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12 Days of Kick-Ass!!!! Holiday Themed Martial Arts Movies

Updated: Feb 8

The Best Holiday-Themed Action and Martial Arts Movies to Watch this Season!!

Best Holiday Themed Martial Arts Movies

We're counting down the 12 Days with our picks of the best action films and best holiday themed martial arts movies. 

Our criteria was simple: Kicks, punches, bullets and blow ups. Plus a little holiday decoration always helps!

So get yourself comfy, break out the holiday snacks, sit back, relax and enjoy this holiday gift from Black Belt Magazine

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RIOT [1996]

Riot Movie Poster

Starring: Gary Daniels
Best fight scene: In the bar with help from World Boxing Champion Sugar Ray Leonard

Gary Daniels and Sugar Rey Leonard in the Riot

“He asks no questions, he makes no mistakes, he takes no prisoners.” These are the classic lines from the trailer of Riot (1996), starring martial arts sensation Gary Daniels. It's 100% 1990s alpha male adrenaline and martial arts action that we all love.

When a retired SAS officer is tasked with saving the British ambassador’s daughter after she is kidnapped during a massive Christmas Eve riot in Los Angeles, Gary Daniels goes into ass kicking action. Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but our heroes are so delightful..

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Dark Angel Movie Poster

Starring: Dolph Lundgren

The trailer says it all in one line: ”It's Christmas and someone special is coming to town and it's not Santa Claus.”  Renegade Cop Dolph Lundgren (Expendables) is forced to work with an FBI Agent in order to bring down a group of drug dealers with sinister plans. 

Dolph Lundgren in Dark Angel

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Silent Night movie Poster

Starring: Joel Kinnaman
Director: John Woo

Joel Kinnaman  in Silent Night

The long awaited return of director John Woo does not disappoint. It’s a classic Woo movie with action, guns, cars, and amazing martial arts fight scenes.

The plot, a grieving father enacts his long-awaited revenge against a ruthless gang on Christmas Eve. 

Released: Dec 1, 2023

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Reindeer Games Movie Poster

Starring: Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron
Best Fight Scene: Opening prison riot and the use of cafeteria “Tray”-Kwon Do.

Ben Affleck in Reindeer Games

What's not to love about Reindeer Games? Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Christmas, an opening prison fight scene? Now's the time to sit back, get the eggnog and watch some good old fashioned Hollywood action.

A recently released convict poses as a dead friend in order to meet Ashley (Charlize Theron), the pen-pal girlfriend that Nick never met. Trouble comes fast when Ashley’s brother, Gabriel (Gary Sinise), forces Rudy into a scheme to rob a casino when all he really wants to do is go home for Christmas.  Oh, did we mention Issac Hayes and Danny Trejo also are in the ensemble cast?

Now we're talking!!

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COBRA [1986]

Cobra Movie Poster

Starring: Sylvester Stallone
Best Scene: Rooftop

Sylvester Stallone in Cobra

“Crime is a disease, meet the cure,” can a slogan be any more clear?  This is classic alpha hero Sylvester Stallone teamed up with Kurt Russell in a buddy film that combines a little bit of comedy with a lot of action.  In one impressive fight scene on the roof Stallone employs a little bit of jiu-jitsu, a sport karate back fist, and a knockout front kick capping off the fight scene with a cap of his own.

If you want to share with the younger generation what an action hero really looks like look no further than Cobra.

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RED [2010]

Red Movie Poster

Starring: Bruce Willis, Forgan Freeman
Best Scene: Bruce Willis and Karl Urban it features Muay Thai, BJJ and good old fashion dirty fighting and great humorous dialogue.

When you have a movie that starts off with a quiet suburban neighborhood getting completely gun riddled by assassins, and Bruce Willis takes them all on with style and panache, well, that's my kind of movie. 

Former CIA black ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) lives a quiet life in the suburbs and creates opportunities to talk to pension call center employee Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker). An assassination squad attempts to kill Frank, complete with an entire Christmas themed shoot out. Frank single-handedly kills the entire squad and drives to Sarah's house to protect her. Sarah refuses to leave with Frank so he kidnaps her and that's where the fun begins.This is Bruce Willis the way you love him!

