Star Wars: Rogue One is important for a lot of reasons. Not only is it the first Star Wars spin-off of the Disney era but it is also the first prequel under the regime. Most importantly it is the American debut of Donnie Yen. Okay that’s not entirely true. Yen has been in several films imported from China like Hero as well as blink and you’ll miss it roles in Blade II. Still there’s no denying that his Yen’s turn as Chirrut will be his biggest role in the United States by leaps and bounds.
This isn’t the case around the world though. In fact in China Donnie Yen is an absolute megastar. Making his debut in 1983 Yen has gone on to stardom with films like SPL (released as Kill Zone in the United States), Flash Point and the Ip Man series. His claim to fame being his awe-inspiring fight scenes. Known for utilizing several types of martial arts in a scene he has garnered praise from martial arts movie legends like Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan. With such high praise it is easy to see why he was picked to be in Rogue One. But just in case you still aren’t convinced here are 8 of Donnie Yen’s Best Fight Scenes.
8- Hahou Mo vs Fung Yu-Sau
Film- Kung Fu Jungle
While released fairly recently the final fight in Kung Fu Jungle (released as Kung Fu Killer in the States) it is the perfect example of a good Donnie Yen fight. Finally catching the man killing martial arts masters, Fung Yu-Sau (actor Wang Baoqiang) the two duel in a busy street. Using a mix of kung fu, grappling and even weapons it is a perfect representation of Donnie Yen and why his fight choreography is so unique.
7- Detective Sergeant Ma Jun vs Tiger
Film- Flash Point
After an attempted assassination Detective Ma chases down criminal Tiger (Xian Yu) into a crowded restaurant. When Tiger uses a child as a human shield it is too much Detective Ma and the fight is on. Inspired by mix martial arts the fight is a lot of lighting fast knees and punches with a pro wrestling suplex thrown in for good measure.
6- The Real Grand Master
Film- Ip Man 3
Despite being the most recent in the Ip Man series the third installment was just as action packed as the ones before. There are plenty of fights to spotlight and while the fight against Mike Tyson (and his awkward Chinese dubbing) is fun I had to go with the final battle. Facing off against a self-proclaimed grandmaster Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin) in a series of rounds. First it is a battle of Six and a Half Point poles, then Butterfly swords and finally hand-to-hand combat. It is a beautiful display of old school kung fu action well worth checking out.
5- Ip Man vs Hung Chun-nam
Film- Ip Man 2
Wishing to open his own school Ip Man (Yen) goes through a couple of opponents before going up against Hung Chun-nam (the legendary Sammo Hung). A fight between two screen legends it lives up the hype with some creative Sammo Hung choreography and decent wire work. As good as it is though the two have a much better fight scene as we’ll see later.
4- Scene of the Crime
Film- Wu Xia
Released as Dragon in the US it follows detective Xu Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) investigating the death of two robbers who are killed by shopkeep Lin Jinxi (Yen). Like an ancient Chinese version of A History of Violence he quickly discovers Lin’s true identity as a deadly martial artist. One of the cooler scenes in the film is Xu’s questioning of Lin. Going through the fight the audience watches the fight in slow motion as Xu Baijiu comments on every merciless hit. Darkly comic at times it is an interesting dissection of a fight scene that we rarely see.
3- Ip Man vs 10 Black Belts
Film- Ip Man
Every great martial arts actor seems have a definitive “one vs all” fight scene. For Jet Li took on a group of Japanese kung fu students in Fist of Legend. For Bruce Lee it was him taking on a dojo in Fist of Fury. Heck Jackie Chan has made a career doing great ones in movies like First Strike, Drunken Master 2 and Rumble in the Bronx. For Donnie Yen it is in the original Ip Man film. Forced to fight for rations by the Japanese military Yen as the titular Ip Man takes on a group of 10 black belts. Calmly stepping into the center of the mat Master Ip is able to take out the group with an impressive efficiency. Directed by Wilson Yip and with martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung it is easy to see why Ip Man launched a series of imitators after it came out.
2- THE Alley Fight
Film- SPL: Sha Po Lang
From SPL I call it ‘THE’ Alley Fight because I have yet to see an alley fight that is better. It is a bloody battle where Inspector Ma Kwun faces off against assassin Jack (Wu Jing). Armed with a police baton and a knife, respectively, it’s a fight to the death. There is a certain combination of speed and brutality to the fight rarely seen in most action today.
1- Inspector Ma Kwun vs Wong Po
Film- SPL: Sha Po Lang
Remember when I said there was a better Sammo Hung vs Donnie Yen fight than what we saw in Ip Man 2? This is it. A fist fight Ma Kwun vs Wong Po (Sammo Hung) it is a masterful display of unarmed ombat. It features everything from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, lightning fast hand to hand, Judo and even power moves from Sammo Hung. With it’s unique blend of martial arts and great choreography it is the definitive Donnie Yen movie fight. That said I would love to see Rogue One try to top it.