Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Martial Arts Actors You Don't Know About But Should

Martial arts movies haven't traditionally been known for their acting, but that's changed in recent years. Whether you're into well-choreographed action or you just like watching impossibly chiseled warriors throw endless haymakers at waves of faceless goons, your viewing choices are better than ever—and to help you stock up your kung fu queue, we've put together a list of some lesser-known martial arts movie stars from around the world you may want to check out. For each actor, we've included some basic information as well as provided links to some of their best or most impressive fight scenes on YouTube, many of which we've been assured by medical experts are so badass they double as the visual equivalent of shark Viagra.

Ilram Choi

Nationality: Korean-American

Martial art of choice: Taekwondo

Ilram Choi is described as one of Hollywood's "go-to stuntmen" and has been working behind the scenes in the industry for over a decade. Formally trained in Taekwondo and a self-taught master of gymnastics, Choi is responsible for countless of the cool movie stunts you've seen since 2005. Along with being a stunt actor who has been thrown through a window by everyone from Jason Statham to Optimus Prime, Choi was Spider-Man's stunt double in the "Amazing Spider-Man" movies. In fact, he was so good at being Spider-Man, he's the fight coordinator for "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Not content with being in charge of telling Spider-Man how to sidekick a criminal through a building, Choi also lent his expertise to the crew of "Kong: Skull Island" — meaning he can technically write "trained King Kong how to whup ass" on his résumé.

Choi has done stunt work for a bunch of video games, too, most notably serving as the basis of Albert Wesker's teleport and jaguar-based fighting style in "Resident Evil 5" as well as doing some of the stunts from "Devil May Cry 3" — a game in which the main character drop-kicks a pool table across a room to kill half a dozen demons made of sand. As if all that isn't cool enough on its own, Choi also has the unique honor of being the only person in history to dunk on someone as a Navi, since he's also one of the guys who provided mo-cap for the basketball scene in "Avatar."

Scott Adkins

Nationality: British

Martial art of choice: Kickboxing, taekwondo

Scott Adkins is a British actor seemingly unable to avoid being typecast as a Russian thug with the ability to perforate livers with a hypersonic gut kick. Trained mostly in kickboxing with a background in taekwondo and gymnastics (and shoulders with their own separate time zones), Adkins can effortlessly transition between throwing punishing punches to the jaw and backflips, a skill showcased during his numerous fight scenes as Yuri Boyka, the straight-to-DVD hero of the "Undisputed" movies — a cinematic universe he rules with an iron fist, an iron beard, and a near-unlimited supply of growling one-liners and back fists delivered at Mach 3.

In addition to portraying Boyka, Adkins has sporadically appeared in bigger movies in smaller roles or as a stuntman, notably serving as the stunt double for Deadpool in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." (If you're unsure at any given moment whether it's Adkins or Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool, whenever Deadpool is doing a backflip, it's Adkins.) All in all, Adkins seems to feel most at home making cheesy direct-to-video movies with names that read like unreleased Wu-Tang albums like "Ninja: Shadow of a Tear" and "Legendary: Tomb of the Dragon."

Marko Zaror

Nationality: Chilean

Martial arts of choice: Taekwondo, judo, kung fu, boxing

Marko Zaror is a Chilean actor who initially made his foray into the entertainment industry as a model. Standing around pouting in a pair of jeans while his abs went offensively unchallenged didn't cut it, so he decided to try his hands at punching people in Spanish B movies. From this his transitioned to bit parts in Hollywood and Bollywood movies before finally returning to his native Chile to become the country's first real action star.

Zaror is known for his blistering speed, which he hones by training in heavy weighted clothing, a technique favored by such renowned martial artists as Rock Lee and Son Goku. Zaror's intimidating physique and ability to shrug off punches to the face through sheer force of will and the strength of his beard game has earned him the moniker "The Latin Dragon" — a nickname we'd do anything to earn, short of actually fighting Zaror one on one.

