10 Best Martial Arts Comedies Without Jackie Chan


  • Martial arts films are known for their action-packed fight choreography, but they also frequently incorporate comedy to entertain and amuse viewers.
  • While Jackie Chan is synonymous with martial arts comedies, there are many other actors and filmmakers who have made exceptional contributions to the genre.
  • From spoof films like “Kung Pow! Enter the Fist” to wacky kung fu adventures like “Kung Fu Hustle,” there is a wide range of martial arts comedies that offer a unique blend of humor and action.

Martial arts comedies may be the bread and butter of Jackie Chan, but he’s not the only actor who can pull off an excellent entry into the genre. There’s a long list of martial arts comedies from all corners of the world, including many without his involvement. Martial arts films are first and foremost predicated on their action, with well-orchestrated fight choreography being the crux of their entertainment factor. However, martial arts films frequently employ heavy doses of comedy, striving to make viewers laugh as much as amaze them with their fight scenes.

The actor most associated with martial arts comedies is, of course, kung fu comedy king Jackie Chan, who has built his entire career upon combining stunts and fight scenes with hilarious antics. At the same time, Jackie Chan is far from the only martial arts star or filmmaker to bring laughter into the mix of action, with countless great films doing the same. Here are the 10 best martial arts comedies without Jackie Chan.

RELATED: 10 Unbelievable Jackie Chan Movie Moments That Made Him A Martial Arts Legend

12 Kung Pow! Enter the Fist

11 Kung Pow! Enter the Fist pic

Steve Odenkirk writes, directs, and stars in the 2002 kung fu comedy spoof Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, playing the heroic Chosen One who is tasked with defeating the evil kung fu master Betty. For Kung Pow!, Odenkirk repurposed footage from the 1976 Hong Kong movie Tiger & Crane Fists, splicing the Chosen One into the footage to create a much wackier story, including the Chosen One’s Matrix-style martial arts fight with a cow. The Kung Pow! DVD even includes an alternate “What they’re really saying” track where viewers can hear Odenkirk’s hilarious lines before the movie’s dialogue was dubbed in.

10 Shaolin Soccer

A soccer game in Shaolin Soccer

Stephen Chow would break out on the international stage with his 2001 kung fu comedy Shaolin Soccer. Chow both directs and plays Shaolin kung fu master Sing, who must use his skills to lead Team Shaolin to victory in a soccer showdown with Team Evil. Shaolin Soccer takes its martial arts and soccer sequences to Dragon Ball Z levels of craziness, and blends its comedy with Sing’s heartfelt romance with tai chi expert Mui (Vicki Zhao). Famed Bruce Lee-lookalike Danny Chan (who would later play Lee in Donnie Yen’s Ip Man franchise) also joins the team of Shaolin Soccer as a headstrong goalie.

9 Tai Chi Zero

Tai Chi Zero pic

Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Fung brought comedy to a period kung fu movie setting in 2012’s Tai Chi Zero, to superb results. In Tai Chi Zero, Yang Lu Chan (Xiaochao Yuan) rises from his unassuming background to become a superhuman kung fu warrior, but not before taking plenty of beatings in his training with local villagers. Tai Chi Zero goes bonkers with wire-fu and CGI to take its fight scenes to outlandish levels, and is a wildly entertaining kung fu comedy experience. The same is also the case for its 2012 sequel Tai Chi Hero, as well.

8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 Film

The heroes in a half-shell would finally jump into live-action on the big-screen in the 1990 hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with Raphael, Donantello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo determined to stop the evil Shredder (James Saito) and the Foot Clan. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still one of the best cinematic incarnations the Turtles have ever had, with plenty of action and the Turtles’ lovable personalities still making the movie a joy to watch over three decades later. Not only that, but the Turtles costumes themselves have also aged beautifully, bringing the Turtles life as the quipping, pizza-loving ninja warrior so many fans know and love.

RELATED: 10 Epic Fights In Martial Arts Movies That Rival Bruce Lee’s Best Scenes

7 Heroes Of The East

Heroes of the East pic

The Shaw Brothers 1978 classic Heroes of the East takes marriage counseling to a whole new level, with Ho Tou (Gordon Liu) and his Japanese wife Kung Zi (Yuka Mizuno) having a marital squabble over their conflicting martial arts disciplines. Heroes of the East has tons of fun in taking the couple’s conflict as far over-the-top as it can, even to the point of Ninjutsu master Takeno (Yasuaki Kurata) entering the fray to defeat Ho Tou. Additionally, Heroes of the East also mixes and matches Chinese and Japanese martial arts in its many comedic fight scenes.

6 Magnificent Butcher

Six years after facing Bruce Lee in the opening of Enter the Dragon, Sammo Hung would headline one of his personal best martial arts films, 1979’s Magnificent Butcher. Butcher Wing (Hung) is a student of the legendary Wong Fei-hung (Kawn Tak-hing), and trains with both he and Drunken Fist master Beggar So (Fan Mei-sheng) to harness his kung fu skills. Directed by the great kung fu movie legend Yuen Woo-ping, Magnificent Butcher is Sammo Hung at his finest with plenty of comedy alongside its enthralling action.

5 Kung Fu Hustle

A martial arts battle in Kung Fu Hustle-2

Stephen Chow would follow up 2001’s Shaolin Soccer with an even wackier martial arts cartoon in 2004’s Kung Fu Hustle. Set in the ’40s, Chow directs and plays Kung Fu Hustle‘s protagonist Sing, whose efforts to join the Axe gang take him on a wild adventure. Kung Fu Hustle‘s many comedic kung fu warriors also include the grumpy Landlady (Qiu Yuen) and the memorable Coolie, played by former Shaolin monk and future Hong Kong martial arts star Shi Yan Neng (credited as Xing Yu) in his film debut. In the years since its debut, Kung Fu Hustle continues to stand as one of the greatest modern martial arts comedies.

4 Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China might have been a box office letdown in 1986, but its eventual status as a cult classic is well-earned. Truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) teams up with his friend Wang (Dennis Dun) and other allies to stop the villainous Lo Pan (James Hong) from unleashing his supernatural army upon the world. Big Trouble in Little China might be one of the most quotable movies of all time with Russell’s confidently sardonic performance as Jack Burton. With Big Trouble in Little China‘s added combination of martial arts and comedy, it’s an endlessly re-watchable action classic.

RELATED: 10 Underground Martial Arts Films Any Fan Of The Genre Should Watch

3 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

2 INFP Action Scott Pilgrim v The World

Edgar Wright brings the flair of a video game to life in 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, in which the dopey protagonist Scott (Michael Cera) must defeat the Seven Evil Exes of his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Based on Brian Lee O’Malley’s eponymous graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim is an explosion of video game-style visual flair, situational comedy, and off-the-hook martial arts action (with the late Brad Allan of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team helping orchestrate the movie’s fight scenes). One of Edgar Wright’s crowning achievements, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is comedic martial arts fun in its purest form.

1 Everything Everywhere All At Once

Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once

Laundromat owner Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) just wanted to get her taxes out of the way, but Everything Everywhere All At Once had other plans for Evelyn, namely saving entire the multiverse. Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s fight scenes are pure Hong Kong-style gold. As a sci-fi martial arts comedy that Jackie Chan himself was once considered to star in, Everything Everywhere All At Once delivers amazingly on everything its title promises, and would even snag the Best Picture Oscar at the 2023 Academy Awards.