Not Once But Twice Did Donnie Yen Survive Being Nearly Blinded by Jet Li in 2 Separate Movies: “He whacked me…”

Not Once But Twice Did Donnie Yen Survive Being Nearly Blinded by Jet Li in 2 Separate Movies: "He whacked me..."
Featured Video

Donnie Yen and Jet Li stand as shining beacons in the martial arts film genre, revolutionizing it like no other. Their mastery extends beyond acting, where they fearlessly execute their own stunts. Now what sets Hong Kong martial arts movies apart is their dedication to authenticity.


While they start with a rough plan and choreography, the real magic happens spontaneously on set. Similarly, Yen and Li, the industry’s biggest stars, share a similar history where Li, in two different instances, nearly robbed Yen of his sight while filming a scene.

Donnie Yen at John Wick 4 Premiere
Donnie Yen at the John Wick 4 Premiere

Also Read: “It was superhuman”: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone Made Donnie Yen Build His Bones of Steel ‘Ip Man’ Physique


Jet Li Almost Blinded Donnie Yen in Once Upon a Time in China II

The 1992 film Once Upon a Time in China II, was an absolute treat for martial arts enthusiasts as Donnie Yen and Jet Li rivaled each other in an epic showdown. Their battle in the movie’s climax left audiences in awe, showcasing their exceptional skills. However, Yen suffered a serious injury during filming. While speaking with GQ video interview, the actor shared his experience while working on the film,

“The way we worked in Hong Kong for many, many, many years is that we change the choreography as we go along,–Freestyle basically, it’s like a rapping contest.”

Jet Li and Donnie Yen          Jet Li and Donnie Yen

In this intense face-off, the spotlight was on two actors wielding bamboo in both of their hands, with Jet Li wired up. The moment, when the accident took place demanded Li to execute a flawless 360-degree spring before striking Yen with the bamboo, while Yen skillfully blocked the blow.


Despite numerous attempts, disaster struck on the thirtieth take, as the bamboo veered off course, hitting Yen’s eyebrow. The impact sent Yen soaring into the air, creating a dramatic and very scary spectacle of blood splattering in all directions just like a horror movie. In a GQ interview, he stated,

“I saw stars. Blood sprays like a horror movie.”

It was undeniably terrifying, the actor, despite needing six stitches, appeared on set the very next day. The director requested him to come to shoot the close-up shots from the opposite side, covering the injured area with patches.

Also Read: Despite 5 Ip Man Movies, Donnie Yen Still Doesn’t Understand Wing Chun – the Martial Art That Gave Birth to Bruce Lee: “I spent hours. It’s impossible”


Donnie Yen and Jet Li in Hero

A decade later, when the martial arts masters Yen and Li joined forces again to resume their on-screen battle in the film Hero, history seemed to repeat itself. During a particularly intense moment, Li accidentally struck Yen, this time on the opposite side of his face with a sharp prop sword, narrowly avoiding a catastrophe that could have cost Yen his vision in his other eye.

Donnie Yen and Jet Li
Donnie Yen and Jet Li

This unfortunate mishap demanded immediate Yen needing another round of half a dozen stitches. Yen thus joked in the same GQ video interview,

“He whacked me on one side, and 10 years later he whacked me on the other side,”

Despite the challenges, Yen’s resilience prevailed as he continued to showcase his dedication through his craft, throughout the years facing the camera with determination even after many setbacks setback.


Also Read: Keanu Reeves’ John Wick 4 Co-Star Donnie Yen’s Expendables Spinoff Idea With Jackie Chan, Jet Li Can Put Sylvester Stallone’s $789M Franchise Out of Commission

Once Upon a Time in China II is available on Apple TV for rent.

Source: GQ


Written by Sampurna Banerjee

Articles Published: 876

Sampurna Banerjee, an ardent enthusiast of pop culture and movies, pours her passion into her role as a writer for FandomWire. With a penchant for Marvel, DC, and sitcoms, she has contributed over 400 articles, staying up-to-date to the entertainment industry's latest buzz. Moreover, she's penned over 300 articles for Animated Times and shared her work across several Instagram pages. Currently she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Calcutta University.