The Martial Arts movie world agrees that Bruce Lee is the best of the best when it comes to martial arts films. Although stars such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, JCVD, Chuck Norris, Jim Kelly, among other have become international action stars the measuring stick has and always will be Bruce Lee. As a martial arts movie fan I enjoy seeing good martial arts action and decent acting from my favorite stars. There are many stars while well-respected and well-known in their home countries or territories that most of their movies are released.
While all martial arts movie stars still will be judged by the “Bruce Lee” standard many capable men and women have graced the screen, especially of classic Kung Fu movies, that deserve to be recognized for their hard work, skill, and courage to entertain the fans of martial arts movies. The Film Fan Dojo presents: The Top Five Underrated Martial Arts stars! Enjoy!
An excellent stuntman, actor, action director and star. He completely stole the show in as Yeung Yee Tai in The Prodigal Son showing grace and brutality in his fight scenes as well as handling the comedy scenes very well. He also showed his immense talent in the Mr. Vampire series as the mystic Taoist priest. Lam Ching Ying passed away in 1997 and he will be missed by the martial arts film community and its fans.
Before he was lighting up the international screen, making Keanu Reeves look like a Samurai master, and getting acclaim for his excellent acting skills, Sanada was kicking his way into martial arts movie fans hearts. One of the Japan Action Club’s star pupils, Hiroyuki Sanada showed great acrobatic and Karate skill as well as great screen presence. His performances in Shogun’s Ninja, Roaring Fire, and Ninja in the Dragon’s Den showed that Sanada could compete with the big boys of martial arts action( he could also handle choreography fro both Japanese and Chinese action directors).
3. Sue Shiomi
Another graduate of the Japan Action Club, Etsuko (Sue) was the Dragon Princess of Japanese Martial Arts cinema of the 1970’s. Her graceful Karate performances and good looks made her a darling among martial arts movie fans. She could hold her own in fight scenes with Yasuaki Kurata, stand beside Sonny Chiba, and look good doing it! Although her career was relatively short, she made a lasting impression on martial arts movie fans as “The Sister Street Fighter!”
2. Lau Kar Wing
The younger brother of legend Lau Kar Leung is a tremendous martial arts master of Hung Gar Kung Fu. As a student of his famous Kung fu master father Lau Jaam, Kar Wing went through the torturous traditional Kung fu training just like his older brother. Kar Wing was also a former stuntman and his skill on screen was second to none. As the villain in Knockabout, Legendary Weapons of China, and Shaolin Mantis proved his versatility as a performer and martial arts master.
1. Cliff Lok
The veteran of 60 movies and Peking Opera graduate Lok had some tremendous skill as an acrobat and Kung Fu stylist. His performance in Choi Lee Fat, The Best of Shaolin Kung fu, and Kung Fu Genius showed how talented he was. In addition to being a star, he was action director of nine films. Additionally, he studied Hap Gar Kung Fu, Northern Shaolin, Karate, Wing Chun, and Lok Ha Bat Fat.