Sam Hargrave

Nationality: American

Martial arts of choice: Judo, jiu-jitsu, American punch-fu

Sam Hargrave is an American stunt actor so humble, his own résumé notes that he's Captain America's stunt double while simultaneously describing his own physique as "athletic" — an understatement so massive it's rivaled possibly only by Hargrave's biceps. Along with doubling for Captain America when man-mountain Chris Evans is too scared to do something, Hargrave is the guy they call when they need someone to eat an unthinkable amount of pavement while dressed in a stupid costume.

Another martial arts actor more comfortable with you only ever seeing the back of his head, Hargrave stood in for Chris Evans for that fight scene in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" when he dropkicks the Winter Soldier across a freeway and is tackled out of a window. A prolific stunt actor, a lot of Hargrave's early stunt reels are still on YouTube, meaning you can watch footage of him intentionally throwing himself into bushes or being hit by cars if you're so inclined.

Vidyut Jammwal

Nationality: Indian

Martial art of choice: Kalaripayattu

Vidyut Jammwal is trained in the traditional (and difficult to pronounce) Keralite martial art of Kalaripayattu. It encompasses many fighting skills, from punishing strikes to limb-destroying holds and locks, all of which Jammwal is frighteningly proficient at, having trained for over three decades under gurus and, we presume, countless bearded mystics. Interestingly, Kalaripayattu also apparently teaches "healing techniques" — whether this means Jammwal can sit down and restore his health like Yoshimitsu in "Tekken 3" isn't clear, but we're forced to assume that he can, just to be on the safe side.

Jammwal's big break came courtesy of "Commando: A One Man Army," in which he performed all of his own stunts and choreographed his own fights specifically to show off his martial arts prowess. During the film's many, many fight scenes, Jammwal fells opponents with tree-assisted 720 spin kicks, steals someone's belt mid-combo just to backhand them with it, and backflip kicks a lampshade straight into someone's face. Jammwal, or more specifically the tandem performance of his abs and fists, were considered by many to be the film's only real saving grace. It was enough to get a sequel greenlit, the trailer for which we highly recommend if you want to see Jammwal double kneestrike a guy wearing pogo stilts.

In addition to being recognized as a phenomenal martial artist, being called "India's answer to Bruce Lee," Jammwal is, in the words of Right Said Fred, so sexy it hurts, appearing on dozens of "most desirable man" lists in India as well as being declared PETA's sexiest vegetarian in 2014.

Lateef Crowder

Nationality: Brazilian

Martial art of choice: Capoeira

For anyone with a passing familiarity with the "Tekken" franchise, Lateef Crowder is basically Eddy Gordo, the Brazilian capoeirista everyone picks and spams the kick buttons with when they first start playing. In fact, Crowder's physical resemblance to the character was so uncanny that he was the first and really only choice to play him in the god-awful live-action "Tekken" movie.

Along with appearing in terrible film adaptations of popular video games, Crowder is a prolific extra in movies when they need a thug who can do cool spin kicks. As a result, footage exists of Crowder getting his ass handed to him by everyone from Michael Jai White to Jacob Black in the "Twilight" movies.

Sadly for such a capable martial artist, Crowder is criminally under-utilized in most of his film roles, with arguably his greatest fight scene being his earliest credited role, that of the aptly named "Capoeira fighter" in "Warrior King" (sometimes called "Tom-Yum-Goong") against Tony Jaa.

Wu Jing

Nationality: Chinese

Martial art of choice: Wushu

Wu Jing is an astonishingly accomplished martial artist who's never really gotten the same recognition as guys like Donnie Yen or Jackie Chan, even though he's constantly in their movies getting beaten up and slapped around. Known for his incredibly acrobatic fighting style, Jing has mostly starred in Chinese movies with names so badass-sounding, reading them can result in spontaneous chest hair growth on your eyeballs.

Seemingly at home while being surrounded by goons trying to kick-slap him into next week, Wu Jing's bread and butter seems to be taking kicks and punches for a few minutes before ending his opponent with a 40-hit combo. As an OG of the martial arts world, Wu Jing has appeared in everything from cheesy '90s action movies playing a shaolin monk complete with one of those stupid ponytail things to gritty war movies from the 2010s in which his kicks are powered by Chinese propaganda.

