30 Best Donnie Yen Movies of All Time Ranked (Must-Watch!)

Photo by May S. Young

Are you wondering what the best Donnie Yen movies are?

In this article, we’ll list the 30 best Donnie Yen movies and provide information on the plot, the martial arts used, and some of the best scenes you can look forward to.

Best Donnie Yen Movies

The name Donnie Yen resonates with action-packed sequences and unparalleled martial arts skills. 

Born in Guangzhou, China, this martial arts legend has been entertaining us since the 1980s and has been in 78 movies.

With so many movies to pick from, this article will help you choose from the 30 best Donnie Yen movies of all time.

1. Ip Man (2008)

>IMDB Rating: 8

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

The first installment in the series introduces us to Ip Man, a martial arts master living in the city of Foshan during the 1930s. As the Japanese invasion looms, Ip Man’s peaceful life is disrupted. 

The film showcases his resilience and determination as he stands up against foreign oppressors, using his Wing Chun skills to defend his city and its people.

This film set the tone for the series, blending historical events with breathtaking martial arts sequences and brilliant cinematography.

The best scene is when he goes to the dojo run by the Japanese ruler and proceeds to fight 10 of his best black belt karatekas at the same time.

2. Hero (2002)

>IMDB Rating: 7.9

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Set in ancient China, Hero is a visual and narrative spectacle that tells the story of an unnamed warrior, played by Jet Li, recounting his battles with four legendary assassins. 

Donnie Yen, portraying Sky, engages in one of the film’s most memorable duels against Jet Li. Their confrontation, set against the mesmerizing backdrop of a tranquil courtyard, is a dance of swords and strategy. 

The choreography, blending the fluidity of Yen’s movements with the precision of Li’s strikes, is a testament to the art of martial combat. 

However, Hero isn’t just about battles. It’s a poetic exploration of love, sacrifice, and honor, making it a must-watch for martial arts enthusiasts and one of the best Donnie Yen movies of all time.

3. Raging Fire (2021)

>IMDB Rating: 6.6

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

In Raging Fire, Donnie Yen portrays a righteous cop who finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse when he’s forced to confront his former protégé, now a dangerous adversary. 

The film is a roller-coaster of emotions and action, with Yen at the forefront of some breathtaking sequences. His character’s dedication to justice is tested, leading to some of the film’s most explosive fight scenes. 

The climax, a showdown between mentor and protégé, is a masterclass in action cinema. 

This high-octane thriller, filled with intense confrontations and moral dilemmas, is a testament to Yen’s ability to bring depth and authenticity to his roles.

4. Flash Point (2007)

>IMDB Rating: 6.7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%

Flash Point is a high-octane thriller that sees Donnie Yen in the role of Detective Ma Jun, a relentless officer with a penchant for taking down criminals using his formidable martial arts skills. 

Set against the backdrop of a criminal syndicate’s operations, the movie dives deep into the underworld, with Ma Jun at the forefront of the action. 

The climactic battle between Yen and the film’s antagonist, portrayed by Collin Chou, is a cinematic spectacle. 

This intense showdown, set in a desolate warehouse, is a blend of mixed martial arts showcasing swift takedowns, grappling, and striking techniques. 

For fans of modern martial arts cinema, Flash Point is a testament to Yen’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of fight choreography.

5. SPL: Sha Po Lang (2005)

>IMDB Rating: 6.9

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

In the dark and intense world of SPL: Sha Po Lang, Donnie Yen plays Ma Kwan, a cop on a mission to bring down a crime lord, played by the legendary Sammo Hung. 

The movie is a rollercoaster of emotions, punctuated by high-octane fight scenes. One of the standout moments is Yen’s alleyway confrontation with Jack, portrayed by Wu Jing. 

Their battle, filled with raw power and intricate martial arts techniques, is a testament to Yen’s dedication to realistic fight choreography. 

The film’s gritty tone, combined with its compelling storyline, makes it a standout in the action genre.

