Where does a kung fu fan go to find kung fu movie reviews? Hint: it’s not Rotten Tomatoes.
If I’m looking for a review of a kung fu flick, I only want to go to sites that specialize in the genre. The reason being is that martial arts fans have distinctive tastes and requirements, as well as generous allowances on trivial things such as “plot” or “character development.” You will not find RottenTomatoes, IMDB or their ilk on this list.
Often Hong Kong movies don’t travel over to the West very well. Lower budgets can ruin the impact of a movie for some people. The stories can be really bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad kung fu movie. I’d also argue most mainstream viewers don’t appreciate intricate fight choreography or how dangerous the stunts really are. Also, sometimes cultural and thematic differences of Hong Kong movies vs. American movies can distract. A lot of these themes I address in my Kung Fu Movie Starter Kit Pt. 1 and Pt. 2
I’m sure fans of horror, westerns, musicals etc. go through the same thing. Fortunately, there are sites that fully appreciate good kung fu movies and tell the difference between a classic or a disappointment.
Here are some of my more frequent stops online:
A hearty catalog of new and old martial arts films, often featuring multiple reviews to offer a wider spectrum of perspective. Focusing heavily on HK martial arts movies, their tastes align with the aforementioned fans. They also feature upcoming news of DVD and film releases.
I love the incredibly concise and to-the-point reviews of new and old movies. Just give me the meat!
This dedicated name-changing reviewer posts frequent video reviews for virtually ALL Hong Kong cinema, not just martial arts. However, his tastes and sensibilities often line up with a kung fu aficionado, and I find myself most often agreeing with his choices.
Another site that focuses on ALL Asian cinema, however they do often have good reviews and lists for the kung fu fan. They also are a great resource for new movie releases.
UK site dedicated to all Asian film, though their martial arts reviews are always helpful.
As you might infer from their URL, they love HK cinema. While they do cover all of HK cinema, their martial arts reviews are typically on point with the kung fu fan in mind. They are going on hiatus, and it sounds like there won’t be many (if any) updates in the future. However, their back catalog is still flush with helpful reviews.
Not a review site, but more a wiki of kung fu. Definitely a helpful tool I use regularly if I want to know who was in what. I like that there’s a ton of thumb images of all the actors. This site hasn’t been updated since 2014, but still useful.
I’m not including this site on this list yet. Though I have started to write and compile reviews, it’s not something I will be able to dedicate a lot of time to. Plus, I’m not really a writer! However, I do put them out there to help fans out there, especially if I can include rarer, harder to find reviews.
Hopefully these sites will help you on your way. Did I miss any you recommend? Let me know!
You can check out my reviews here.