Johnny Nguyen

Nationality: Vietnamese

Martial arts of choice: Kung fu, tai chi, aikido

Johnny Nguyen is a Vietnamese martial artist whose kicks we suspect could rule the world if he ever turned them on anyone but trained professionals. While he's sporadically done stunt work in the U.S., lending the services of his reality-warping side kicks to the original "Spider-Man" trilogy and a live-action "Mortal Kombat" TV show, Nguyen's real passion is kicking people half to death in Vietnamese action movies.

Since we can't understand anything Nguyen says in any of these movies, we didn't really know which one to recommend to ease you into his kick-centric world — until we saw this fight scene from Clash, in which he kicks three people in the face at the same time, all while wearing mom jeans.

Ken Lo AKA Lo Wai-kwong

Nationality: Lao, Hong Kong 

Martial arts of choice: Muay Thai, taekwondo

After spending his youth moving around between Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, Ken Lo (who was sometimes credited as Lo Wai-kwong) finally settled in Hong Kong with dreams of working in kung fu movies. His lucky break actually came in a nightclub rather than on a film set. Lo happened to bump into Jackie Chan, who was already a big star in the Hong Kong film industry. Chan took a liking to him and was impressed enough by his fighting skills to hire Lo as his personal bodyguard and start putting him in movies.

Lo's acting debut was with a small, unnamed part in the 1983 movie "Naughty Boys," which Chan produced and played a small role in. Chan continued to work Lo into more of his movies over the next few years, sometimes in tiny bit parts but other times in more substantial roles, such as Brains in "Project A 2." The two worked together dozens of times, with their biggest head-to-head confrontation arriving in 1994 with "Legend of the Drunken Master." After the original actor had to drop out of the film due to an injury, Lo took over the role of one of the main villains and fought against Chan in the film's giant, show-stopping final fight sequence.

After "Legend of the Drunken Master," Lo's career began to take off outside of his Jackie Chan collaborations. Lo has led a prolific action career with well over 100 films under his belt. Some of his recent hits include the Dante Lam film "Operation Mekong," "Killzone 2" with Tony Jaa and Jing Wu, and "Raging Fire" with Donnie Yen.

JeeJa Yanin

Nationality: Thai 

Martial arts of choice: Muay Thai 

After 2003's "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" turned Tony Jaa into Thailand's first fully fledged international martial arts action star, director Prachya Pinkaew went on the hunt for his next star. He ended up discovering one, JeeJa Yanin, five years later for 2008's "Chocolate." Just like Jaa, Yanin's athleticism and physical abilities seem downright superhuman compared to her contemporaries, and just like "Ong-Bak," "Chocolate" provides a perfect showcase to sell Yanin's strengths.

Yanin collaborated again with Pinkaew on "The Kick" and "The Protector 2," the latter of which found her acting alongside Tony Jaa for the first time. She also starred in the Thai action films "Raging Phoenix" and "This Girl is Bad-Ass!!" At one point, she was scheduled to star in a sequel to her astonishing debut with "Chocolate 2," but the film wound up indefinitely shelved after she got pregnant and decided to take a step back from the film industry for a bit to raise her son.

For the first few years of her son's life, Yanin's acting career was mostly put on hold, with her only film roles being tiny, unnamed parts. Action fans rejoiced when she made her big return in the 2010s and proved herself to still be capable of killer action sequences, though she has again gone silent for the last couple of years. Her last role to date was in 2019's "Triple Threat," acting again alongside Tony Jaa as well as other martial arts stars like Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Tiger Chen, and Iko Uwais.

Yayan Ruhian

Nationality: Indonesian

Martial arts of choice: Pencak silat

Though he doesn't get quite as much respect and attention as star Iko Uwais or director Gareth Evans, Yayan Ruhian is the other most important figure in "The Raid: Redemption" and "The Raid 2: Berandal." In the first "Raid" movie, Ruhian starred in the villain role of Mad Dog, the vicious, sweaty-haired killer who holds his own when solo in the big two-on-one final fight scene. Even though Mad Dog was killed off by the end of the first movie, Ruhian's abilities were just too good to not make use of him again in the sequel as a different character. For "The Raid 2," Ruhian took on the role of a sympathetic assassin, which allowed him to show his versatility as an actor while still delivering a pair of stunning fight scenes.

