We were having a discussion on 2013 May 7 about a list of “the 20 most devastating moves in martial arts films.” Here’s what I had to say about that list and some other scenes I’d have added to the list.
I liked most of those, but I always wince at Tony Jaa’s stuff. He puts his body through some brutal treatment to pull off some of those moves (like the double knee drop on the juiced up boxer in Ong Bak‘s final fight!)
I’d have substituted at least one of those for Jet Li’s spiraling “through-the-heart punch” in Fearless, during his character’s last challenge match in Tianjin. Takes place at about 4:21 in this clip: Jet Li Fearless Fight SceneHQ
Jet Li’s The One was probably the first time I’d seen Xingyi and Bagua on the big screen. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was very good, but at least that movie got Baguazhang some film credit. The only other times I’ve seen Baguazhang on the screen were in Wulin Zhi (usually translated as Pride’s Deadly Fury; not very well done outside of the great training scene, which included several classical methods of Baguazhang force training, such as circle walking, the art of Running Through Woods, and Iron Palm) and in The Grandmasters (much better done, with a great sparring match between Baguazhang and Wing Chun stylists, though the climactic fight scene where Zhang Ziyi just charges Ma San and gets a fist to the heart for her troubles is a little weird).
There is a scene in Yip Man 2 where Yip Man spars with a Baguazhang practitioner on a table after defeating a Monkey stylist. That scene was pretty neat, though I’m sure everyone was confused by the Baguazhang practitioner’s palm change movements before the sparring match began; a Baguazhang practitioner does not turn their back unless the situation calls for it!
Yip Man had some great fight scenes (isn’t it often the case that the original movie is better than the sequels?). Perhaps my favorite occurs where a Northern kung fu stylist duels several masters in Foshan (a city famous for Southern kung fu). I do not know what styles the Foshan masters use except for the last one, who is a Xingyiquan master. In the first minute, you can see some glimpses of different kung fu styles, such as Baguazhang (the guys with blue shirts walking in circles), Choi Li Fatt (the guys smashing their arms together, partially obscured by young men jogging in front of them), and some other styles that I do not know. The movie’s final fight scene, between Yip Man (a master of Wing Chun) and the antagonist (who uses Karate and Judo) is a masterpiece of Wing Chun choreography.