Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen are both action movie legends – and here’s a look at when the two fought in fight scenes.
Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen are two of the biggest martial arts stars in the world, and they’ve faced each other in kung fu battles twice over the years. During his very long career, kung fu star Jackie Chan has brought audiences as many thrills as laughs with his penchant for comedic action movies filled with martial arts and death-defying stunts. Chan’s level of physical dedication is also second to none, with Chan sustaining one painful injury and one broken bone after another, many of them captured for the world to see in the frequently included snippets at the end of many of his films. Jackie Chan.
Donnie Yen has also been in the business since the mid-80s, but only really broke in the mid-2000s when he infused MMA into Hong Kong action movies via Sha Po Lang and Breaking point. Yen’s portrayal of the eponymous grandmaster of Wing Chun and mentor to the legendary Bruce Lee in the Ip-Man the movies later made him a household name to Western audiences. Both Chan and Yen still make action films, although Chan’s roles are now much less stunt-intensive due to the myriad injuries he’s suffered over the course of his career. Yen didn’t establish himself in the West as much as Chan until much later, but he’s just as recognizable now, and today Yen has become one of the biggest and most revered martial arts stars. in the world.
Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen have fought many formidable villains and, once in a while, heroes in their respective action movie careers. Naturally, Chan and Yen had to come face-to-face on the big screen sooner or later, with the pair eventually battling twice. With Jackie Chan’s penchant for comedy and Yen’s fighting versatility in his MMA films, their first confrontation has a lighter twist, their second taking Chan outside of his usual comfort zone with edged weapons also coming into play. Here are both Jackie Chan’s fight scenes against Donnie Yen and the movies they appear in.
Shanghai Knights arrived at the height of Jackie Chan’s conquest of Hollywood and is widely regarded as one of his best Western action comedies, although it trades in the Americanized element of Shanghai noon for a trip across the pond to Victorian England. At the same time, Donnie Yen, still years away from his Western fame following Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the spy movie xXx: The Return of Alex Cagehad only made two other American films at the time in Highlander: Endgame and Blade II. This presented Yen as a relatively fresh face to Western audiences, and thus a perfect foil for Chan and Owen Wilson’s A-list presence. Shanghai Knights. Picking up in 1887, Shanghai Knights sees Chan’s Chon Wang, now sheriff of Carson City, Nevada, on a mission to London to avenge the murder of his father and stop a royal assassination plot. Naturally, his old friend Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) is back to lend a hand to Chon and continually pronounces his name as “John Wayne“, while Chon’s sister, Lin (Fann Wong), also signs up for the mission.
Donnie Yen appears as the film’s secondary villain, Wu Chow, sent to assassinate the royal family to obtain China’s Imperial Seal. With Chon being the kind of underdog Chan usually portrays in stunt-heavy action comedies such as Police Story, Wu Chow proves to be a much stronger opponent than he has ever faced before (despite his propensity for jump kicks and tiger claw strikes). Compared to Chan’s usual Buster Keaton-inspired comedic fight scenes throughout Shanghai Knights, his kung fu showdown with Yen is the film’s most straightforward martial arts fight and really showed what Yen could do better than any American movie had managed at the time. Luckily, Lin shows up for some explosive last-minute help that perfectly matches the silliness of the Shanghai movies boast. The reception for Shanghai Knights clearly showed that he had surpassed Shanghai noonA mix of Wild West action and anachronistic comedy, but Wu Chow’s defeat isn’t widely recognized as one of the funniest moments in either film.
Twins Effect II
Although Jackie Chan began to walk away from directing American action films in the mid-2000s, he still found time to make a brief appearance in the first Twin effect, which Donnie Yen co-directed alongside Dante Lam. As a result, there’s certainly a sense of accomplishment here as Chan and Yen go head-to-head in Twins Effect II (released in the west of Blade of Kings). Yen plays General Lone, a warrior who wants to free the country of Huadu from the tyrannical rule of a sinister queen. His journey takes him on an adventure with many allies and foes along the way until he finally meets the last man standing in his way, Chan’s Armor Lord.
Chan and Yen’s second big-screen fight is the reverse in every way of their Shanghai Knights fight, being more weapons-based and putting Chan, in particular, into whole new territory. Chan isn’t exactly known for his wuxia-style action and wired fu, but the first Enter the dragon stuntman handles the somewhat foreign territory well alongside Twin effectdownplayed the emphasis on comedy and outtakes. The conclusion of their duel also avoids there being a true winner and puts more emphasis on the two finding mutual respect as General Lone reaches the pinnacle of his mission. It’s always fun to watch Chan dip his toes in new waters and reinvent his character, and his battle with Donne Yen in Twins Effect II is an exact example of this in a sword duel between two martial arts legends. Although Chan doesn’t perform as many stunts while diving headfirst out of buildings these days, and Yen Ip-Man the movie days are over, the pair left a legacy as action stars and martial artists around the world, which means fans of both Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen would be remiss to miss the two times they faced each other.
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