Where to begin with Donnie Yen? Wushu Tournament Champion, Hong Kong’s #1 action star, the tenth highest earning actor in Asia and number six on IMDb’s Top 100 Martial Artists of the Century. Thanks to films like Flashpoint, Killzone S.P.L and the hit Ip Man, Yen is now one of the martial arts industry’s fastest rising stars. With news of his roles in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Yen’s popularity looks set to rise.
Taking a look back on his career and rise to popularity, Chattr has compiled a list of Donnie Yen’s greatest fight scenes.
Readers should be advised that the following videos contain violence, coarse language and themes that some readers may find disturbing. Spoilers ahead!
5. Commander Len VS Wong Fei Hung – Once Upon A Time In China 2
It would be a crime to have a list of Donnie Yen fights without mentioning his iconic fight with legendary martial arts actor, Jet Li. In Once Upon A Time In China 2 Yen’s character of Commander Len, squares off against Jet Li’s character,Wong Fei Hung.
While many will think two men jumping around an ancient construction site with bamboo staffs sounds silly, it’s important to acknowledge how long fight scenes like this take to choreograph and film. Once Upon A Time In China 2 might be nearly 25 years old, but a classic never dies.
4. Inspector Ma Kwan VS Wong Po – Killzone S.P.L
It’s hard to choose just one fight scene from Killzone S.P.L, but the final fight between Donnie Yen’s character, Ma Kwan, and veteran Chinese actor Sammo Hung’s character of Wong Po, is exceptional.
Yen and Hung frequently star alongside each other (such as in Ip Man 2), and always bring an amazing amount of energy to fight scenes. This beat down in Killzone S.P.L occurs towards the film’s finale as no-nonsense cop Ma Kwen (Yen), finally confronts ruthless crime boss, Wong Po (Hung). What happens next is a heated fight between Yen’s Mixed Martial Arts style of fighting, and Hung’s traditional Wushu technique. Po’s club of course gets a serious re-modelling in the process.
3. Dragon Chan VS Gang Members – Special ID
Sampling China’s hottest dishes? Witnessing a mob hit? A close-quarters fight with more than twenty Triad (Chinese organised crime) members? All in a day’s wok for Donnie Yen!
This fight scene sees undercover cop Dragon Chan (Yen) getting into a row with some Triad thugs only seconds after their leader is assassinated. Besides the kick-ass (and brutal) choreography, the scene is backed by some serious percussion and a grungy guitar riff, giving the scene a truly urban, street-fight feel.
2. Ip Man VS Ten Black Belts – Ip Man
When you can beat a black belt karate student, you know you’re good. But when you can beat ten of them at once, you know you’re a true badass.
This fight scene takes place
halfway through Ip Man, a film set during the Sino-Japanese war and considered by many to be Yen’s magnum opus. When his friend is murdered by a Japanese captain, Wing Chun practitioner Ip Man challenges ten of the captain’s karate students to a duel. What follows is not just your classic underdog fight, but a clash of cultures. Ip Man makes a stand against the authoritarian occupying force and personifies the indomitable willpower that exists in every martial artist.
1. Jun Ma VS Tony – Flash Point
There are so many contenders for top spot, but #1 on the list has to go to the fight between Jun Ma and Tony in the 2007 movie Flashpoint.
Flashpoint is regarded as the film that introduced Donnie Yen to the Western world. Rightly so, because the fight scenes in this movie are award-winning. The above fight scene takes place between Inspector Jun Ma (Yen), and Triad enforcer Tony (Collin Chou). After a long chase, tensions between the two culminate into a classic Mixed Martial Arts showdown.
What starts off as a slow exchange of blows quickly degenerates into a brutal, bloodied beat down. Teeth are knocked out, faces bruised, cinder blocks shattered and blood flows freely. This is an epic fight scene between two Wuxia heavyweights. But don’t take my word for it – watch and see for yourself!
These are only five videos that show just how much of a badass Donnie Yen is. The big question is though: how will Yen fare teaming up with big names like Vin Diesel and franchises like Star Wars?
I for one can barely wait.