Ruhian had already worked with co-star Uwais and director Evans on "Merantau" a couple of years earlier, and he would work with Evans again on a samurai-flavored action short film test released in 2016. Ruhian also served as an action choreographer for both "Raid" films, and he would continue choreographing fight scenes for other movies like "212 Warrior" and "Wira." Ruhian can be spotted in a brief cameo in "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" alongside Uwais, and the two fought alongside each other again in the 2017 sci-fi action sequel "Beyond Skyline." His best role in recent years was in "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum." His character was unnamed and wasn't given much in terms of dialogue, but he fought against the titular character alongside his "The Raid 2" co-star Cecep Arif Rahman in one of the film's most memorable fight scenes.

Wenzhuo Zhao AKA Vincent Zhao

Nationality: Chinese 

Martial arts of choice: Wushu 

Wenzhuo Zhao's career in the Hong Kong film industry got off to a bit of a rocky start with fans of the genre. He entered the public spotlight as the new star of the long-running "Once Upon a Time in China" series, taking over as the iconic Wong Fei-Hung character for the fourth and fifth movies. The popularity of the series could have turned him into an overnight star, but the trouble was that he was replacing Jet Li, one of the most beloved martial artists of all time. It didn't help that Li departed from the series under turbulent circumstances.

The unfavorable comparisons to Li made it all too easy for audiences to overlook just how talented Zhao was in his own right. Luckily, Zhao grew beyond the discount-Jet-Li label and was able to prove himself a worthwhile star. Zhao really came into his own with his starring role in 1995's "The Blade" from director Tsui Hark. The character of Ding On provided him with plenty of dramatic scenes to showcase his raw acting talents as a passionate fighter who loses his arm and trains hard to become a skilled one-armed swordsman. The role also allowed him to perform with a unique fighting style that merged one-handed swordplay with wild spinning and frenetic movements, making Zhao stand out from his contemporaries. Zhao is still starring in action movies, with his latest role arriving in 2021 with "Fan Ji."

Bradley James Allan

Nationality: Australian 

Martial arts of choice: Boxing, karate, wushu, judo, aikido 

Bradley James Allan occupied a unique space in the world of martial arts cinema. As an Australian man who stood just 5 feet 4 inches tall, the deck was stacked against Allan in his dreams of becoming a kung fu movie star. By the time he was 10 years old, Allan was already working hard toward his goal of becoming an expert in kickboxing, karate, wushu, aikido, and more. When Jackie Chan shot a movie in Australia, 1997's "Mr. Nice Guy," Allan had the chance to meet his kung fu idol. Chan recounted their meeting, saying, "He was just a fan and I remember him coming to visit the set... it was because of his amazing skills and talent, he transformed from being a fan to a stuntman, and eventually joined my JC Stunt Team," per The Wrap.

Allan wound up playing a small role in "Mr. Nice Guy" and continued working with Chan over the years both in front of and behind the camera. His biggest and best role was in 1999's "Gorgeous," in which Allan plays Chan's toughest opponent. The two have not one but two excellent extended head-to-head fight scenes, and Allan's remarkable speed is on full display.

After 2003's "Shanghai Knights," Allan stopped appearing in front of the camera but continued working behind the scenes as a stunt man, fight choreographer, and action coordinator, working on huge mainstream movies like "Pacific Rim," "Avatar," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Wonder Woman," "Solo: A Star Wars Story," the "Kingsman" series, and much more. Sadly, Allan passed away recently in 2021 at just 48 years old.

Amy Johnston

Nationality: American

Martial arts of choice: Taekwondo, kung fu, kickboxing, wushu, jiu-jitsu 

Since 2010, Amy Johnston has built a reputation for herself as a prolific stunt woman, action choreographer, and motion capture performer for movies, TV shows, and video games. Behind the scenes, she has been a part of everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to "Westworld" and everything in between, often serving as the stunt double for big names like Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lopez.

