Martial arts movies have always had a strong fanbase that includes people who are as passionate about the genre as heavy metal fans are about their music. No matter how obscure the film is, or how unknown the actors are, martial arts film fans make it a point to watch everything that belongs to their favorite genre. Action heroes like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and others have made this genre popular not only in their native countries, but also throughout the world. Films like ‘Enter The Dragon’, ‘36th Chamber Of Shaolin‘, ‘Police Story’ and others are now considered as among the most iconic martial arts flicks ever made.
The production of martial films did not slow down in any way with the aging of the aforementioned stars. Each year we witness a number of martial arts films releasing, with some of them also being blended with other genres. Nowadays, we are even seeing superhero movies extensively using martial arts as their preferred style of hand-to-hand combat. TV shows like ‘Into The Badlands‘, ‘Warrior‘, and ‘Wu Assassins‘ prove that the genre has also been able to make a successful transition to the booming television industry. If you love martial arts films and are looking for updates on the latest flicks from the genre, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s the list of upcoming martial arts movies scheduled to release in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
At the San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel announced the host of new films that they will be producing in the coming years, and among them, a special addition was ‘Shang-Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings’. Interestingly enough, when Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and other such renowned Kung-fu artists came to America to ply their trade here, Marvel thought that it would be great to capitalize on their popularity and launch a character who is an expert in Kung-fu. Thus, Shang-Chi was created. Now when the television is bringing back martial arts’ popularity in a major way, Marvel again decided this would be the right time for a film. Destin Daniel Cretton is directing this project, with actor Simu Liu being chosen to play the titular character. ‘Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings’ promises to be an amazing martial arts film which will be aided by the brilliant graphics Marvel is known for producing. February 12, 2021 has been tentatively selected as the release date for this film.
5. Kung Fury II: The Movie (TBA)
‘Kung Fury’ started off as a low-budget 30-minute short film which suddenly got huge attention online and even gained a cult following over the years. The short is created and directed by David Sandberg, who also stars as the eponymous character. In the original film, Kung Fury travels back in time to kill Adolf Hitler before he manages to commit the hideous crimes he did during WWII. The immense popularity of the film almost made a sequel inevitable, but the sequel will not be a low-budget short. It has been reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Fassbender, two megastars of Hollywood, will reportedly be joining the film’s cast. Their addition will naturally make it a multi-million dollar project. The producers have also made it clear that there shall be no link between the first and the second films whatsoever.
4. G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes (2020)
G.I. Joe is a pop culture icon now, having been around for a considerably long period of time in some form or the other. After the success of the 2013 movie from the franchise, the producers believe that this will be the right time to come out with a sequel. News from the corridors of Paramount suggests that this time the film will focus on the character of Sake Eyes. Robert Schwentke has been signed up to write and direct the project, with actor Henry Golding (‘Crazy Rich Asians‘) taking on the mantle of the lead character. However, we have to wonder how the character will be presented in the film because Snake Eyes never actually speaks. To tap in on the popularity of Golding, the makers might opt for making this movie an origin story where the actor will not have to cover his face with his mask all the time.
3. Blade (TBA)
Marvel is all set to relaunch the ‘Blade‘ character once again after the successful Wesley Snipes-led trilogy hit the screens for the first time more than two decades ago. Blade, the eponymous character, is a vampire hunter who has taken it upon himself to protect humans and kill vampires at any cost. His main weapon is the sword, and few in the world, if any, can handle the blade with as much precision and power as him. Be that as it may, Wesley Snipes is not reprising his role as the eponymous character, and instead, Marvel has decided to tap in on the wave of popularity Mahershala Ali is riding on after his two Academy Award wins.
We also should keep in mind that after the film trilogy, there was also a series released on Spike network called ‘Blade: The Series’. Here they explored the class divisions within the vampires, and also made important political commentaries within the narrative of the series. This is something MCU should follow as well. Not much information is available about the film at the moment, but with Marvel gearing up for their phase 4 movies, we might expect some interesting news to drop sooner.
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2. Black Widow (TBA)
Marvel fans have been demanding for a long time that a movie with their favorite female character, Black Widow, be made to delve deep into the character’s past. As we all know, she has been brought up within the strictly regimented world of the KGB, and has been trained by them to handle all sorts of weapons, vehicles, and she’s also a proven master at hand-to-hand combat. If the film delves into the past of the character, we shall be able to witness how Black Widow trained to become the expert combatant that she is. Though this film is not a martial arts film per se, fans will be willing to witness the martial arts influences in her fighting style. With the de-aging process of Robert Downey Jr. already yielding fine results in ‘Civil War’, it should be no big deal to do the same for Scarlett Johansson who is much younger than Downey.
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1. Mortal Kombat (2021)
One of the most popular action games of all time, ‘Mortal Kombat’ is one of the few games which uses martial arts extensively. The franchise had already released a feature-length live-action film way back in 1995, which despite receiving poor critical acclaim, went on to perform well at the box office. The film is still at the writing stage, and thus not much information regarding the central character or the storyline has been revealed by writer Greg Russo. With horror director James Wan producing the film, ‘Mortal Kimbat’ is expected to hit the theatres by 2021. Russo has, however, confirmed that he is trying to develop a film which will be able to keep fans of the franchise happy and satisfied.
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