China is said to not only be the world’s fastest growing economy, but also emerging to become the world’s biggest source of box office gold, a prediction that gained some serious legitimacy with the release of “Wolf Warrior II” in the summer of 2017. The mega-hit action film would go on to become the biggest grossing Chinese film of all time by far, and the man behind such an astonishing smash hit is a home-grown martial artist you may have heard of by the name of Wu Jing.
A Beijing-born Wushu exponent, Wu Jing (also credited as “Jacky Wu”) has blown audiences away with his incredible physical skills since the late 90’s, duking it out with everyone from Donnie Yen to Scott Adkins to Tony Jaa. That obviously raises the question of: what are Wu Jing’s most memorable big screen battles? This can only mean one thing, time for another countdown. So, stay close to the ground readers and brace yourself for this storm that’s about ready to whip through, with these Top 10 Wu Jing Movie Fights! (in descending order)
- Tai Chi Boxer (1996) – Hawkman vs Smith
- Drunken Monkey (2003) – Final Duel
- Wolf Warrior (2015) – Leng Feng vs Tom Cat
- Wolf Warrior II (2017) – Leng Feng vs Big Daddy
- SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (2015) – Chan Chi-kit vs Chatchai
- Sha Po Lang (SPL) / Kill Zone (2005) – Alley Fight
- SPL 2: A Time for Consequences – Chan Chi-kit vs Ah-zai
- Legendary Assassin (2008) – Fight in the Rain
- Fatal Contact (2006) – Sanda Match
Wu Jing kicked off his career with 1996’s “Tai Chi Boxer” under the direction of the legendary Yuen Woo-ping. A rough sequel to 1993’s “Tai Chi Master”, it would also notably serve as Woo-ping’s final film as director until 2010’s “True Legend”. However, what really makes it a true relic for martial arts fans was that it also marked the first big break for the late Darren Shahlavi, who had previously been working as a bouncer in Hong Kong before beginning his career in action films. Darren and Wu Jing give it their all and then some in the film’s dynamite final battle, which took sixteen days to film and saw Darren accidentally punching Wu Jing in the face due to the latter’s near-sightedness. Still, that pain proved worth it for the finale of “Tai Chi Boxer”, which is curiously reminiscent of the end fight of “Once Upon A Time in China” in the way our hero and villain sail across the room on ropes in between exchanging blows on one another. (“Tai Chi Boxer” sparked off both Wu Jing and Darren Shahlavi’s careers and after Darren’s untimely passing in 2015, holds as a great specimen of the tenacity and energy he gave each and every time he stepped in front of the camera.)
Wu Jing was still relatively new to the big screen back in the early 2000’s, having mostly worked in television up to that point, with “Drunken Monkey” being his third movie. However, the film would see him shoot right up to working with Hong Kong’s A-listers, with the film being directed by one of the greatest martial arts filmmakers of all time, Lau Kar-leung, who would also appear alongside Wu Jing in a comparatively less common appearance in front of the camera. Together, Lau and Wu Jing would deliver one awesome and downright crazy finale in the last fight of “Drunken Monkey”, doing some serious justice to the wildest kung fu discipline of in existence. “Drunken Monkey” would also mark Lau’s final film as director until his passing in 2013, and between that and the immense insanity of this film’s closing battle, it makes Wu Jing’s one and only collaboration with Lau something we should all be that much more grateful for. (Apologies for the video quality!)
2015’s “Wolf Warrior” is, first and foremost, a military action movie with a side order of martial arts, which doesn’t really kick in until the end of the film. However, considering that it would pit Wu Jing against the great Scott Adkins, it was certainly worth the wait. As the main creative force behind the film, Wu Jing poured his heart and soul into “Wolf Warrior” at every turn, something any viewer can easily infer (he spends the entire last third of the film soaked to the bone with his own sweat). However, nothing worthwhile in life ever comes without lots of effort, and Wu Jing would effectively create a Chinese Rambo in the form of the hero of “Wolf Warrior”, Chinese super-soldier Leng Feng. With an hour and a half of explosions and ballistic action preceding it, Wu and Scott give the audience a superb climax with a down-and-dirty knife fight leaving viewers eager to see them meet again for a rematch. “Wolf Warrior” was one of the biggest Chinese box office hits of 2015, but two years later, Leng Feng would return for China’s all-time biggest smash-hit, “Wolf Warrior II”. Talk about exceeding expectations!
