Ranking the best and most ultimate from the great Michael Jai White!

Top Michael Jai White Movies
Michael Jai White in full blown Ultimate Action mode!

Few have made such an indelible mark within this generation of action cinema as Michael Jai White. And how could he not? Good looking, incredible physique, fantastic actor, great writer, excellent director, and a highly extensive knowledge, and absolute mastery of the martial arts. Truth be told, he is the complete package. 

And that is why I, The Cinema Drunkie, as well as the good folks at the Ultimate Action Movie Club have come together today to celebrate the man, the myth, the legend that is Michael Jai White. And we shall do that by naming the Top 10 Ultimate Michael Jai White Action Movies!

Before we get into it, I want to give an honorable mention nod to Dragged Across Concrete (which you can read the incredible UAMC review for it here). A truly fantastic movie that unfortunately didn’t make it onto this list. (Although it did make it onto The Top 50 Action Gems of the Decade list at #35. Wink.) But is too great a movie to completely ignore.

Also, there are rules: this list is not only focused on movies that contain MJW as either a main (or at the very least a major character), but also purely on action movies, and movies that showcase MJW best as an action performer, so unfortunately that means no Spawn, no Accident Man, no Exit Wounds, and no Black Dynamite either. Sorry folks. Those are the rules.

But now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s jump into it, shall we? And if you’re looking for more Top 10 Lists to read up on (or argue about with your friends later), here are some more official Ultimate Action Movie Club rankings to check out:

The Top 100 Ultimate Action Movies of All Time

  1. S.W.A.T.: Under Siege (2017)

SWAT Under Siege Michael Jai White
S.W.A.T. Under Siege (2017)

The third entry in the S.W.A.T. franchise (yes, there are 3 of them) goes the Assault on Precinct 13 route, but this time, they have an ace up their sleeve. This time, they have MJW. The Black Dragon injects some much needed life into this franchise, making this entry the best one to date, with non-stop action all around, and White playing the “Badass with the shadowy past” role for all it’s worth.

  1. Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)

Michael Jai White Never Back Down
Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)

MJW becomes a new age Mr. Miyagi in this sequel to the 2007 Karate Kid rip-off in which he also made his directorial debut. While the movie is more or less focused on the teen MMA fighters, MJW completely steals the show as the lovable teacher with a heart of ice, while also being the centerpiece for the standout fight scene of the movie where he takes on a group of bad cops… while handcuffed!

  1. The Hard Way (2019)

Michael Jai White The Hard Way
The Hard Way (2019)

So, after this was kind of unceremoniously dumped onto Netflix without so much as an announcement, my expectations were a bit low, but this was surprisingly a highly enjoyable action yarn. And with well choreographed action scenes by the great Tim Man, a decent story, and some fine performances from MJW, Luke Goss, and MMA legend Randy Couture, this underdog of an action flick is a true winner. And remember guys, when MJW says “No means no, motherf*cker.”, you better listen.

  1. Never Back Down: No Surrender (2016)

Michael Jai White NEver Back Down No Surrender
Never Back Down: No Surrender (2016)

MJW steps up from supporting to lead role in the third entry (what’s up with MJW and part 3s?) of this MMA franchise and brings the noise in the best installment of the series yet! Fantastic fight sequences, great direction (by MJW himself) and excellent performances from the cast make this a solid actioner that proves White is as good behind the camera as he is in front of it.

Read full review here below:

Michael Jai White in ‘Never Back Down: No Surrender’ (2016)

  1. Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

Michael Jai White Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

While this unfairly maligned sequel is sooo awesome on its own, MJW’s performance as supervillain SETH elevates to ultimate action classic status, with an epic climactic fight with legendary action icon JCVD that is one for the ultimate action record books.

Read full review here below:

What’s So Wrong With ‘Universal Soldier: The Return’?

  1. Skin Trade (2014)

Michael Jai White Skin Trade
Skin Trade (2014)

Awesome shootouts & chases, as well as incredible fight scenes (especially the one between MJW & Tony Jaa) combined with one of the best action casts ever assembled truly make this one of the top action gems of the decade (wink, wink).

Read full review here below:

The Ultimate Action Movie Stars Align in ‘Skin Trade’ (2014)

  1. Triple Threat (2019)

Michael Jai White Triple Threat
Triple Threat (2019)

An ultimate action movie fan’s dream, Triple Threat brought together the talents of MJW, Scott Adkins, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Jeeja Yanin, and former UFC champion and legendary badass Michael Bisping in a beautiful smorgasbord of action and stunts brought to incredible life by action auteur Jesse V. Johnson and fight choreographer Tim Man.

Read full review here below:

Triple Threat: An Ultimate Martial Arts Movie for the Ages

  1. Falcon Rising (2014)

Michael Jai White Falcon Rising
Falcon Rising (2014)

With some incredible fight choreography on display, a commanding lead performance from MJW, and a compelling story, Falcon Rising was an excellent introduction to a new ultimate action badass in John “Falcon” Chapman that surely should have lead to an awesome series of films.

Read full review here below:

Falcon Rising: The Michael Jai White Action Franchise Lost

  1. Undisputed 2 (2006)

Michael Jai White Undisputed 2
Undisputed 2 (2006)

Who knew that this sequel to an ok but fairly unmemorable prison boxing movie would lead to not only one the most definable franchises in the history of action cinema, but also to leads MJW & Scott Adkins, as well as action mastermind Isaac Florentine becoming action movie icons? I did… the second the credits started rolling. 

Read our full UAMC rankings for the best Scott Adkins movies below:

Top 10 Scott Adkins Action Movies

  1. Blood and Bone (2009)

Michael Jai White Blood and Bone
Blood and Bone (2009)

The absolute zenith of MJW’s action movie career. A movie that transcends its DTV status to be one of the best action movies ever. Phenomenal action, clever plotting, great acting, loveable side characters, despicable villains and a fantastic action hero in Isaiah Bone make Blood and Bone one of the most perfect examples of everything an ultimate action classic should be.

Read full review here:

Blood and Bone: Michael Jai White’s DTV Ultimate Action Classic

And there you have it. 10 movies that showcase the incredible prowess of the man, the myth, the action legend. There was a reason Martial Arts Icon Ron Van Clief bestowed his own moniker “The Black Dragon” onto Mr. White. And if you ask me, it was well deserved.

So what did you think of this list? And what are your picks for your own personal MJW top 10?? Please leave them in the comments below!


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