Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon dir. Ang Lee (2000) A remarkable exploration of duty, freewill and feminism by way of Chinese wuxia. Crisp, weaponed martial arts scenes make a refreshing change from Hollywood’s staple fare of fisticuffs on steroids, while air-walking special effects give a sense of mystical events playing out.
Jackie Chan’s First Strike dir. Stanley Tong (1996) A light and loosely scripted action comedy that takes Jackie Chan to Australia in pursuit of a stolen warhead. Although nothing special by and of itself, the movie is worth watching for Chan’s bedazzling and impish do-it-yourself stunt-work and martial arts sequences.
The Matrix dir. the Wachowskis (1999) This cyberpunk martial arts neo-noir SF classic swept the cinemas upon release (unlike Wild Wild West, which Will Smith inexplicably preferred when choosing between lead roles) and holds up well in retrospect, using CGI prudently to stylise action scenes beyond human normal.