10 Awesome White Martial Artists In Movies Not Named Chuck Norris
There was a time when people equated martial arts with Asians. Can't blame them really, as it was Bruce Lee who first made cinematic fighting look really good. But with the emergence of Chuck Norris, the most awesomest action hero ever of all time to the nth power, a lot of white boys have followed suit. While the likes of Jet Li and Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa are without a doubt still the best in the onscreen fighting business, movie martial arts are at least no longer their exclusive territory.
Here are ten white dudes who picked up where Chuck Norris left off.
1. Ray Park
At the age of 16, Ray Park was already a martial arts champion, and continued winning tournaments around the world as he grew older. He later did stunt work for films like Mortal Kombat. His portrayal of the Sith Lord Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace led to roles in other big movies, a number of them just as incognito as he is in the Star Wars prequel. His fighting skills, however, are there for everyone to see.
2. Jason Statham
The Transporter trilogy made Jason Statham an action superstar, and rightly so. He looked and acted the part. In fact, in the hand-to hand combat scenes of a movie like the testosterone-laden The Expendables, he comes off as the toughest and the most hard hitting of them all.
3. Jeffrey Falcon
Many fans know him from the cult favorite Six-String Samurai, but Jeff Falcon, a former member of the US Wushu Team, starred in a bunch of Hong Kong films during the late 80s and early 90s, most of them bad ones. The martial arts, however, was really good.
4. Steven Seagal
In the 70s and early 80s, most martial arts movies featured either kung fu or karate. Then came Steven Seagal, who introduced the moviegoing public to Aikido via the 1988 movie Above the Law. While Seagal couldn't act to save his life, he did make dispatching foes in such bone-crunching fashion look real cool on screen.
5. Jeff Speakman
Yet another martial arts form was introduced to film in 1991 when Jeff Speakman starred in The Perfect Weapon. Speakman, an 8th dan in American Kenpo Karate, showed us how a combination of speed and power can kick an entire dojo's ass.
6. Brad Allan
The fact that he is the 1st non-Asian member of Jackie Chan's stunt team speaks volumes about this diminutive martial artist's abilities. A Wushu practitioner since the age of 14, Allan is also proficient in karate, aikido, boxing and kickboxing. He has appeared in a number of Jackie Chan's movies, but his most memorable turn was in Gorgeous, where his fighting capabilities was put in full display with 2 action-packed sparring sessions with Jackie himself. He now works as a stunt coordinator for major Hollywood films like The Chronicles of Riddick, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and most recently, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
7. Scott Adkins
Like many good martial artists, English actor Scott Adkins started appearing in action movies as some henchman or minion of the main villain, often getting his ass kicked in short order by the hero. He still was the villain in the direct to dvd sequel Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, but his role as Uri Boyka was an excellent showcase for his skills, and directly led to bigger jobs and eventually a starring role in the 2010 release Ninja.
8. Jean Claude Van Damme
Jean Claude Van Damme is one of the few movie martial arts superstars who actually competed in full-contact karate and kickboxing tournaments, and was pretty good at it. His breakout film, Bloodsport, showcased much of Van Damme's martial arts skills (and flexibility, doing splits like they were nothing). He soon became one of the biggest action superstars of the 80s and early 90s, with films like Kickboxer, Cyborg, Hard Target and Timecop. Aside from his ability to do compete splits, he is also well-known for his patented helicopter-style, jump spinning heel kicks.
9. Cyril Raffaelli
If there's a French movie that has some martial arts in it, chances are, Cyril Raffaelli is in it. A regular in Luc Besson films, Rafaelli's skills extend beyond martial arts though, as he is a Parkour practitioner as well. The Banlieue 13 movies saw him do an awesome mix of Parkour and karate and wushu. However, his talents were showcased to a much bigger audience in Live Free or Die Hard, where he toyed with Bruce Willis, but was defeated anyway. It's John McClane for cryin' out loud.
10. David Belle
The founder of Parkour, David Belle made jaws drop with his seemingly impossible feats of scaling, navigating and jumping off buildings in the quickest manner possible in the Banlieue 13 films. While his films didn't really showcase much of his fighting skills, the chase scenes are especially astounding, right up there with the ones done by the likes of Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa. Some would even say he’s better. No nasty falls here.
Bonus: White Guys Who Are Not Martial Artists But Kicked Ass In Movies Just the Same
The big guy has always looked good in his fight scenes, either in sword fights in films like Rob Roy or in light sabre duels as a Jedi Master in The Phantom Menace. But it was his brutally efficient manner of disposing of his daughter's kidnappers in the 2009 surprise hit Taken that cemented Neeson's reputation as a cinematic badass. There has been some debate on the kind of martial arts used by Neeson in this movie, but many agree it's closest to Kali or eskrima, the same Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) based fighting style used in the Bourne movies.
And speaking of the Bourne movies, Matt Damon had to undergo three months of intense martial arts and stunt work training. The result, of course, were some of the most brutal hand-to-hand fight scenes in film history.
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