101 GREATEST MARTIAL ARTS FIGHT SEQUENCES OF ALL TIME
JeeJa Yanin kicks ass in Chocolate (2008 - Thailand)
You might have caught this off-topic discussion on the SBN Celtics Blog. However, the list presented there was too short, uninformed and frankly pathetic. We're going to right that wrong here today.
Among the "...of all time..." geek lists, this one's the most hotly debated. I'm not kidding. I will eat my own shit if I'm not called at least one of the following: Idiot, noob, retard, white-boy, nazi, fuck-face or blind. There is zero chance that a single person will agree with even my Top 10.... but the fun is in the discussions. Remember that.
Most of the lists on the net will offer up a Top 10, or a Top 25. Never have I seen a list that went past 50, let alone 100. I will go up to 101 fights here today, though my list actually goes up to 150 (but that's overkill).
Before we start remember the following:
1) This list based on my opinion only... that's it. If you're looking for logic in my choices, you're going to be disappointed.
2) Wait for the "turn." Don't criticize until you have seen the entire sequence, otherwise you won't appreciate it. Most fights have a "turn" halfway through it at which point the fight really begins. Watch each scene completely.
3) Starting flame wars over geeks lists is pathetic. All of this is based on opinion so chill out.
4) Link to your suggestions. Don't just say something is better, link to it. Trust me, it's out there.
5) Shaw Brothers purists will hate this list. You don't have to tell me, I know. I used to be one of them!
- Flashpoint (2007) - (Donnie Yen vs Collin Chou, end sequence): #1 because it's absolutely raw. It's short, efficient and viceral... no waste. The speed, the intensity, realism and the MMA moves makes this a giant killer. This movie is recent, but already a consensus is building that this could one day be recogizned as the best martial arts sequence ever filmed. I'm just ahead of the curve. Donnie Yen uses Karate, Judo, Hapkido, Brazilian Jujitsu and everything in between. When watching you feel these guys really want to kill each other. You must watch the sequence to the end... simply mind-blowing. What's the most common phrase you'll hear when reading reviews of this sequence?
"Totally... fucking... bad ass."
Fist of Legend (1994) - (Jet Li vs General Fujita, end sequence): Generally considered to be the best ever filmed until Flashpoint came along. Most consider this movie to be the best overall martial arts film of all time. This movie was the reason Woo Ping was hired to do the Matrix. Jet Li does just about everything here including fighting with only one arm. Watch for when he starts fighting with his own frickn belt! There's a good reason why he was a four time world Wushu champion.
- Drunken Master 2 (1994) - (Jackie Chan storms the compound, end sequence): Another one that generally shows up in the #1 spot on most lists. It starts slow but builds and builds. Jackie Chan pulls off almost every stunt in the book including falling into a real fire. Fast paced and tightly choreographed, this scene has everything. He's a master at using his environment as a weapon and this scene doesn't disappoint. Ken Lo's kicking style is just crazy. The fight finally builds up to a crescendo when he drinks industrial alcohol to gain the strength to defeat his foe. EPIC!
- Ong Bak (2003) - (Tony Jaa storms the cave, end sequence): This one sequence made Tony Jaa into a worldwide super star overnight. His acrobatic skill, speed and creative use of Muay Thai is simply incredible. This scene has the most amazing single kick (while on fire) ever put to film. He also uses swords, a Bo, Escrima sticks and night sticks. When people say that his entire body is a weapon... watch this scene and you'll know exactly what they mean.
- Ong Bak 2 (2008) - (Tony Jaa comes home, end sequence): What happens when your first film is an absolute blockbuster? People let you do whatever you want with an unlimited budget for the sequel. Try combining Conan the Barbarian with Fist of Legend and Game of Death and you got Ong Bak 2. In this scene he has to fight off an army and does so using Muay Thai, Southern Crane, Tiger Fist, Karate, various sword techniques and meteor hammers. Watch him switch between Tiger Fist and Muay Thai mid-fight to match the opponent's style (4:10 part 1).... it's incredible. He also uses elephants as weapons. You'll feel exhausted after watching this. In two parts.