Alongside her stunt work, Johnston also began acting around the same time. Over the years, her acting roles have continued to grow from small bit parts to more substantial characters. She eventually began taking center stage as the star of straight-to-video action movies like "Lady Bloodfight" and "Female Fight Squad." The movies themselves weren't great, but Johnston impressed with her martial arts abilities. One of her best roles to date was in 2018's "Accident Man," where she played the villain in the big final fight scene opposite modern martial arts superstar Scott Adkins. With the right roles, Johnston could very well become the next big action star of the martial arts genre. Time will tell if any of her numerous upcoming projects will help her breakthrough to mainstream success as an actor in addition to her thriving stunt career.

Siu-Wong Fan

Nationality: Hong Kong 

Martial arts of choice: Kung fu, taekwondo 

Siu-Wong Fan is a Hong Kong martial arts actor whose name is likely unfamiliar to most but whose face would likely be recognized by any hardcore kung fu lovers. Fan began his film career in the late 1970s as a child actor, and his career has only continued to pick up speed into the modern age.

His first film role that might ring a bell for fans of the genre was in 1986's "Righting Wrongs" — which was also released under the title "Above the Law" — in which he acted alongside big names like Yuen Biao and Cynthia Rothrock. Fans of the exploitation side of the martial arts genre will recognize him as the star of the over-the-top and extremely violent "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky."

Fan has had plenty of other leading man action roles throughout his career, but some of his best films have utilized his talents in supporting roles. He was a vital part of the first two "Ip Man" movies as Jin, an adversary turned ally of Donnie Yen's titular character. For the spin-off prequel "The Legend is Born: Ip Man," Fan again played a key supporting role but was cast as a different character. He worked with Donnie Yen again on 2014's "Kung Fu Killer," collaborated with Jet Li on "Flying Swords of Tiger Gate," and has fought against or alongside just about every big name in the martial arts world at one point or another in his career.

Cyril Raffaelli

Nationality: French 

Martial arts of choice: Shotokan karate, wushu

Cyril Raffaelli has proven himself to be one of the most highly skilled martial artists and stuntmen from France. His first role that got the attention of kung fu fans was in the Paris-set Jet Li flick "Kiss of the Dragon." Raffaelli played the more agile of the two twins who go up against Li in the film's best fight scene.

In 2004, Raffaelli was able to take his biggest spotlight in the French action flick "District B13," which is also known as "Banlieue 13." Raffaelli and parkourist David Belle play the two leads in what is widely considered by action fans to be a minor classic of the genre. Out of the duo, Belle displayed the more impressive parkour skills, which is unsurprising considering he is credited with founding the sport. On the other hand, Raffaeli is the one who displayed the more impressive fighting abilities while still holding his own when it came to the acrobatics. The duo returned five years later for the sequel "District 13: Ultimatum," and his parkour skills also came in handy again for "Live Free or Die Hard," where Raffaeli played Rand, the free-running assassin.

Raffaelli has stepped back from acting in recent years but has continued to work on action movies behind the scenes as a stunt performer, fight choreographer, and action coordinator. He has worked on many large franchises like the "Transporter" series, the MCU, and the "Fast & Furious" franchise.

Dick Wei

Nationality: Taiwanese 

Martial arts of choice: Tae kwon do

Dick Wei, who was sometimes credited as Lung To or Tu-Chi Lung, is a martial artist who found great success in the Hong Kong action film industry. His career began in the '70s, and it wasn't long until he began starring in stone-cold classics of the kung fu genre like "Five Deadly Venoms," in which he played the Master. Wei had the versatility to play both good and bad characters, but many of his most memorable roles were as the main villain or the main villain's toughest henchman in some of the best kung fu movies from the golden age of Hong Kong action cinema.