6. Iron Monkey (1993)

>IMDB Rating: 7.5

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

Set against a backdrop of corruption and injustice, Donnie Yen plays a martial arts doctor who takes on the mantle of the Iron Monkey, fighting against the oppressive government. 

As he battles for the innocent, he’s pursued by an invincible Shaolin monk, leading to some of the film’s most memorable fight sequences. 

Filled with gravity-defying stunts and intricate choreography, one standout moment is a rooftop battle where Yen’s character takes on multiple adversaries, blending acrobatics with traditional martial arts. 

This movie is not just a celebration of martial arts but also showcases Yen’s agility, skill, and commitment to his craft.

7. Ip Man 2 (2010)

>IMDB Rating: 7.5

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

After relocating to Hong Kong in 1949, Ip Man faces challenges in spreading his Wing Chun martial arts due to resistance from rival schools and the oppressive British colonial rule. 

The film is rich in well-choreographed fight sequences, with one of the most significant being Ip Man’s battle against The Twister, a British boxing champion.

Another notable scene is when Ip Man combats the syndicate’s top fighters on a round table, demonstrating his mastery over balance and technique. 

The film culminates in a message of cultural respect and unity, hinting at Ip Man’s future influence on a young Bruce Lee.

8. Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)

>IMDB Rating: 7.3

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%

Set against the backdrop of China’s tumultuous transition into the modern age, the film introduces us to General Lan, a role masterfully portrayed by Donnie Yen. 

As a formidable antagonist, he stands toe-to-toe with Jet Li’s revered Wong Fei-hung. 

Their personal and ideological clashes lead to a series of confrontations, with the most memorable being their duel amidst a complex maze of bamboo ladders. 

This scene is not just a display of martial arts but also a dance of discipline, strategy, and honor, making it a must-watch for any martial arts fan and easily one of the best Donnie Yen movies.

9. In The Line Of Duty IV: Witness (1989)

>IMDB Rating: 7.1

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%

Venturing into the gritty streets of Hong Kong, In The Line Of Duty IV: Witness presents Donnie Yen in one of his most riveting roles from the late 80s. 

As a relentless cop, Yen, alongside his partner, embarks on a perilous mission to apprehend a dangerous gang responsible for a spree of heinous crimes. 

The movie is a treasure trove of raw, unfiltered martial arts sequences, with Yen’s unparalleled skills taking center stage. 

From heart-stopping rooftop chases to intense hand-to-hand combat, Yen’s fusion of traditional kung fu and modern fighting techniques is a sight to behold.

10. Dragon (2011)

>IMDB Rating: 7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

In Dragon, Donnie Yen portrays Liu Jinxi, a seemingly ordinary craftsman in a village. However, when he single-handedly defeats two notorious gangsters, his mysterious past as a martial arts expert begins to unravel. 

As Detective Xu Baijiu, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro, delves deeper into Jinxi’s history, a tale of redemption and identity unfolds. 

Yen’s intricate fight scenes, especially a battle in a rain-soaked alley, highlight his character’s internal struggle between his violent past and his desire for a peaceful life.

11. Drunken Tai Chi (1984)

>IMDB Rating: 6.4

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60%

Drunken Tai Chi is a delightful dive into the early days of Donnie Yen’s illustrious career, offering a harmonious fusion of humor and martial arts. 

The film follows the journey of Ching Do, portrayed by Yen, a spirited young man who discovers the art of drunken tai chi – a martial art that marries the graceful movements of tai chi with the erratic nature of a drunkard. 

A standout moment in the movie is the mesmerizing Drunken Tai Chi dance, where Yen’s character flawlessly melds rhythmic dance steps with combative maneuvers. 

The grand finale is a masterclass in martial arts choreography, with Yen demonstrating the signature drunken techniques in a high-octane showdown.

12. Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

>IMDB Rating: 6.8

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%

Set in 1905 Hong Kong, this ensemble film sees Yen as Shen Chongyang, a revolutionary and martial artist protecting Sun Yat-sen from assassins. The film is a visual spectacle, with grand sets and intricate choreography. 

