, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 8:29 pm CDT

Ordinarily, a new Marvel Netflix series would be a cue to clear your schedule. But Iron Fist earned a stunning 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a lot less tempting than Daredevil or Luke Cage.

Even if you don’t agree with the political critiques, Iron Fist still suffers from a pretty serious problem: It’s a martial arts show with very little action. And since the Iron Fist comics were inspired by 1970s kung fu movies, decent martial arts scenes are kind of necessary.

So, just in case you decide to avoid Iron Fist this weekend, we’ve put together a shortlist of famous martial arts movies you can watch on Netflix instead.

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

If you’re at all familiar with Wu-Tang Clan, you’ve probably heard of this movie. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is one of the most iconic kung fu movies of all time, a historical epic about a young hero who learns kung fu at a Shaolin temple so he can battle against an oppressive regime.

Way of the Dragon

The 1972 action comedy Way of the Dragon is one of Bruce Lee’s greatest hits. Starring, written, and directed by the martial arts legend, it’s a gangster story set in 1970s Rome. As a bonus, Chuck Norris co-stars.

Ip Man

Starring Donnie Yen (Rogue One‘s Chirrut Imwe), this historical movie follows the life of Ip Man, the famous Wing Chun grandmaster and mentor to Bruce Lee. Acclaimed by critics, Ip Man combines the biopic genre with decades of martial arts training and expertise from its lead actor.


Share this article
*First Published: Mar 17, 2017, 6:00 am CDT