Fist of Legend (1994) - (Jet Li takes on the whole Noiguchi Clan): This scene is just amazing. Jet Li takes on an entire school in order to get his revenge. Speed, accuracy and power are all on display. I love how he dispatches the entire Karate class without even breaking a sweat.
- Way of the Dragon (1972) - (Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris): This could easily be #1 and is on many lists. I think his best fight ever, not because the fighting is so great (which it is) but because he does it with SO MUCH STYLE. In fact, most of Bruce's scenes don't hold up well compared to modern films because it was only after he was gone that choreographers decided to actually have fighters hit each other, rather than just make glancing blows. Regardless, this scene shows off his amazing speed and just oozes cool.
Wheels on Meals (1984) - (Jackie Chan vs Benny the Jet): At one time considered to be the best fight scene filmed. So simple, yet so perfect. The fighting is visceral, tight and fast. Benny the Jet is just amazing here and the choreography is just spot on. This is the fight that real martial artists (the ones who compete) love. Sorry I couldn't record this myself. This is the best recording I could find on Youtube. Spreken zie speed?
Fist of Legend (1994) - (Jet Li vs the Aging Karate Master): China vs Japan, let's get it on! This fight has speed, power and a lot of acrobatics. The choreography is as flashy as can be. It's incredible to me that Yasuaki Kurata could be so good at this age.... he holds his own against Jet Li. This fight also contains one of my favorite Shaw Brother's cliches... fighting blind-folded. By the end of the fight it turns into a balls-out Hapkido battle.
The Matrix (1999) - (Subway fight, motel chase and finale): Why is this here? Let's face it, this fight (starting from the subway) with the chase and the finish make up one of the greatest movie finales of all time. The build-up starts with the subway fight and rises until Neo truly becomes, "The One." When was the last time you saw this scene pop up on TV and was able to change the channel. Yup, thought so. Does this scene have top notch martial arts? Well, it's choreographed by Woo Ping, but in general it's not the best scene around. It's the whole build-up to the explosive and satisfying climax that makes it great. No need to explain... you already know and love this sequence.
Once upon a time in China 1 (1991) - Jet Li in the "ladder fight"
Incredible multi-level fight with Jet Li fighting from every conceivable position and angle.
Kill Bill I (2003) - Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves (whole sequence)
This is technically a parody of a Kung Fu movie, but the scope and scale are so huge it actually becomes an incredible fight. Uma isn't great, but the amount of bodies she has to go through is truly staggering. This is about as cool as a fight scene can get. It's so stylized that the poor fighting actually becomes cool. I love it.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) - Sword fight, Michelle Yeoh vs Ziyi Zhang. Best girl/girl fight?
So well choreographed and smooth. This is like silk on the screen... simply a beautiful fight scene. Just watch it.
Who Am I (1998) - Jackie Chan in rooftop scene
This scene is the meaning of death-defying. At any second Jackie could fall off the roof and he does his own stunts. The Tae Kwon Do fighting style is electric and fast.
The Protector (2005) - Tony Jaa cracks bones, end sequence
How many bones can you break in one fight scene? You can find out in this scene. The ending is amazing... he commits suicide to kill his enemy. Holy shit...it doesn't get any more bad ass than that.
Ong Bak (2003) - Tony Jaa in bar fight
One after another, he doles out powerful elbows and knees with an incredible amount of style. You've never seen anything like it before. That's why this movie was such a hit.
Drunken Master 2 (1994) - Jackie Chan vs Axe Gang
Jackie needs to use everything around him to survive from being killed by 100 assassins with fucking axes! And they basically destroy the entire building. The oiled bamboo Bo is his best improvised weapon ever.
The Protector (2005) - Tony Jaa vs Capoeira Champion, "the water fight"
More new stylings from Tony Jaa. He's always got something fresh. This time he fights a Cuban style Capoeira champ... in a flooded building with fires raging all around him. Speed, anticipation and some Muay Thai asskickery win the day.
Dragons Forever (1988) - Jackie Chan vs Benny the Jet, end sequence
One of his best. People are crashing through walls, windows, falling from stairs and balconies. I'd be surprised it nobody had to go to the hospital after this stunt-filled fight scene. To top it off, another excellent showdown with K-1 champ, Benny the Jet. Many consider this to be Jackie's best fight scene.