Yen’s character stands out as he takes on multiple assassins in the crowded streets of Hong Kong, showcasing his signature blend of traditional martial arts and modern fight choreography.

The film is not just an action-packed ride but also a poignant look at the sacrifices made for a greater cause.

13. Blade II (2002)

>IMDB Rating: 6.7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%

“Blade II” thrusts Donnie Yen into the supernatural realm of vampires. As Snowman, a member of the elite Bloodpack, Yen showcases his martial arts expertise against the Reapers, a new breed of vampires. 

The sewer battle is a masterclass in choreography, blending traditional martial arts with the supernatural agility of vampires. 

Yen’s duel with Blade, played by Wesley Snipes, is a highlight, showcasing the prowess of two martial arts legends.

Beyond his on-screen role, Yen’s influence as the film’s fight choreographer elevates every action sequence, making Blade II a must-watch for fans of martial arts, vampire lore, and Donnie Yen’s work.

14. Wing Chun (1994)

>IMDB Rating: 7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%

Amidst a village rife with misadventures and comedic misunderstandings, Donnie Yen’s character, Leung Pok-to, stands out as a beacon of martial arts excellence. 

While he may be a simple tofu vendor by day, his skills in the Wing Chun style of martial arts are unparalleled. 

The movie beautifully juxtaposes humor with action, and one of its crowning moments is a duel between Yen and the legendary Michelle Yeoh. 

Their playful yet skillful exchange is a testament to their characters’ deep bond and mutual respect, making it a delightful watch for both comedy and martial arts fans.

15. Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)

>IMDB Rating: 6.1

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%

Adapted from a beloved Hong Kong comic, the film plunges viewers into the vibrant world of martial arts academies and age-old rivalries. 

Donnie Yen’s Dragon Wong is on a mission to reconnect with his brother and safeguard their martial arts legacy. As the plot unfolds, the movie treats viewers to a visual feast of colorful settings and dynamic fight sequences. 

One standout scene unfolds in a Japanese restaurant, where Donnie Yen’s martial arts expertise is on full display. 

With a perfect blend of speed, power, and precision, Yen’s performance in this scene, and throughout the film, solidifies his status as a martial arts cinema legend.

16. Tiger Cage 2 (1990)

>IMDB Rating: 6.9

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%

The gritty urban landscape serves as the setting for this action-packed sequel. Donnie Yen’s character, Dragon Yau, a former cop, is unwillingly thrust into a web of crime and betrayal. 

As he seeks to clear his name and uncover the truth, Yen delivers some of the film’s most exhilarating fight sequences. One scene, set in a bustling teahouse, is particularly iconic. 

Here, Dragon’s resourcefulness is on full display as he transforms mundane objects, from tables to teapots, into instruments of combat, making it a masterclass in choreography and innovation.

17. Kung Fu Jungle (2014)

>IMDB Rating: 6.4

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%

Kung Fu Jungle is a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase where Yen plays Hahou Mo, a martial arts instructor who teams up with the police to track down a serial killer targeting martial arts masters.

Each fight sequence is a nod to different martial arts styles, showcasing Yen’s versatility and deep knowledge of various forms. 

One of the most memorable scenes is the duel on a busy highway, a testament to Yen’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of action choreography. 

The film is not just a showcase of martial arts but also a deep dive into the philosophy and essence of kung fu.

18. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)

>IMDB Rating: 6.2

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47%

Set in the tumultuous era of 1920s Shanghai, this movie sees Donnie Yen stepping into the shoes of the legendary Chen Zhen, a role previously portrayed by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury.

Yen’s Chen Zhen is a masked vigilante fighting against Japanese oppressors and collaborators in Shanghai. The movie is a perfect blend of history, drama, and martial arts. 

One of the standout sequences is when Chen Zhen, donning a Kato-like mask, takes on a horde of Japanese soldiers in a club, showcasing Yen’s impeccable choreography and speed.

