Donnie Yen is one of those martial artists who probably doesn’t get enough praise for what he does. We couldn’t tell you why that is – maybe he isn’t “flashy” enough, or maybe he’s just a little bit too raw for Hollywood and other big budget films to start casting him as a hero for the masses.
But that’s exactly why we like Donnie Yen so much, because he exudes an essence of raw brutality while fighting. Even though he started out learning tai chi and wushu at the age of four, he soon progressed to harder styles such as boxing, kickboxing and taekwondo. This combination makes for a very “street” fighting style in many of his movies. Instead of dancing around his opponent or snaking through their defences, he often opts for the alternative – pummelling his way through.
1. Street Chase – Flash Point (2007)
Seeing as we’ve been talking about how brutal Donnie Yen can be, it only makes sense to showcase a scene that backs that up. In this scene from Flash Point, he chases down a bad guy who decides to use a child as a human shield, before throwing her to the ground and seriously injuring her (read: signing his own death wish). Donnie Yen then proceeds to pummel his way through the guy’s defences with a barrage of knees, before delivering an unforgiving finish – he also break out a suplex at one point which is just awesome.
You know it’s bad when you see the child hit the floor and all that goes through your head is – “mistake”.
2. Donnie Yen vs. Jet Li – Once Upon A Time In China 2 (1992)
This film was Donnie Yen’s first big break after establishing his reputation as a solid on-screen fighter. Having trained under Master Wu Bin at the Beijing Wushu Academy – where Jet Li was also a student – it made sense that these two would eventually come head to head in the world of cinema.
When they did, few were prepared for what they were about to witness. Some say the scenes revolutionised the standards of Hong Kong martial arts choreography at the time, and are still regarded among the best fights ever created in Hong Kong film history.
3. Donnie Yen vs. 10 Karate Practitioners – Ip Man (2008)
When you’re playing the role of the first martial arts master to teach Wing Chun, it’s safe to say you have a lot to live up to. In this scene Donnie Yen proves that he was the perfect choice for the role, using countless simple but effective technques that the martial art is known for. Just because he likes to finish people off quickly, there are a few points where he decides dislocating someone’s hip, or putting a
firm crushing elbow to the back of their neck is the best course of action.
One part of Donnie’s fighting style that he’s well known for is the blinding speed at which he can deliver punches. He doesn’t disappoint, because at various points he punches people to the ground with a series of strikes that a drummer would struggle to keep up with. You can’t help but feel sorry for the final Karate practitioner – despite the fact he was probably quite confident going into the fight.
4. Donnie Yen vs. Two Assassins – Wu Xia/Dragon (2011)
There comes a point where our favorite heros like to relax or try and withdraw from the world of ceaseless fighting and seeing their loved ones get hurt. As we all know however, when they try to do that, someone else will be there to provoke them and push every button then can in an attempt to force their hand.
In this scene, you can see Donnie Yen is reluctant to fight, right up until the point one of the assassins kills an innocent bystander – with plans to repeat said indiscretion. Being the noble man that he is, Donnie doesn’t let that happen and decides to reopen his bag of blistering moves to prevent anymore people getting hurt.
5. Donnie Yen vs. Jing Wu – Kill Zone S.P.L (2005)
In an effort to save his boss from harm’s way – a questionable act in itself – Donnie Yen brings a case of seized money back to the villain of the movie. On his way, he’s met by said villain’s most proficient killer, in the form of Jing Wu. Donnie and Jing come up against one another in other movies as well, so if you’re a fan of this one, you can find more of the same online.
The use of weapons in this one is a nice change of pace – police baton vs. giant knife. It takes a few slashes for Donnie to find the proper “motivation” to actually start fighting, but he makes up for a slow start quite nicely.
6. Final Fight – Ip Man (2008)
Another one from Ip Man – yes, it really is that good.
It’s a final fight scene, there isn’t much that can be said apart from that. Donnie Yen’s cool as a cucumber in this particular scene, delivering a lot of direct hits with minimal effort, again, a staple of Wing Chun.
Because it’s difficult to track down clips from the sequels to this movie – we want to make a personal recommendation. If you like the scenes from Ip Man – buy or download the other two movies, you won’t be disappointed.
7. Donnie Yen vs. Bandits – 14 Blades (2010)
While not one of his most brutal, or even best fights – we didn’t want you thinking Donnie Yen was a heartless monster with no sense of humour. So here he is protecting a group of travellers from some bandits with his weapon of choice – a chicken drumstick.
8. Double Handed Sword vs. Guan Dao – The Lost Bladesman (2011)
A movie about the legendary general Guan Yu from the Three Kingdoms era is of course going to feature his iconic weapon, the guan dao. Both of the fighters in this scene are using weapons that would look more comfortable in the hands of a 12 foot tall demi-god, but somehow they manage to pull it off.
This movie has a lot of mixed reviews, but there’s no denying that this scene is full-on. The weapons they’re using look like they could cut through a tree with little resistance, and if you don’t know what a guan dao is, watch the video to find out.
9. Gangster Street Fight – Legend Of The Fist: Return of Chen Zhen (2010)
Donnie Yen at his most efficient. He flies into the scene (not literally) with a bone-crunching knee. It looks so painful, and the fight is so quick that by the time you’ve opened your eyes from flinching, it’s nearly over.
That doesn’t change the fact it’s atmospheric – with a lot of lightning fast martial arts being employed against a horde of wrong doers.
10. Donnie Yen vs. Sammo Hung – Killzone – S.P.L (2005)
If you remember the scene from earlier where Donnie Yen dispatches Jing Wu, you’ll know that the only logical conclusion was for our brutal hero to go on to bigger, more challenging things. That challenge happens to be Sammo Hung, another legend of the Hong Kong movie world.
This is a perfect scene to demonstrate Donnie’s versatility because some of the fight actually makes it on to the ground, involving a fair bit of grappling and even getting – dare I say it – scrappy. But that’s why we like Donnie Yen so much, because he gets the job done, instead of worrying about how he looks doing it.
11. Final Fight Scene – Flash Point (2007)
Donnie faces off against Collin Chou is another down and dirty fight. This one is just relentless, the two of them are only concerned with breaking each other. There is nothing held back from every kick and punch they throw, tearing apart their surroundings and eventually each other.
At a time when it wasn’t “cool” to feature grappling and floor-work in your martial arts movies, Flash Point said:
“I’m going to do it anyway.”
So feast your eyes on this excellent fight scene, which in our opinion, is one of Donnie Yen’s best fight scenes of all time. Of course, we welcome opinions and commentary to the contrary – so make your voice heard and tell us what you think once you’ve watched the video.
Hopefully you enjoyed some of Donnie Yen’s best and most brutal fight scenes, if so make sure you share it with your friends so they can get their adrenaline fix for the day.
If you’ve got any ideas for other martial artists you’d like to see featured, tell us! After all we’re here to keep you entertained and showcase martial artists from around the world, as well as countless other aspect of the martial arts world.