Kung fu movies.
Taste the phrase.
We all have our favorite one. And we all have our favorite hero. From Bruce Lee to Jet Li, to Jackie Chan to Sammo Hung; kung-fu fighting has never looked cooler than on the big screen – especially when you know that most old-school stunts are done without Hollywood computer animation or even stuntmen (Jackie Chan is of course well-known, and scarred, for this admirable fact).
Traditional martial arts movies, of which kung-fu movies hold the top spot, appeal to us because we can connect to them in a whole other way than, say, The Matrix or any other random flashy Hollywood action movie of today.
They’re… more genuine.
And, correct me if I’m wrong here guys, but I certainly don’t think it would be an understatement if I wrote that many of us certified Karate Nerds™ probably started out practising the martial arts precisely because of kung-fu movies?
As kids we were easily enchanted by the classical storyline: poor/frail/lonely boy gets bullied, proceeds to meet secretive martial arts master with weird moustache, proves himself through various strenuous tasks, to finally get accepted for one-on-one tutoring in the long lost art of kicking ass through the use of such exotic moves as various ‘animal forms’ (crane, tiger, dragon fist etc.) and hidden death/K.O. points.
Or something like that.
In any case, the coolest part of most martial arts movies is, obviously, the fight(s). Sure, cheesy monologue and awkward dubbing (not to mention the classical hairy mole) has its place (it certainly is memorable), but it is always those special fight moments that you talk about the morning after with the other kids at school. At least that was always the case around my hood.
So, to sort of commemorate those happy ol’ days (I’m talking before you had to grow up and start waching the 6 o’clock news instead of awesome kung-fu movies), last Tuesday I asked you, my dear readers, on the official KbJ community Facebook page, what YOUR all-time favorite must-see movie fight scene was.
Personally, I posted this one (from Fist of Legend with Jet Li):
(See all those nasty, gritty, dirty Karate bunkai in there? Juji uke [cross block] á la Heian/Pinan Godan or Gankaku/Chinto at 2:00 btw!)
And the replies came faster than I could ever have expected!
Which was awesome, of course.
So without further ado, here are, as recommended by the super knowledgeable KbJ Facebook fan page movie connoisseurs, some of the best martial arts fight scenes ever to hit the big screen:
1. Legend of the Wolf (1997) – Donnie Yen vs. Mak Wai Cheung
Donnie Yen is one hell of a guy (he’s also in Iron Monkey, my #1 favorite movie actually) who kicks and punches faster than most. I love the old-school sound effects!
2. Ong Bak (2003) – Tony Jaa vs. Poor Bad Guys
This fight scene became legendary when it first came. Why? It’s just one scene. ONE! I remember people talking about it everywhere!
3. Fist of Fury (1972) – Bruce Lee vs. Japanese Evil Dojo
Bruce Lee kicking ass. This fight was part of the reason the nunchaku (numb-chucks) became banned in most countries. This scene is famous.
4. First Strike (1996) – Jackie Chan vs. Gang of Thugs (feat. Ladder)
Jackie Chan’s unparallelled choreography shines through, as always. And who said a ladder can’t be used as a weapon? Epic.
5. Wheels on Meals (1984) – Jackie Chan vs Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez
At 1:16, Jackie Chan squares off with former world kickboxing champion Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez! Good stuff.
And lastly… a bonus. The training from The Drunken Master (1978) with Jackie Chan – a really classic movie that I must have seen a hundred times!
Now, obviously there’s tons of more awesome fight scenes from many movies. Like I said, these were just some suggested at the KbJ Facebook page a few days back. What I really want to know, of course, is:
What’s YOUR favorite martial arts movie fight?
(and no, Kung-Fu Panda isn’t allowed!)
Share in the comments!