The movie not only pays homage to the golden age of martial arts cinema but also adds a modern flair to it.

19. Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)

>IMDB Rating: 7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

The final chapter takes Ip Man to San Francisco, where he faces racial discrimination and challenges from local martial artists. The film addresses race relations and the importance of understanding and respect between cultures.

One of the most notable clashes is between U.S. Marine Corps Karate master Frater and the Grandmasters, with Ip Man intervening to demonstrate the superiority of Wing Chun over Karate. 

The climax of the film introduces Sergeant Geddes, played by Scott Adkins, as a formidable opponent. Initially overwhelmed, Ip Man employs his Wing Chun techniques, including the Chain Punch, to overpower Geddes. 

This battle not only serves as a fitting conclusion to the series but also cements Ip Man’s legacy as a true Grandmaster of martial arts.

20. Big Brother (2018)

>IMDB Rating: 6.3

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Big Brother sees Donnie Yen as Henry Chen Xia, a former soldier turned teacher who uses unconventional methods to reach out to his students. 

When his students are threatened, Chen Xia’s martial arts background comes to the fore, with the movie blending high-octane fight scenes with heartfelt moments, showcasing Yen’s versatility as an actor.

Whether he’s battling thugs or breaking down educational barriers, Yen’s performance is both powerful and touching, making Big Brother a unique entry in his filmography.

21. Ip Man 3 (2015)

>IMDB Rating: 7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%

Set in the late 1950s, this installment delves deeper into Ip Man’s personal life, exploring his bond with his wife and a budding relationship with a young Bruce Lee.  However, the film doesn’t shy away from intense martial arts action. 

One standout scene is Ip Man’s confrontation with a Thai kickboxer inside an elevator, which spills out into the lobby, showcasing the grandmaster’s adept use of Wing Chun in confined spaces. 

Another significant battle occurs when Ip Man’s wife encourages him to face rival Zhang Jin for the title of Wing Chun Grandmaster. 

This duel emphasizes the differences between mainland and modified Wing Chun styles, highlighting the intricacies of kung fu.

22. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

>IMDB Rating: 7.8

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%

In Rogue One, a group of rebels embark on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.

Donnie Yen plays Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior monk deeply connected to the Force. His character is not just a fighter but a spiritual guide, emphasizing belief and faith. 

One of the film’s standout moments is when Chirrut, armed only with a staff, takes on a squadron of Stormtroopers, showcasing Yen’s impeccable martial arts skills. 

This scene, blending traditional martial arts with the Star Wars universe, is a visual treat, making Rogue One a must-watch for both fans of the franchise and martial arts enthusiasts.

23. 14 Blades (2010)

>IMDB Rating: 6.3

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%

Set against the backdrop of the Ming Dynasty, 14 Blades is a riveting movie about loyalty, betrayal, and honor. Donnie Yen shines as Qinglong, an elite imperial guard betrayed by his own and forced into hiding. 

As he battles to restore his honor and unveil a grand conspiracy, he encounters formidable foes. The martial arts choreography seamlessly integrates diverse styles, from intricate swordplay to intense hand-to-hand combat. 

The film’s title, 14 Blades, signifies the array of weapons Qinglong wields, each with its distinct technique. 

A highlight is a scene where Qinglong, armed to the teeth, confronts assassins in a constricted alleyway, a sequence martial arts fans will cherish. Overall, 14 Blades is one of the best Donnie Yen movies of all time.

24. Seven Swords (2005)

>IMDB Rating: 6.1

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%

In this wuxia epic, Yen plays one of the seven warriors who band together to defend a village against a tyrannical warlord.

The film is a celebration of traditional martial arts, with each of the seven swords having its unique fighting style. Yen’s character, with his swift and precise swordplay, stands out in several group battles and one-on-one duels.

The film’s narrative, combined with its breathtaking choreography, makes it a must-watch for fans of the genre.