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Money Train Movie Poster

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez
Best Scene: Night club, Wesely uses everything in the kitchen except the sink and of course some skillful martial arts hand-to-hand combat moves.

Night Club Scene from Money Train

Now this movie is quintessential holiday action film at its best, big stars in a plot that takes place on Christmas Day.  Wesley Snipes plays a transit cop in New York and buddies up with Woody Harrelson. It's an opportunity for Snipes to show off his acting chops as well as his martial arts skills. 

Plot: a vengeful New York City transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares. His foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.

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Invasion USA Movie Poster

Starring: Chuck Norris
Best Fight Scene: Chuck shoot out in the mall.

Chuck Norris in Invasion USA Mall Scene

Russian terrorists invading the southern Florida coast (during the days leading up to Christmas) is the basic plot of Invasion USA, and is one of Chuck’s greatest movies that launched him into pop culture stardom. I mean, if wrestling an alligator won’t do it, what else will?

But back to Christmas, let's not forget some great highlights that include an all-out military assault on a neighborhood in the middle of decorating for the Christmas holidays. We also love when Chuck Norris does a standoff substituting a handgun with the Bazooka it's 100% Chuck Norris and the stuff legends are made of.


WILD CARD [2015]

Wild Card Movie Poster

Starring: Jason Statham
Best Fight Scene: Bar fight in Vegas with Bing crooning a Christmas tune.

Jason Statham in Wild Card

This remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds’ movie Heat stars Jason Statham as a gambling loser and bodyguard with a heart named Nick. When a friend is brutally assaulted and beaten by three unknown folks in their Las Vegas hotel room. Nick goes on an all out rampage using martial arts skills to take out his friends' assailants, including the villain played by Milo Ventimiglia. There's even a brilliant fight scene in a bar with an underscore of the Bing Crosby classic “White Christmas,” everything we want in a holiday action martial arts movie.



Police Story poster

Starring: Jackie Chan
Best Fight Scene: In the shopping mall Jackie at his vintage finest

Jackie Chan in Police Story

When a movie has Jackie Chan sliding down a pole covered in Christmas lights it has to make this list.

A virtuous Hong Kong police officer must clear his good name when the drug lord he is after frames him for the murder of a dirty cop.

The stunts, the action, and fight scenes from this movie alone made Jackie Chan the legend he is today.



Lethal Weapn movie poster

Starring: Mel Gibson
Best Fight Scene: Mel Gibson Vs. Mr. Joshua, played by Gary Bussey.

Mel Gibson with a gun

We all know the story, but for some of you who have been in a cave for years, here is a quick recap it's Christmas time and Mel Gibson detective Martin Riggs is suffering from his past trauma and teams up with Danny Glover Roger Murtaugh a veteran cop who just wants to get through his day without trouble.

As the two are investigating a suicide they cross the path of a military intelligence plan with nefarious intent when this group kidnaps Rogers's daughter the two become an unstoppable force a holiday favorite Lethal Weapon will always remind us the season of giving is giving punishment to the bad guys.


DIE HARD [1988]

Die Hard Movie Poster

Starring: Bruce Willis
Best Fight Scene: Check out the stairwell fight featuring John McClane (Bruce Willis) and Bolshoi ballet star turned actor Alexander Gudunov.

Die Hard Bruce Willis

Start with a few legendary quotes like, “Come out the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs, Yippee-ki-yay Mother___er,” and  “Welcome to the party, pal.” Then throw in some of the best action scenes in movie history including guns, fights, bombs, fire, and even twinkies.

You now have the recipe for the greatest Christmas action movie of all time.  We all know the story, John McClane NYPD attempting to reconcile with his semi-estranged wife, Holly.

A group of armed bad guys, led by the evil Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), take over the now famed Century City Nakatomi Plaza. And that's in the first 15 minutes.

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