These are in no order and definitely not meant to be a definitive top ten list. Doing a definitive list would take me a year of thinking and re-watching films (And how awesome would that be?) It would also stretch even YouTube’s limits as a source.
Anyway, here’s some kung fu goodness. Enjoy and make sure to check out part two, featuring another 10 classic fights.
Jackie Chan vs. Dick Wei in Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars
I think these guys fought five thousand times in the 80s. This one fight always stuck out in my mind. Dick is the guy in the red shirt that comes in a few seconds into the fight.
Quick, but great.
Directed and action by Sammo Hung*
Jet Li vs. Billy Chow from the end of Fist of Legend
Billy Chow is one of my favorite screen fighters from the 90s. Discovered by Sammo Hung, this kickboxer provided a bunch of highlight reel stuff throughout the 90s. This is one of his best moments, playing the heavy in what might be Jet Li’s best martial arts** film.
I actually had a hard time picking a clip from this film. The Dojo fight earlier is maybe even a little better, even if it doesn’t have Billy Chow.
Directed by Gordon Chan. Action by Yuen Wo-Ping.
Finale of Drunken Master 2. Jackie Chan vs. Ken Lo
Truly one of the great fight scenes ever filmed. From one of the greatest pure fight films ever made. As the standard anecdote goes, Lo was Chan’s real life bodyguard. He’s also a pretty good kicker.
Directed (credited) by Lau Kar-Leung. Jackie took over after a falling out with the master. Jackie and his team did the action for this scene.
Jet Li Drunken Boxing in Last Hero in China
I just dig this scene. There are plenty of problems with this Wong Jing*** helmed Wong Fei Hung film. This fight isn’t one of them. I get all geeked out when “On the General’s Orders” comes on about 2:30 in…
Directed by Wong Jing. Action by Yuen Wo-Ping.
Sammo Hung vs. Lau Kar Leung from Pedicab Driver
Two of the greatest talents ever to work in the genre face off in a classic battle. Lau was 53 when this sequence was filmed, by the way.
Directed and Action by Sammo Hung.
Donnie Yen vs. Michael Woods from In the Line of Duty IV
This is a prototypical 80s style fight (and film.) Michael Woods is a great screen fighter and Donnie is, obviously, on of the greatest screen fighters of all time.
Michael Woods, as big as he is, can do Hwang Jiang Lee’s triple kick. Just thought you should know.
He does a great double kick in this one.
Directed and Action by Yuen Wo-Ping
Cynthia Rothrock & Michelle Yeoh In Yes Madam
Michelle Yeoh is all kinds of awesome and contrary to what you might think, under the right tutelage Cynthia Rothrock can fight her ass off on-screen.
This is a really good example from the slew of films featuring female protagonists in the 80s. Yes, I said “slew.” Where Hollywood had Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and little else that I can remember, Hong Kong produced a few dozen films featuring ass-kicking female leads.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Directed and Action by Corey Yuen Kwai
Lau Kar Leung and Lau Kar Wing in Legendary Weapons of China
This is the sort of intricate choreography that old school fans drool over. From one of the greatest martial arts move ever made, by the way. Lau Kar Leung is truly a master of the genre. If I had to pick just one martial arts film to represent the genre, 36th Chamber of Shaolin would be on my short list of candidates.
Directed and Action by Lau Kar Leung.
Jackie Chan “playground fight” from Police Story 2
Easily one of Jackie’s best sequences. Pure mid 80s Hong Kong action brilliance. Stay with it to the very end for a great (and dangerous) little car stunt.
Speaking of stunts, pay close attention to the bumps these guys take. Those aren’t special “soft” jungle jims. What you see is what you get- being a Hong Kong stunt man in the 80s was like being a superhero.
Directed and Action by Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan from Police Story. “The Mall Fight”
Saving the best for last, here’s the greatest action sequence of all time- the blistering finale of Jackie Chan’s original Police Story. I could write a book just on this scene.
And yes, both Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung are in this film.
Directed and Action by Jackie Chan
*I’m doing my best to credit folks for the work here. It’s not an exact science, and I’m working from memory. Also, these fights were collaborative efforts between the director, the stunt men, the action director and whoever else was on set, so there are a lot of people that deserve props for these gems.
**he’s been in better movies. This one works really well as a pure martial arts film.
***Not that that means I don’t like Wong Jing’s work. Quite the opposite. I unashamedly think he’s a genius.
Want more? check out- 8 Great Screen Fighters – Hong Kong’s Greatest Martial Arts Movie Stars