Most fans of Kung Fu flicks mostly know Donnie Yen for his high flying acrobatic kicks and sword play. He’s been classic Chinese wuxia films such as Once Upon A Time In China II & Hero alongside Jet Li. He made a huge splash in the film Iron Monkey and appeared in American movies such as Blade II and Shanghai Knights (which featured Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson).
Yen started training martial arts at a young age. His mother was a Tai Chi grandmaster whom he started out with. From there he had studied at the Beijing Wushu Team, started Karate and began Tae Kwon Do in his teens. But it wouldn’t stop there. He’d also began to learn everything from Muay Thai, Judo, and even Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He even fooled around with break dancing.
For almost two decades, Yen had become a fan of MMA and especially the UFC. MMA has inspired Yen so much that he had begun incorporating a lot more realistic and MMA-inspired moves in his films.
One of the first films that he did this in was titled SPL: Sha Po Lang, also known as Kill Zone in the United States. The film was released in 2005.
The final fight scene which features Sammo Hung (another revered figure in the world of Kung Fu & Hong Kong films) displayed swift and impressive moves by Yen. What starts out as a standup fight which incorporated more boxing like punches and powerful round house kicks eventually goes to the ground when Yen’s character goes for a double leg takedown.
Yen begins to start a barrage of punches but is eventually reversed. After the two toss each other back and forth, it eventually reaches the ground again where Yen takes his opponent down, gets his back and tries to apply a rear naked choke. But fight is halted by a…phone call…yes, a phone call.
Eventually, the fight continues where Yen actually initiates a flying armbar and decides to break his opponent’s wrist instead of his arm once they landed. It’s too bad that professionals can’t do that.
It’s an exciting back and forth scene that’s a fresh take on Hong Kong-style action films. Yen’s incorporation of ground work compliments the handful of flashy flying kicks he also throws.
Check out the nonstop action in the video.
Clyde Erwin Barretto is an emphatic obsessed fan of mixed martial arts, combat sports and body movement. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeBarretto.