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10 Martial Arts Movie Fights That Really Were Unpredictable


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by extreme hd iptv

Summary

  • Martial arts movies create suspense by keeping the outcome of a fight unpredictable, with close battles and surprise endings.
  • Some movies up the ante by demonstrating the strength of the villain and incorporating absurd action sequences.
  • These films feature iconic fights that keep viewers on their toes, with unpredictable tactics, alliances, and outcomes.

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The best martial arts movies keep audiences invested in their fight scenes by never making it clear exactly how the battle will unfold, constantly unfolding new surprises over the course of a single bout of hand-to-hand combat. Even the best Kung Fu movie franchises aren’t usually willing to buck the trend of the hero emerging victorious at the end of the day, making it sometimes difficult for viewers to stay invested in battles with obviously forgone conclusions. However, many of the truly great martial arts action films will go above and beyond to make the outcome of a given fight uncertain.

There are several ways in which a Kung Fu flick can up the ante of suspense in its most climactic fights. Clearly demonstrating the strength of the villain is a great route, outmatching the protagonist in terms of skill and resulting in a close fight that could’ve gone either way, the hero often narrowly avoiding defeat thanks to some lucky shot or outside intervention. Other times, the sheer absurdity of an action sequence can make it utterly impossible for audiences to guess where the battle could progress, in terms of techniques, combatants, and who will come out on top.

10 The Five Shaolin Disciples Vs The Five Masters

Five Shaolin Masters (1978)

Five Shaolin Masters image

After their temple is destroyed in the previous film, Shaolin Temple, by a band of Qing Dynasty invaders, a group of five dedicated Shaolin warriors must gather their strength for a rematch against the five villainous master martial artists in the Shaw Brothers classic, Five Shaolin Masters. The quintet of heroes has to train specifically to counter the styles of their opponents, and it’s not immediately clear that they can win in the resulting five series of duels. Indeed, not every Shaolin is victorious, making the suspense of each battle truly palpable.

9 Ogami Ittō Vs The Akari Yagyū Assassins

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

The Lone Wolf and Cub series features the disgraced wandering executioner, Ogami Ittō, and his infant son, Daigoro. In Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx, Ogami faces off against an all-female assassin’s guild, who constantly surprise him with duplicitous disguises and even a knife hidden in a radish. As the ronin mows them down one at a time, even Daigoro gets in on the action, unleashing the hidden weaponry within his baby cart. This battle keeps viewers on their toes with an endless supply of disguised blades, making a lasting bloody impression.

8 Nameless Vs Long Sky

Hero (2002)

Jet Li as Nameless and Donnie Yen as Long Sky sword fighting in Hero

One of Hero‘s best fights features a battle of wits that plays with audience expectations in an utterly unique way. When Jet Li’s nameless hero duels the spear expert Long Sky, the film suddenly pulls the rug out from under the viewer by revealing that the entire battle was a mental projection of the two opponents, each predicting what the other would do. The film resumes in the real world, where it’s revealed that the careful calculations paid off as Nameless ends Long Sky with a single elegant strike.

7 Jen Vs Shu Lien

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Widely hailed as one of the greatest Kung Fu sword fights of all time, Jen’s duel with Michelle Yeoh’s Shu Lien in the timeless classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the epitome of martial arts suspense. Both women are protagonists in their own right, with each having at least somewhat sympathetic motivations. Jen’s clear advantage of power, youth, and ruthlessness with the mighty Green Dragon Blade is an even match against Shu Lien’s experience and mastery over multiple weapons, as the outcome of the fight is genuinely unclear until the final moments.

6 The Axe Gang Battle

The Legend Of The Drunken Master (1994)

Jackie Chan vs the Axe Gang in The Legend of the Drunken Master

A frequently recurring foe in many films of Hong Kong’s golden age of martial arts movies, the Axe Gang sets their sights on Jackie Chan’s Wong Fei-hung in The Legend Of The Drunken Master. The gang members absolutely pour in from every single available entrance into the hapless restaurant in which Wong is trying to peacefully dine at, presenting some nigh-insurmountable odds for Chan’s character to overcome. Beyond the doubt that’s cast over whether Wong can withstand the storm of armed assailants, the constant guessing as to what improvised weapon he’ll strike with next keeps viewers guessing.

5 Wu Chow Vs Chon Wang

Shanghai Nights (2003)

Shanghai Knights Donnie Yen vs Jackie Chan pic

Despite being a Hollywood-produced action thriller, Shanghai Nights gave a platform for Hong Kong legends Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen to finally face off against one another as Wu Chow and Chon Wang. Donnie Yen’s villainous side comes out with the deadly assassin Chon Wang, who stops at nothing in his attempt on Queen Victoria’s life, putting him face-to-face with Chan’s Wu Chow. Wang’s decisive strikes and overwhelming offense quickly becomes too much for the protagonist to handle, casting doubt on his victory, only for a surprise rocket shot from Chow’s sister to save the day.

4 The Scorpion Reveals Himself

Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

One of the famed Shaw Brothers’ all-time masterpieces, Five Deadly Venoms pits its protagonist against a group of deadly martial artists who’ve each mastered a signature style based on their venomous namesakes — Toad, Lizard, Snake, Centipede, and Scorpion. The film plays with allegiances, casting doubt on who is on who’s side. The final fight features a fantastic double betrayal from Scorpion to Snake and back again, keeping the tension high till the very last moments.

3 Benny Urquidez’s Character Vs Thomas

Wheels on Meals (1984)

Jackie Chan and Benny Urquidez in Wheels on Meals pic

A real-life kickboxer with a fearsome reputation, Benny “The Jet” Uquidez may play a simple un-named thug in Wheels on Meals, but he provides one of the most unexpectedly close battles in Chan’s entire career. Uquidez spends most of the fight completely walloping Jackie Chan’s character, Thomas, with kicks powerful enough to extinguish candles, a feat that Uquidez really performed by accident while filming. The genuine uncertainty as to whether he can be defeated adds some palpable tension to the fight, making it somehow more shocking when Thomas is able to ultimately prevail.

2 Chatchai And Chi-kit Vs Ko Chun

Kill Zone 2 (2005)

One of Tony Jaa’s single best martial arts appearances, Kill Zone 2, also known by its excellent overseas title SPL II: A Time For Consequences, features one of the most intense hand-to-hand fights ever put to screen. Jaa’s Chatchai and Wu Jing’s Chi-kit team up against Max Zhang’s insidious Ko Chun, a criminal overseeing an organ smuggling ring in a Thai prison. Ko Chun seems to barely struggle against the prison guard and undercover cop duo, even knocking Chatchai out, his victory only being foiled by a lucky strike pushing him out of a window.

1 The Trophy Fight

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

When it comes to unpredictability, few can top Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar-winning performance as Evelyn, who thrives off of using “Jump Pads”, statistically improbable actions, to tap into the fighting skills of her many different multiversal selves. The best sequence utilizing the ridiculous technique in Everything Everywhere All At Once centers around a particularly phallic desk trophy, which a rival universe-jumper sticks where the sun doesn’t shine in order to power up. Evelyn goes on to snort a fly, blow air into an opponent’s nose, and send foes flying with just her pinky finger in this indisputably unpredictable martial arts battle.

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