Top 5 Movie Fight Scenes

Posted on October 18, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Catching the final showdown of a soon to be named action movie on TV a little while ago got me thinking about the best fight choreography to hit the big screen.  The following debate with my sister made me realise that a blog post was in order, so here are my favourite movie punch ups.

Just so you know, I’m not counting full on battles here, more one on ones (or one on manys).  Coming up with a top 5 was really tricky, and there are lots of great films that aren’t on the list (Die Hard, Fight Club, Spiderman, Star Wars…) so try not to get too angry if you’re favourite isn’t there. And please, remind me of the awesome punch ups I’m bound to have forgotten.

5. Daredevil

Maybe a controversial one here, since I seem to be pretty alone in liking this film, but I reckon that the first meeting between Matt and Elektra in the playground is a great movie moment.  It’s a tie between that playground fight, and the showdown in the bar with some cocky criminals for best fight in the movie.  What makes the latter so great is the point of view stuff, showing what Daredevil “sees” and making the fight a lot more interesting.

4. Bridget Jones’ Diary

It’s the ultimate anti-fight.  Two posh public school boys try to knock the stuffing out of each other without getting their expensive suits dirty.  Outcome? Definitely one of the best on screen fights ever.  I think what makes it so good is the fact that it seems perfectly likely that if Hugh Grant and Colin Firth ever do get into a fight, this is exactly what it would look like.  The best part is when they sing happy birthday.

How not to fight

3. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge

When I’ve watched Origins again, this may well get replaced by one of the Wolverine/Sabre fights, but when I first saw X2 and the set up starts for the battle between Wolverine and his female counterpart Lady Deathstrike I knew it was gonna be good.  It’s a dual of the immortals and the fact that the pair are so evenly matched is what makes the fight so awesome.  And the way he wins, you’ve gotta admit, is pretty inventive.

2. Equilibrium

Gun Kata. All hail the guy who came up with that one.  It’s not quite Martial Arts, it’s not exactly a shoot out, it sure is awesome to watch!  The whole film is filled with wicked fight moments, but I think for obvious reasons the ultimate fight sequence of the movie has got to be Preston’s final show down with “Father”. Damn that was good.

1. And the winner is….The Marix Trilogy

The film I was watching when this idea came to me was Matrix Revolutions, and despite the flaws in that film, I still think the so called “super-burly brawl” at the end is the best bit of fight choreography yet to be committed to celluloid. I mean, their punches stop the rain for god’s sake!  The effort that went into the visuals of that scene is just staggering, the row upon row of Agent Smiths that appear even in the windows of the skyscrapers for example must have taken hours of post production.  Of course, the focus on visuals rather than plot is probably what killed the two sequels, but you’ve got to hand it to the Wachowski brothers, they know how to stage a punch up.  In Reloaded we have the (not quite as super) burly brawl where Neo and a metal pole take on the legions in yet another stunning combination of wire work, kung fu and bullet time.  If you’re not into the sequels, the sequence which follows: “What do you need?” “Guns. Lots of guns,” in the original is just epic.  And since it’s pretty clear that fights liked this spawned our number two spot, it gets extra credit.

I could go on about Matrix fight scenes for a long time.  The thing about The Matrix is, the films changed our expectations of movie fights; with the invention of bullet time one of the major landmarks in visual effects history.  Thanks to them, fight choreography isn’t just about one guy swinging at another, it’s an art form in itself.  Which keeps action junkies like me very happy. 🙂

He's beginning to believe

Honorable Mention:

“Come back and I’ll bite your legs off!” The Black Knight always triumphs.

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28 Responses to “Top 5 Movie Fight Scenes”

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My personal favorite is one that not many others like, the fight at the end of Unbreakable. Being a fighter myself I loved the realism of that fight, the harshness of the blows landed, etc..


if only it was called The Marix Trilogy. then maybe it would be good.
Your list is a good read Katie but i find it hard to agree with any of the choices – watching Keanu Reeves play a video game is not a great fight sequence.
i tend to like fights where i actually care what happens to one or both of the characters involved, which is why Indy’s plane punch-up in Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greats, for example. Its cleverness is that it actually makes you feel for the Nazi at the end of it – no mean feat.
the fight scene at the end of Last of the Mohicans, without revealing any spoilers, is also great, mainly because it features in the one of the best ending sequences ever.
theyre two that spring to mind, but theres loads of others and im sure your comments section will be filled with BIFF! BASH! ZONK! very shortly…

this one springs to mind cos i watched it on tv last night
its not a slick fight by any means but theres something very amateurish about it that makes it real

Uh Oh before even reading the comment I fear I have incurred the wrath of Ross…

Ah, right well you see I do care what happens to Keanu Reeves, I can see you point about realsim (you too Bill) but I think the “video game” quality makes it more interesting.
Indy was one of the first ones I thought of, but no particular scene stood out for me. The movies as a whole are among the best action films, but there aren’t any specific fights that make me sit up and go “Hell Yeah!”
Last of the Mohicans is on my “to see” list so I’ll let you know when I see it.
So is Good Will Hunting. I was gutted not to watch it last night but I had a ridiculously early start this morning os I couldnt…if I watch your video am I gonna spoil something for myself?