Wu Jing may have scored one of the biggest hits in China with 2015’s “Wolf Warrior”, but he absolutely blew the lid off two years later with what would become the biggest grossing Chinese movie of all time, “Wolf Warrior II”. While the sequel is just as explosion-laden as its predecessor, it also has a significantly greater martial arts component, culminating in Leng Feng’s one-on-one showdown with the take-no-prisoners mercenary Big Daddy, played by Frank Grillo of “Beyond Skyline” and “The Purge” films. As with the original, the amount of blood, sweat, and tears Wu Jing pours into this leading and directing the film is evident in every last frame, while Frank Grillo just leaves us that much more pumped to see what he brings to the forthcoming English-language remake of “The Raid”. It goes without saying that a “Wolf Warrior 3” is inevitable by the end of part two. Hopefully, Wu Jing is able to not only top the one-on-one physical finale of “Wolf Warrior II”, but the money shot of Leng Feng flipping off an enemy’s approaching tank, as well. In our interview with Master Wu Bin, legendary wushu coach to Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Wu Jing, he also mentioned this as his favourite of Wu Jing’s movies – talk about extra icing on the cake!
Talk about kicking things off the right way! 2015 proved a seminal year for Tony Jaa, who made not only his Hollywood debut with “Furious 7”, but his Hong Kong debut as well with “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences”. And sure, he and Wu Jing may ultimately be on the same team by the end, but the audience wasn’t going to get what they came for without (to paraphrase Ken Watanabe in the 2014 “Godzilla” reboot) letting them fight. What really stands out about the opening brawl of “SPL 2” is not only does it pit two legends of action against one another as the first big set piece of the film, but just how ‘minor’ an action scene it ultimately is within the context of the entire film. Compared to what Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, and Max Zhang serve up later in the film, THAT is a minor fight sequence, yet one that would still easily make the highlight reel of both of our leading men. “SPL 2” literally kicks things off with an appetizer that leaves you feeling as if you just wolfed down the main course!
2005’s “SPL” (released in English-speaking countries as “Kill Zone”) made a huge impact as one of the first major martial arts films to predicate its action design around the rising popularity of MMA. However, the film also marked the point where Wu Jing began to emerge as a significant blip on the radar for action aficionados across the globe, and we have his incredible alley duel with Donnie in “SPL” to thank for that. While the combat throughout the rest of “SPL” would blend fists and feet with the grappling manoeuvres popularized within The Octagon, Donnie and Wu Jing’s alleyway battle is a weapons-based affair, Donnie armed with a nightstick and Wu with a knife with the two going at it like there’s no tomorrow. The sheer velocity with which our combatants attack each other is something that must be seen to be believed: you may well require a respirator when it’s all over. This set piece would also have a subtle but significant impact on one of Wu Jing’s later big-screen battles, as you’ll see on the very next entry in this list…
Wu Jing’s other major hit in 2015 came in the form of the gritty and savage “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences”, released in the English-speaking world as “Kill Zone 2”. A spiritual sequel to the 2005 hit “SPL”, the film sees Wu Jing switch from villain to hero in the role of Hong Kong cop Chan Chi-kit, and while the original used MMA influences in its action design, “SPL 2” strove to emulate the viciousness and brutality of “The Raid” films – thoroughly succeeding in that aim!
The prelude to the finale sees Chi-kit doing battle with the nefarious henchman Ah-zai, and this is where that aforementioned influence of the original “SPL” rears its head. While the alley fight with Donnie Yen saw him armed with a nightstick and Wu Jing with a knife, the situation is now completely reversed here. Not only is Wu Jing the combatant the audience is cheering for, but this time, he’s the one with the nightstick while his adversary comes at him with the flesh-shredding assault of throwing knives. It’s a subtle bit of inverted influence from the first “SPL” to the second, but it shows that despite not being a continuation of its story, the DNA of the original continues to run in the veins of the sequel. That, and the fact that it’s just a damn awesome fight sequence!
