10 jaw-dropping fight scenes that will leave you wanting more
It’s a well-known fact of the silver screen that audiences love to see the hero deliver a satisfying punch to the villain that sends him soaring through the sky and through glass. This formula has worked for hundreds of films and will continue to be a trope used by choreographers for decades to come. With this list, we’re looking to highlight all the great cinematic fights that spark the desire to binge-watch everything the performers have ever created. Come with us as we take you on an international journey of flying kicks and gnarly nunchucks. From Keanu Reeves for Bruce Leethese rough and tough brawlers are sure to grab your attention.
Old Boy (2003)
If you’ve seen this movie, then you already know where we’re going with this, which is a testament to why it’s on the list. In Park Chan Wookit’s Old boy, the viewer is drawn into an enigmatic and chaotic odyssey of revenge as a man hunts those responsible for his imprisonment. At the climax of the film, there is a fight scene where the main character, wielding an ordinary hammer, fights his way through a room of henchmen to get closer to his captor. Not only is the eye-catching brutality of the choreography, but the way Chan-Wook’s camera captures the action leads to some bloody good poetry. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and widely well received by American audiences, it’s clear people were impressed with everything about this film. In fact, Hollywood wanted to see more of it so badly that they remade the movie in 2013 with Spike Lee direction.
Eastern Promises (2007)
Despite a cool and collected exterior, David Cronenbergit’s Eastern promises will surprise you how violent and visceral it can get. Although it’s more of a thriller than an action movie, the brawl inside the Turkish baths is part of beat ’em up history. In it, the main character, played mercilessly by Viggo Mortensen, dons nothing but a towel (at least for the start) and some badass tattoos as he smashes the faces of the Russian crowd. The blows are so powerful and painful that you will flinch with each hit that lands. Additionally, the choice to make the choreography messy and not a flawless set of moves leads to the action feeling organic and immersive. Grit your teeth and prepare for a grueling fight for survival.
Drunken Master (1978)
It’s rare that a film capable of performing high levels of kung fu consistently for the camera is also capable of having such a sensitive funny bone. However, with Jackie Chan in the title role, one would expect nothing less. Drunken Master is one of those movies that delights us with its creative ways of displaying masterful skill while also bringing laughs. The fight we’re looking to elevate takes place towards the end when lead Chan takes on one of the villains, Thunderleg, played by Hwang Jang-lee. One of the reasons the fight stands out is the extensive demonstration Chan put on showing off a unique form of kung fu known as drunken boxing. Clumsy, unpredictable, but deadly, Chan harmonizes his drunken movement with incredible acrobatics and hilarious antics. To date, no other production has been able to pull off the drunken boxing from a distance as well as Chan’s rendition, but we’re backing anyone who tries because we’re desperate to see more like it!
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
Throw punches faster than the eye can follow, The Raid: Redemption shouldn’t be a surprise to see on this list for any movie veteran. For this story, the final fight between Mad Dog and the heroes is where we set our sights. Flawless coordination between the main action roles, Iko Uwais, yayan ruhianand Donny Almsyah, makes combat spontaneous and responsive. Add to the actors’ ability to make their collaborator’s every shot look like a ton of bricks, and it becomes impossible to turn your head away from the screen. What really separates this scene from the rest is how quickly all of this action happens. The production really captured the lightning in a film canister here.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
Proving to be one of the most vibrant and creative action franchises of the past decade, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is a satisfying extension to this hit series. It’s hard to pick just one scene from all of the movies, but if we had to, the Ancient Weapons Museum fight scene would have to be the one. It combines everything amazing in this trilogy into one sequence. With Keanu Reeves brilliantly executing long, coordinated fights, imaginative use of the environment to create never-before-seen stunts, and a hallway filled with the deadliest and most unusual weapons to use, all the elements fall into place. Don’t blink because you’ll want to see every second of this crowning achievement.
They Live (1988)
The alley fight scene between the two main heroes of They live is one you won’t soon forget. Directed by John Charpentierand featuring Roddy Piper and keith david, the film is a certified cult classic. In this confrontation, Piper tries to win David over to her side, but David doesn’t. What follows is a low and dirty slugfest that prioritizes power over speed as the two heavyweights face off. It’s the closest to capturing an authentic street brawl than any other fight, and we respect them for it. If other fights on this list sound more like poetry, then this fight is like reading the cold, concise prose of Ernest Hemingway.
Christopher Nolan has left our heads spinning throughout his filmography with his cerebral subject matter on more than one occasion. However, with Creation, the public, we are entitled to a different type of spin that none of us saw coming. The revolving hall fight scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is undoubtedly an amazing feat to behold. Characters bounce from floor to wall to ceiling as they are locked in a life or death situation. This must-see show will break your brain trying to figure out how it was technically done.
Fist of Fury (1972)
Arguably the greatest action star of all time, the Bruce Lee legend has grown significantly since his untimely passing. While we’re unable to confirm some of the stunning real-life triumphs Lee is said to have starred in, we’re lucky to have his films to give us some semblance of an idea of just how good he is. In fist of fury, the dojo fight scene stands out as an exemplary display of Lee’s skills. He combines his speed, creative coordination and signature screams to piece together a piece of movie history as Lee tears down an entire school of martial artists. Oh, and did we mention there are nunchucks?
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Chuuurch Fiiight! It’s really what it boils down to Kingsman: The Secret Service make list. It’s an exuberant and chaotic fight to death. Stuck in a church service that has become (more) psychotic, Colin FirthThe character of must shoot, slice and fight his way. This scene is a madness mounted at eleven o’clock, set on fire, then blown up to the kingdom. To top it all, Matthew Vaughn chose to complete the scene with Lynyrd Skynardfrom the guitar solo of their legendary song “Free Bird”. Not as physically impressive as the athletic feats achieved by other actors on this list. However, the church fight scene is arguably the more impressive in terms of the collaboration required between each member of the team, including pre- and post-production, in order to be as successful as them.
Boasting a whole backlog of cinematic kicks under his belt, Jet Li has always impressed us with his knowledge of combat. Li proves that you don’t have to look tough to American audiences as long as you can dish out a variety of convincing punches. Making his way up the list with his film Intrepid, Li wastes no time jumping straight into the fast-paced action. The scene we seek to highlight is the introductory sequence of the contest against three foreign masters. We see Li excelling at fists, spears, and swords one after another. Li’s combination of grace and lethal power set him apart from the rest, resulting in brutal but honorable defeats for his opponents.
From Kung Fu to “Captain America,” here are the best smackdown scenes of the century so far.
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