"Winners and Sinners," "Project A," the "Lucky Stars" series, "Eastern Condors," "Dragons Forever," and "Pedicab Driver" all featured him alongside Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, two of the top dogs of the industry. He also fought with stars like Jet Li in "Dragons of the Orient" and "Dragon Fight," Michelle Yeoh in "Yes, Madam" and "Supercop 2," and Donnie Yen in the Yuen Woo-Ping–directed "Mismatched Couples." With his imposing presence, harsh features, and martial arts prowess, Wei made for one of the best typecast bad guys of the kung fu genre.

Veronica Ngo AKA Thanh Van Ngo

Nationality: Vietnamese

Martial arts of choice: Vovinam, MMA 

Veronica Ngo, sometimes credited as Thanh Van Ngo, made a name for herself as an actor in the Vietnamese film industry before expanding her horizons to both Chinese and English-language productions. After starring in big Vietnamese action movies like "Bitcoin Heist" and "Once Upon a Time in Vietnam," Ngo joined the cast of the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny," which was a Chinese production but had a large reach in the United States and other English-speaking countries as it was released worldwide as a Netflix original and was a sequel to one of the most popular martial arts films of all time.

Ngo's first big English-language role was in "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi," and she would go on to appear in other Hollywood productions like "Bright," "Da 5 Bloods," and "The Old Guard." Surprisingly, even though she had already blazed her own trail in blockbuster filmmaking with her role in "The Last Jedi," Ngo had to go back to Vietnam for the role that became the biggest showcase of her martial arts abilities: "Furie." Though it was telling a simplistic story and was made with a much lower budget than many of her other movies, Ngo impressed greatly with her lethal fight skills as well as with her emotionally raw performance as a mother trying to rescue her daughter. A spiritual prequel, "Furies," was released in 2022 as a Netflix original and found Ngo hopping into the director's chair as well as acting again.

Kar-Leung Lau AKA Chia-Liang Liu

Nationality: Chinese

Martial arts of choice: Hung ga 

Credited as both Kar-Leung Lau and Chia-Liang Liu throughout his career, this incredibly prolific martial artist and actor appeared in over 130 movies throughout his lifetime. He began acting all the way back in 1950 and, more than half a century later, gave his final performance in Tsui Hark's 2005 wuxia film "Seven Swords." Lau was a major force in many different phases and eras of the Hong Kong film industry and was consistently able to adapt to the changing times.

Lau sometimes played leading man roles, but more frequently played key supporting roles whenever a skilled fighter was needed for one or two standout action sequences, often using a staff or spear. In the latter stages of his career, he was often cast as the older fighter who shocks the younger stars with his incredible speed and precision, undiminished by his age. Lau was also a celebrated fight choreographer and director and was at the helm for some of the kung fu genre's most enduring classics, such as "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin," "Eight Diagram Pole Fighter," "Martial Arts of Shaolin," and "Legend of the Drunken Master" (though Jackie Chan took over directing duties partway through production for this last film). Lau both directed and acted alongside pretty much everyone worth their salt in the Hong Kong film industry. His excellent films are too many to count, but a few of his other best roles include "Executioners From Shaolin," "Pedicab Driver," and "The One-Armed Swordsman."

Tak Sakaguchi

Nationality: Japanese

Martial arts of choice: English boxing, Shorinji Kempo, bajiquan 

Tak Sakaguchi is a multidisciplinary martial artist with an incredible level of natural speed, dexterity, and fighting acumen. Before employing his martial arts skills on camera, he used them in real life as a street fighter and claims to have once taken on 26 opponents simultaneously and come out on top.

Sakaguchi's first film was the starring role of the extremely low-budget Yakuza vs. zombies exploitation flick "Versus," which wasted no time showing off his impressive moves. Since then, he has kept busy and routinely stars in a handful of new movies every year. One of his most recent films, "Crazy Samurai Musashi," pushed him to the brink while employing an attention-grabbing gimmick that few if any other performers would have been able to pull off. The entire film was presented as one continuous shot and centers around a one vs. 588-sword battle, with Sakaguchi taking on the world single-handedly.