Wu Jing made his directorial debut with 2008’s “Legendary Assassin”, and considering that he would later go onto direct the biggest Chinese film of all time with “Wolf Warrior 2”, it’s probably safe to say that this was a harbinger of things to come. What really makes the finale of “Legendary Assassin” etch itself into any viewer’s long-term memory is how Wu Jing combines two distinct elements to turn up the battle intensity dial to 11.
Few things can jolt up the power of a fight sequence as much as a torrential rainstorm, but Wu Jing goes even further by putting our hero up against a literal army of opponents, who like the rain coming from the sky, hit him wave after wave, from the ground.
Wu Jing and the stuntmen of the film subject themselves to that much more punishment with the fact that the entire battle takes place on solid concrete, so whether someone’s getting kicked in the face or falling twenty feet onto a concrete slab below, they’re all ending up black and blue one way or another. Wu Jing culminated his freshman outing as director with a losing battle of one man vs. many, and it was most certainly a sign of great things to come!
The full-contact combat sport known in China as “Sanda” (kung fu in the form of full-contact kickboxing) gets some seriously brutal treatment in 2006’s “Fatal Contact”, and nowhere did the film do the national sport prouder than in this blindingly fast smackdown of Sanda warriors.
Always willing to step into the shoes of a beginner to give fans their money’s worth, Wu Jing trained with real Sanda champions to prepare for his role as the down-on-his-luck fighter, Kong Ko, a wise decision given the injuries he experienced during the making of the film. His challenger was certainly no slouch either, in the form of former real-life Shaolin disciple Shi Yan Neng (credited here as Xing Yu), who would himself go onto astonish audiences around the world with his later appearances in “Ip Man”, “The Wrath of Vajra”, and “Super Bodyguard”.
The incredible martial arts mastery our two combatants display here speaks for itself, but their bona fides are only further enhanced knowing that they required only two rehearsals for the fight, and that they had it in the can after just two takes. Now, that’s a WOW-factor nugget of trivia right there!
…and in at #1 is….
SPL 2: A Time for Consequences – Final Battle
It may have be a sequel in the spiritual rather than literal sense to the 2005 hit “SPL”, but “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences” was still the undisputed martial arts movie event of 2015, hence why it has such a presence on this list!
Wu Jing and Tony Jaa may have begun the film as adversaries, but they end it as allies in their efforts to bring the sadistic prison warden, Ko Chun, played by Max Zhang, who between “SPL 2” and “Ip Man 3” would really hit the big time in 2015! Like the film as a whole, what really stands out about the finale of “SPL 2” is how much it positions itself as both Hong Kong and Thailand’s answer to “The Raid” films. Like that 2012 modern classic from Indonesia and its equally amazing 2014 sequel, the finale of “SPL 2” sees two heroes throwing everything they’ve got at a lone enemy, a bloodthirsty sociopath who easily holds both of his enemies at bay, with their combined efforts being just barely enough to conquer the pure evil he’s unleashed throughout the film.
Ko Chun is a far less barbaric villain than Mad Dog, but no less formidable an enemy. In fact, his is the dangerous, evil personality of a cold, surgically calculating control freak, one that condescendingly participates in the task of slaughtering his enemies, never once breaking his stony poker face as he stares down his opponents.
The classical music on the soundtrack also gives the battle an ironic twist, belying the intensity and brutality of these men determined to destroy each other. But above all, it is Wu Jing doing what he does best and leaving our jaws agape with his astonishing wushu abilities as he does it. “SPL 2” was the martial arts film to beat in 2015, one that effectively managed to both homage and contort the best elements of “The Raid” films in its own unique way, culminating in Wu Jing’s most raw, powerful, and spellbinding big screen smackdown to date!
So there we have it folks, 10 of the best Wu Jing movie fights! Which from the list impressed you the most and which other movie moments and action scenes from his filmography catapulted you out of your seat to start emulating his moves? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation and share this on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Got your inner wolf-warrior hungry for more? Well howl about this, feed on KFK’s other FU-packed lists!)