9 of the Most Bad Ass Martial Arts Movie Heroes

Source: The Raid: Redemption

Source: Pt. Merantau Films (still from ‘The Raid: Redemption’)

Disclaimer: the word ‘badass’ will be overused throughout this text. Not appropriate for children.

Martial arts films have a lot to offer fans — from the comedic routines that are often thrown in by actors like Jackie Chan or through comic relief characters, to the brilliantly choreographed fight scenes that leave many of us inspired to go out and learn a martial art (or, just punch and kick at the air.) But one of the biggest things to get fans riled up is the simple levels of badassery displayed by the films‘ protagonists.

To do what these film heroes do, you have to be a high-level badass. In this list, some of the martial arts film genre’s greatest badass heroes will be given their rightful honors. Since hand-to-hand fighters will be the focus here, sword-fighters will be absent. Without further ado, here’s the first badass on the list.

1. Tien: Ong Bak 2 and Ong Bak 3, played by Tony Jaa

Muy Thai is a martial arts style that simply lends itself to badassitude with its devastating elbow and knee blows. Tony Jaa brings the badass levels of Muy Thai to the silver screen without fail as Tien.

Tien is captured as a youth and forced into slavery, but that turned out to just be the beginning of his full-time career as a badass. He ends up killing a fully grown crocodile much bigger than himself to earn his freedom, then trains with a crew of elite badasses to become their leader. Unfortunately, this also makes him a villain for the time being, albeit a badass villain with a pet elephant. With his new skills, he gets revenge on the slavers from earlier — single-handedly and while highly drunk.

Later, he sneaks into a ruler’s palace to get revenge for the murder of his parents, and though he seems to succeed with ease, it’s later discovered that the ruler had armor. Hordes of minions attack him until he is finally overwhelmed. After having all his bones broken as punishment, he ends up freed. Once free, he fixes all of his own bones (like a badass) and then goes to get his revenge with ease. On top of it all, he’s not afraid to dance in public.