Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Question of the Ages: Which Jackie Chan Fight is Better?

Thanks to my friend Peter Chan on a convenient trip to Hong Kong, I was able to secure a copy of Jackie Chan's Dragons Forever from 1988. The film is the last pairing between Jackie Chan and his Chinese Opera mates Sammo Hung and Yeun Biao (incredible fighters in their own right). The final fight scene is an incredible display of acrobatics and choreography by Chan and Biao, but it's the re-match fight between Jackie and Bennie "The Jet" Urquidez that gets most of the talk, and for good reason.

While I've seen the fights already on YouTube, it was great to see them for the first time on my flat screen television. However, the film has re-sparked in my mind a common debate amongst nearly all fight film fans, which of Jackie Chan's fights with Bennie "The Jet" Urquidez is greatest? His first fight with Bennie "The Jet" is found in Wheels on Meals from 1984 and was nearly immediately viewed as one of the greatest single fights of all-time. Four years later, the rematch took place in Dragons Forever.

So, I'm gonna embed both fights below and offer my commentary on each. Afterwards, I'll let you know which I think is better (they are both incredible), but I'm really interested in what you have to say. So, if you have the time, watch the clips below and let me know which fight you find to be better and why.

Jackie Chan vs. Bennie "The Jet" Urquidez #1
Wheels on Meals (1984)

Commentary: Impressive right? It's brutal, quick, and well paced. Jackie and Bennie's fights caught so much attention because they are both not only legitimate fighters but they are legitimate tough guys as well. Supposedly Jackie asked Bennie to be more aggressive than usual hoping the intensity would come across on screen and it certainly does. They are both so well matched, their fights feel real to me. My favorite elements of the fight are the playful back and forth between them as they feel each other's skills out, as well as several well placed slow motion shots and impact shots. The flip and leg sweep combo that Jackie does at 0:13 is just beautiful. The main drawback would be the length. I feel the fight could be a bit longer, as I could've watch them fight for another couple minutes or so.

Jackie Chan vs. Bennie "The Jet" Urquidez #2
Dragons Forever (1988)

Commentary: Again, the back and forth here is just incredible. Jackie gave this fight good pacing as well, as I think there are clearly three distinct acts to this fight. There's some quick acrobatics in this one, as well as that playful humor that Jackie is known for. What takes this one down a notch in my mind is the inclusion of the other fighter. He's funny and interesting, but it takes away from the one on one a bit in my mind. I also dislike the slow-motion fall Jackie takes into the boxes as the fall doesn't look at all harmful. If the other fight was short, this one is a tad shorter and it suffers because of it. It hits high gear in the second half, but a few more minutes of fight would've set this one apart.

The Verdict: I would take the fight from Wheels on Meals as the better of the two.

What do you think? Do you prefer the second one? Tell me why?


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