Project A 2 (1987) - Jackie Chan using the bamboo and building chase, end sequence
This scene made Jackie a truly international star. This scene has been copied over and over again because of how well Jackie uses his environment. He uses everything to fight and escape from his enemies. This is truly a must see, especially the Buster Keaton homage at the end.
Police Story (1985) - Jackie Chan destroys an entire mall
Jackie's stunt team nearly kill themselves by pulling off the craziest, stunt-filled sequence EVER! Scenes like this will never be made again due to insurance issues. Just watch it... he did ALL OF HIS OWN STUNTS in this scene. In the middle of the fight he gets thrown off a two story balcony directly to the ground. No tricks. He had to go to the hospital. Fucking maniac.
Drunken Master 2 (1994) - Jackie Chan in the, "Mom told me to..." fight, Drunken Boxing demonstration
Classic Drunken Boxing demonstration scene. One of his funniest too. Great use of props and comedy.
Gorgeous (1999) - Jackie Chan's rematch with Bradley James Allen
Speed, speed, speed! Bradley James Allen is Jackie's fastest opponent ever. This fight looks so good. Just man vs man and tons of speed thrown in.
Police Assassins (1985) - Michelle Yeoh & Cynthia Rothrock take on everyone (best girl fight scene?)
Most frequently voted the best female fight scene ever. It has stood the test of time. I'm ranking it second here because it's attached to a truly horrible movie. However, this scene is a must see with Cynthia Rothrock at her best. The stunts in this scene would even scare Jackie... I refuse to believe that nobody got hurt during the filming. About a ton of glass was broken during this scene. Just incredible.
Chocolate (2008) - JeeJa Yanin vs everyone in end fight (best girl fight scene?)
I LOVE THIS MOVIE. JeeJa Yanin trained for four years for this movie... which was written expressly for her and her alone. She plays an autistic savant that can mimic any Kung Fu movie she watches and execute the moves in a real fight. She does a perfect imitation of Bruce Lee and Tony Jaa on her enemies. My favorite scene is when she fights a Capoeira fighter with Tourette syndrome (lots of ticks). Since she absorbs everything, she gets the ticks too and that's how she beats him: she becomes him. The end sequence where she fights hanging off the side of a building is amazing. The story was touching too. Mark my words, JeeJa Yanin is going to be a super star.
=============== THE REST ===============
Matrix Reloaded (2003) - Neo vs. vampires in Merovingian's mansion
Iron Monkey (1993) - Poisoned Shaolin Palm fight, aka trapping the Iron Monkey scene
Thunderbolt (1995) - Jackie Chan fights Yakuza in Keno room
The Transporter (2002) - Jason Statham in bus depot, oil fight
Star Wars - Phantom Menace (1999) - OB1 and Qui Gon fight Darth Maul (Ray Park)
The Rebel (Dong Mau Anh Hung) (2007) - Train track fight, highest grossing Vietnamese film ever
Fearless (2006) - Jet Li in final fight vs Karate master, aka "poisoned"
Fist of Legend (1994) - Jet Li fights Ting Ahn for control of Jing Woo school
China Strike Force (2000) - Mark Dacascos in end fight
S.P.L. (2005) - Donnie Yen in alley scene, night stick vs knife
Mission Impossible 2 (2000) - Final beach fight
Hero (2002) - Jet Li vs Donnie Yen, the fight that's "in the mind"
S.P.L. (2005) - Donnie Yen vs Sammo Hung in end sequence
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) - Rooftop chase and fight, Michelle Yeoh vs Ziyi Zhang
Ong Bak 2 (2008) - Tony Jaa in the test of fighting styles
Police Story 3 (1993) - Jackie Chan vs Ken Lo
Pedicab Driver (1989) - Sammo Hung vs Billy Lau in the end fight
The Matrix (1999) - Neo vs. Morpheus, dojo training simulation, "I know kung fu."