In an interview with Asian Movie Pulse, Sakaguchi described the level of realism by saying, "I asked every actor to not act or think about safety," and instead attack him for real. He went on to add, "Five minutes after we started filming, I broke my finger and some ribs... but kept shooting. There was no rule and choreography in this film. Everything that happens in the film is real and I thought I was gonna die. But I didn't care." 

Other highlights from his filmography include "Re: Born," "Death Trance," and "Why Don't You Play in Hell," and he was recently seen acting opposite Nicolas Cage in frequent collaborator Sion Sono's "Prisoners of the Ghostland."

Bruce Khan

Nationality: South Korean 

Martial arts of choice: Hapkido, taekwondo, taekkyeon, Muay Thai 

Martial artist Bruce Khan has the smallest filmography of any actor on the list but that small resume does not diminish his extraordinary talents. Over the course of his 22-year acting career, Khan has appeared in just five films and one television show, on some of which he also served as the stunt coordinator and fight choreographer. Khan is a master of many Korean martial arts styles, having begun training when he was still in single digits. He also has a penchant for martial arts styles originating elsewhere in the world, like Muay Thai.

The best film showcase of Khan's abilities is found in 2018's "Revenger," in which he plays the lead role and racks up a high body count with his fists, feet, and a sword. Khan also wrote and choreographed the film. He was already 50 when it was made, but he proved that he is still faster and more agile than all of his younger costars. Khan's short filmography is not for lack of trying. He has said that he was cast as the lead in no less than six different martial arts films that were all eventually shelved for one reason or another, so writing "Revenger" may have been him taking matters into his own hands. He was recently seen again in 2022's "The Killer" and hopefully has more martial arts projects on the horizon.

Max Zhang AKA Jin Zhang

Nationality: Chinese 

Martial arts of choice: Shaolin ch'uan fa, taekwondo, Shotokan karate

Max Zhang began acting in 1994 and had worked on the stunt teams of huge wuxia movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero" in the early 2000s, but his career as a prominent martial arts actor didn't kick off in full until the 2010s. Roles in movies like "The Grandmaster" and "Rise of the Legend" were key to developing his name recognition among the martial arts crowd, but his biggest star-making year was 2015, when he appeared in the one-two punch of "Kill Zone 2" and "Ip Man 3."

In both films, Zhang played the main villain and stunned audiences in the respective final fight scenes. His "Ip Man 3" role found him going head-to-head with Donnie Yen's titular character, but he was far from being all bad, and managed to make his character sympathetic even as he tried to destroy the hero. His character was so well-liked that he wound up becoming the star of his own spinoff three years later with "Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy." In the couple of years since "Master Z," Zhang has been afforded more starring roles, such as in 2022's "Wolf Pack" and as the lead of the 44-episode television series "The Penalty Zone." Zhang has also recently bridged into some English-language filmmaking with the movies "Pacific Rim: Uprising" and "Escape Plan: The Extractors" with Sylvester Stallone.

Sunny Pang

Nationality: Singaporean

Martial arts of choice: Boxing, kickboxing, sanda 

Sunny Pang is a martial artist from Singapore who has slowly but surely found success working in the Singaporean, Chinese, and Indonesian film industries. After a stint of mandatory military service, Pang was left doing odd jobs and scrounging to get by until he used his martial arts know-how to win a local sparring tournament, which attracted the attention of a talent scout.

After a number of small roles throughout the 2000s, Pang began becoming a big name in the Indonesian action movie scene in the 2010s. His biggest breakout role was as the villain of 2016's "Headshot," which found him squaring up against Iko Uwais in the star's first lead role since "The Raid" series ended. Pang worked again with both Iko Uwais and "Headshot" writer and co-director Timo Tjahjanto on the uber-gory 2018 action thriller "The Night Comes for Us," which is in the running for being the most violent martial arts film ever made. Pang recently entered his 40s, but his action career seems to still be heating up as he has a bunch of new projects on the horizon. His highest-profile upcoming film is a supporting role in "The Raid" director Gareth Evans' next action film "Havoc," in which Pang will act for the first time alongside huge English-language stars like Tom Hardy, Timothy Olyphant, and Forest Whitaker.