By Karen DeGroot Carter • January 11, 2021
Since its launch in 2018, the Cobra Kai streaming television series has spurred a renewal of interest in the original Karate Kid movies, 1984's The Karate Kid, which was followed over the next decade by The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, and The Next Karate Kid. Now in its third season, Cobra Kai is already set to return with a fourth season. Fans can't get enough of the compelling story of two childhood competitors who continue to face off as adults with very different motivations and goals this time around. If you've watched all the Karate Kid movies and are already caught up on the latest Cobra Kai episodes, consider indulging in some other martial arts series and films.
This action-fueled martial-arts series, which ran for three seasons starting in late 2015, tells the tale of a young boy and his warrior-teacher who struggle to survive in a dangerous land during feudal times. The art of fighting is on display in every episode as barons and others with sinister intentions make the pair's way as treacherous as it is enlightening.
The first in a celebrated series of biographical films about Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, who taught numerous martial arts masters, including Bruce Lee, this film depicts how the cultural phenomenon that was Ip Man became a hero to his countrymen at a time of extreme hardship. Ip Man 2, Ip Man 3, and Ip Man 4: The Finale complete the series.
This highly rated, fast-paced spin-off from the Ip Man series depicts a would-be master defeated by the legendary grandmaster who seeks a simpler life for himself and his son, only to be drawn into battle once again.
Though often overlooked for their role in the development of the martial arts, women are celebrated as the strong warriors they are in this widely acclaimed, award-winning film released throughout Asia and in the U.S. in 2000. Set in China during the Qing dynasty, it employs innovative cinematography and impressive costume and set design to present an intriguing, compelling story originally told in a popular Chinese novel.
If you've got a young Karate Kid or Cobra Kai fan (ore more than one!) in your house, the following kid-friendly options make for great martial arts-themed family move nights!
This 2010 update of the original concept behind The Karate Kid stars rapper and actor Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith, and well-known martial artist and actor Jackie Chan, who won a People's Choice Award for favorite action star for his performance. It tells the story of a boy whose family suddenly moves from the U.S. to China and the challenging situations he suddenly faces. At school, he makes an unusual friend who teaches him not only about kung fu, but how to defend himself and learn about himself through the martial art as he practices it.
This 1998 animated feature film tells the ancient story of a girl who is determined to help defend her family and country from a pending invasion. Set in China during the Han dynasty, it celebrates girl/woman power in much the same way as other Disney animated films such as Beauty and the Beast and The Incredibles.
The original Kung Fu Panda film is not only hard to resist but so funny that it stands up after multiple viewings. Luckily, Kung Fu Panda fans have two sequels to enjoy as well, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3. Emmy-awarding-winning television series have also followed, along with multiple short films, many of which can be found here!
About the Author: Karen DeGroot Carter of Denver is the author of the novel ONE SISTER'S SONG. Her short fiction has been recognized in national competitions, and she's had fiction, poetry, and articles published in various print and online outlets. Visit http://karendegrootcarter.com for more.