25. Shanghai Knights (2003)

>IMDB Rating: 6.2

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65%

Set in Victorian London, Shanghai Knights pairs the comedic duo of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson on a mission to avenge a family tragedy. 

Amidst their escapades, Donnie Yen emerges as the formidable antagonist, Wu Chow. Yen’s martial arts expertise shines, especially in a creatively choreographed duel with Jackie Chan involving a revolving door.

The film culminates in an intense clock tower battle, where Yen’s precision and weapon skills are on full display. His role adds a layer of depth to this action-packed comedic adventure, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre.

26. Dragon Inn (1992)

>IMDB Rating: 7.2

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%

Dragon Inn is a martial arts classic set during the Ming Dynasty. Donnie Yen stars as a loyal officer who confronts treacherous eunuchs plotting against the Emperor. 

The film is renowned for its breathtaking martial arts sequences, with Yen’s acrobatic combat style taking center stage. 

One of the most memorable scenes involves Yen battling multiple adversaries in the desert, showcasing his swift swordplay and fluid movements. 

The intricate choreography and intense duels make Dragon Inn a must-watch for martial arts enthusiasts and one of the best Donnie Yen movies of all time.

27. Special ID (2013)

>IMDB Rating: 5.5

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%

In Special ID, Yen plays Chen Zilong, an undercover cop deeply embedded in the underworld who’s torn between his duty and the allure of the criminal life. 

The movie is a roller-coaster of emotions, with Yen delivering a nuanced performance. The martial arts sequences are raw and visceral, with a standout fight scene in a diner, where Yen takes on multiple adversaries in close quarters. 

The film delves deep into the psyche of an undercover agent, with Yen’s martial arts prowess serving as a backdrop to a more profound narrative.

28. Chasing the Dragon (2018)

>IMDB Rating: 6.7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%

Set in 1960s Hong Kong, an immigrant rises to become a notorious drug kingpin while a corrupt police detective seeks to bring him down.

Diving deep into the gritty underworld, Chasing the Dragon offers a raw portrayal of crime and ambition. Donnie Yen embodies the role of a ruthless gangster climbing the ranks of Hong Kong’s criminal hierarchy. 

His hand-to-hand combat scenes, though fewer than in his traditional martial arts movies, are intense and grounded, reflecting the brutal world of gang warfare. 

This film is a testament to Yen’s versatility, proving he’s not just a martial artist but a formidable actor.

29. Tiger Cage (1988)

>IMDB Rating: 6.7

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%

Tiger Cage transports audiences to the tumultuous world of undercover cops entangled in the treacherous drug underworld of the late 80s. 

Yen portrays a young cop navigating this perilous terrain, facing deceit, treachery, and life-threatening confrontations. 

The movies’s combat sequences are a fusion of traditional kung fu and raw street fighting, delivering gritty and realistic action. 

One unforgettable scene showcases Yen battling a gang in a warehouse, demonstrating his unparalleled martial arts versatility and prowess. A classic Yen movie from the late 80s.

30. Sakra (2023)

>IMDB Rating: 5.8

>Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%

Sakra plunges into the tumultuous life of a revered martial artist, portrayed by Donnie Yen, who finds himself wrongfully accused of a heinous crime. 

As he grapples with these grave allegations, he embarks on a quest not only to clear his name but also to unravel the enigma of his own origin. Along the way, he confronts shadowy adversaries determined to bring about his downfall. 

Kiu Fung’s journey of self-discovery is accentuated by intense combat scenes, showcasing a blend of traditional and contemporary martial arts techniques. 

One particularly enthralling scene sees Yen confronting his foes in a setting that mirrors his internal turmoil, making it a must-watch for fans of action and intrigue.

To Conclude

Donnie Yen is a fantastic actor and a master martial artist who considers himself a mixed martial artist because of the number of arts he knows and his experience using them together in film and daily life.

His decades of hard work have produced fantastic movies, and this has been a list of the 30 best Donnie Yen movies of all time.

If you feel one of his great movies has been missed, feel free to comment below so it can be added to an updated list.

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