A few days ago, I was channel-surfing, and found Highlander: Endgame on. I was delighted to find that this is the one with Donnie Yen in it, well, at least for the about 10 minutes of total screen time he gets. And this got me to contemplating, Donnie Yen is WAY underrated. Yeah, you’ve seen Donnie in films like Highlander: Engdame and Blade 2, but what you might not know is that he is also action director on these films. Who else do you think makes Adrian Paul and Wesley Snipes look cool? You’ve seen the brilliance of Donnie Yen, even when you haven’t seen him.
Yeah, we got Jet Li and Jackie Chan, but where is the love for Donnie Yen? Just like Li and Chan, he did his stint paying homage of Bruce Lee by doing the almost obligatory remake of Fist of Fury, but Donnie has a special place in my heart because is SERIOUS about the martial arts film. Ask Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue, his co-stars in Dragon Tiger Gate. In the special features, all of them do their bit on the film. When Nic and Shawn are asked, “So, how did you like working with Donnie Yen?”, they both get the same look in their faces. Fear? Not sure; both are used to doing action films that require a lot of activity, but they both bowed to the master Donnie Yen, who obviously put them BEYOND their paces. Donnie seems to be on a mission to bring back/keep what made the Hong Kong action film the bomb.
Like I said, he’s serious. In the special features for SPL, he’s choreographing a knife fight. So I’m watching, then realize like 20-25 minutes later, I’m still watching him choreograph the same knife fight! That’s commitment. It’s especially good to see him work with someone on his level, like Collin Chou, because I found myself getting nervous when they went at it in Flash Point. While some of us were longing to see the ultimate cool martial arts match-up in Forbidden Kingdom between Jet Li and Jackie Chan, we may have forgotten the legendary fight between Donnie Yen and Jet Li in Once Upon a Time In China 2. Whee!
So, show some love for Donnie Yen! Get out and watch a film! (Any film will do, but you can skip Empress and the Warriors, it is a complete waste of Donnie’s talents!)