Star Wars - Attack of the Clones (2002) - Yoda vs Doku
Way of the Dragon (1972) - Bruce Lee vs Italian Thugs, cracking bones in the alley scene
Ong Bak 2 (2008) - Tony Jaa does drunken boxing
The Protector (2005) - Tony Jaa storms the restaurant (Good Fellas homage)
Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985) - Jackie Chan in factory fight scene
IP Man (2008) - Donnie Yen takes on Judo fighters
Anamatrix (2003) - Duo's test
Kill Bill 2 (2004) - Uma Thurman vs Daryl Hannah in Bud's trailer
Fearless (2006) - Jet Li in the Tea House fight
Hapkido (1972) - Angela Mao kicks ass in the dojo fight
Legend of the Wolf (1997) - Donnie Yen in the forest fight
Transporter 2 (2005) - Jason Statham fights with a hose in the warehouse
Once Upon a Time in China 3 (1993) - Jet Li in the slippery floor battle
Chinese Connection (1972) - Bruce Lee crashes a dojo and beats everyone
Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992) - Jet Li vs Donnie Yen in the end fight
The Protector (2005) - Tony Jaa vs Bikers, amazing stunt scene
Blade 1 (1998) - Wesley Snipes cuts through everyone in the end fight
Eastern Condors (1987) - Sammo Hung & Yuen Biao in end fight in underground bunker
Drunken Master I (1978) - Jackie Chan classic, end sequence
Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992) - Jet Li in Lotus sect fight
Police Story 2 (1988) - Jackie Chan in playground fight
Beauty Investigator (1992) - Moon Lee in end fight
Fearless (2006) - Jet Li in village challenges
Drunken Master 2 (1994) - Jackie Chan fights under the train
Kickboxer (1989) - Jean-Claude Van Damme in the end fight gets revenge
Zen Kwun Do Strikes in Paris (1979) - John Liu's end fight on a boat
Bourne Identity (2002) - Matt Damon in Paris apartment fight
Angel (1987) - Moon Lee vs Yukari Oshima
Dragons Forever (1988) - Jackie Chan in boat fight
My Young Auntie (1981) - Lau Kar Leung and Hsiao Ho in end fight
Body Guard from Bejing (1994) - Jet Li vs Collin Chou in end fight, "gas fight"
Dragons Forever (1988) - Jackie Chan vs Sammo Hung vs Yuen Biao, real best friends fight
Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006) - End fight sequence
Enter the Dragon (1973) - Bruce Lee vs Ohara
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) - Xing Yu vs the Axe Gang, reborn, final sequence
Blade 2 (2002) - Blade cracking helmets
Legend of the Red Dragon (1994) - Best kid fight scene
Police Story 4 / First Strike (1996) - Jackie Chan in ladder fight
Millionaires Express (1986) - Sammo Hung in end fight
Shadowless Sword (2005) - Seo-jin Lee in market scene
Blonde Fury 3 (1989) - Cynthia Rothrock vs Mauy Thai fighter, fighting in a dress
Forbidden Kingdom (2008) - Jet Li vs Jackie Chan
IP Man (2008) - Donnie Yen vs Northerner
Knockabout (1979) - Sammo Hung in end fight
Moon Warriors (1993) - Fishing village fight
District 13 (2004) - Cyril Raffaelli raiding the casino
The Victim (1980) - Leung Ka Yan vs Cheung Yick, end fight
Prodigal Son (1982) - Yuen Biao vs Frankie Chan
Rumble in the Bronx (1995) - Jackie Chan in warehouse fight scene
Tai Chi Master / Twin Warriors (1993) - Jet Li in temple fight
Iron Fisted Monk (1977) - Sammo Hung in end fight
Drive (1996) - Mark Dacascos in end fight
Game of Death (1978) - Bruce Lee vs. Billy Lo, nunchaku scene
Born to Fight (2004) - Entire end fight
Armour of God 2 (1991) - Jackie Chan in wind tunnel fight
NOTE: Keep it civil and direct your criticisms towards me and not each other. Everyone likes different things and there's nothing wrong with that. If you don't want to talk about martial arts movies, I'm also making lists for best car chases and best gun fights... would appreciate your suggestions for those.
Also, to insure good video quality, I re-recorded and uploaded 54 of these scenes myself... but the rest are just what's on Youtube so I apologize for the crappy quality on those.