The Greatest Martial Artists On Screen Part 2
Well versed in many styles of martial arts Donnie Yen has since brought his talents to the screen several times one impressive movie at a time. Working his way up in the movie industry in the 90’s Yen put in some good time on sets to know his way around films, since he already knew his way around a mat. One of his earlier notable roles would be in the Marvel action movie Blade II where he starred alongside Wesley Snipes and Ron Perlman, behind the scenes here he also put his hand to some of thee choreography which would be something he was more than capable of. In the same year he also starred in the renowned box office hit Hero putting him on the bill with several other great martial artists. However, it was Ip Man, the biographical film that really brought him into the spotlight. This film adored by fans and martial artists alike shows the life and incredible career of the martial arts grandmaster who trained some of the greatest talents in the industry, Yen is still celebrated for this role today.
Though from a distance he may seem like the embodiment of cultural appropriation Chuck Norris is actually an avid learner of martial arts and trained with none other than Bruce Lee among others. Known for his omnipresence in Americanised action films of the 1980’s this red-haired, wide jawed lumberjack-looking fellow is responsible for bringing some fantastic fight scenes to people who probably wouldn’t be interested otherwise. Norris shifted from martial arts to all out guns blazing action but still retains his abilities in close combat. Today he is popularised as an internet meme where ‘facts’ about him reach impressive levels of absurdity such as him being able to cut a hot knife with butter.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Known as the muscles from Brussels Van Damme is a name inseparable from martial arts. Known for his slim frame and flexibility this professional in Karate and Kickboxing wowed audiences in the late 80s as his career picked up some incredible momentum. With titles such as the aptly named Kickboxer and Bloodsport, Van Damme quickly became a household name thanks to his fighting prowess which saw him execute seemingly deadly moves with his limbs. His fame did not deplete as he starred in the not so well-loved video game adaptation Street Fighter and moved into more comedic roles. Today he continues his streak in a faux-reality show called Jean Claude van Johnson.
A much more recent star of the martial arts film scene, Iko Uwais shot to instant stardom as the lead in the Indonesian film The Raid. This ground-breaking action film saw some of the best close quarters fist fights in recent cinema along with a simple yet intense story and rousing soundtrack. The sequel did not fall short either, building on an already talented cast as pushing the boat out even further with slow motion mud bouts and seemingly tighter corridor bouts. Now ever present in lower budget martial arts movies, Uwais can be seen all over Netflix as his promising career just begins to blossom.