As always, love to ahve your opinions Ross, even if I don’t agree 😛

it would be a boring world if we agreed all the time, wouldnt it.
no, youre fine with watching that clip, the only thing that gets spoiled is Matt Damon’s face.

A couple of suggestions from recent films. The hammer scene from Oldboy and the Bic pen and the rolled up magazine from the Bourne Identity the Bourne Supremacy respectively.

What fandango said (as well as the rooftop sequence in Ultimatum). As for other Korean fare, A Dirty Carnival and A Bittersweet Life both come to mind.

Say what you will about The Last Samurai, but I think it had some impressive instances of close combat.

The wuxia in Hero, for example, I really enjoy. WKW’s Ashes of Time is primarily dialogue-driven, but the moments of action it does contain– just, wow!

As for the OP:

I confess, your Daredevil selection boggles my mind, haha. But I’ll forgive you since you gave The Matrix recognition.

Also, I always preferred the mansion invasion sequence in X2.

I can’t believe you included the scene from “Bridget Jones’ Diary” — I love that you did that! It was such a great scene, though, with all the humor and the choreography and Geri Halliwell singing “It’s Raining Men.” Great stuff.

Ross: You’re right that is a wicked scene. Great use of music.

Andy: I forgot the biro. That is a good scene. For some reason I never got that into the Bourne films even though they are good. I think it’s Matt Damon.

David: I haven’t seen The Last Samurai but I’ve hears its good. I haven’t seen Hero either. But you win the prize for the fisrt person to bring up a true “kung fu” film. My knowledge of them is shockingly poor.
Ha ha I knew people wouldn’t like Daredevil but I don’t care, I think it’s good! 😛
The mansion invasion is really good, but I was thinking that counted mroe as a battle than a fight dince its kind of two sides against eachother rather than a few people….

M. Carter: Of course I included it, it’s amazing!

Thanks for the comments everyone. 🙂

Good selections 🙂

I have to say I love that the Bridget Jones Fight Scene has made it into your list as it is just so hilarious and fantastic. Gotta love that “Its Raining Men” playing over as well. As you said stopping to sing happy birthday is just brilliant.

I can exclusively reveal that Geri Halliwell fails to feature in any of my favourite movies

Brilliant, Katie. Although I have to say I’ve always been captivated by the fight scenes following “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Just after I wrote this, my sister said, “What about Inigo vs Westley?” I think that fight tops the one above, but they’re both awesome.
In the end I decided that I’ve probably written a wee bit too much about the Princess Bride on here 😛

I have a confession…I’m not left handed.

Goodness, I forgot about that one! I need to watch the Princess Bride again soon 😛

Interesting that you included Equillibrium, one of my favorite Bale movies. I love this movie, not for the fight scenes though, but the electrifying exchanges between Bale and Emily Watson. I bought the dvd just of their scenes alone! As for fight sequences, one of my favorites is King Leonidas slashing a bunch of Persians in ‘300.’ It’s definitely the ballet of death.

Equilibrium is a brilliant film, I think it’s underrated because it looks so much like the matrix. My favourite scene is where he first hears the opening strings of Beethoven’s 9th. Fantastic performance by Bale.
I need to see 300 again, but I do remember some pretty wicked fights.

you know what Katie, I caught Bridget Jones’ Diary the other night again (when I say ‘caught’ I mean made to watch it) and that fight scene is still pretty funny.
so I hold my hands up and admit I was wrong – it does warrant inclusion in your top five

Thanks Ross, I wholeheartedly accept your apology 😛

Great list Katie…and I’m 100% agree with your number 1 🙂
The Matrix (all three of them)’s fight scenes are the best

Thanks for the comment. Nothing beats some bullet time kung fu. 🙂

The hallway fight scene in Oldboy. My #1 by a long shot, love the complete lack of special effects in a completely uneven knock-down brawl filmed in one lengthy scene. Just unreal.

I haven’t seen Oldboy. Sounds like it needs to be on my to do list

The Matrix fights are impressive, although I can’t think rationally about the sequels because I hate them so much. If I had to pick something from X-Men, it may be Beast going crazy at the end of the 3rd one.

I honestly don’t hate the sequels. They obviously don’t stand up in comparison but they’re not all that bad….

Really? I couldn’t take the idea of Kelsey Grammer fighting anyone seriously.

Personally I love the fight between Ray Peterson and Dr. Klopek in The ‘Burbs. Them both struggling over the needle as the gurney flies out the back of the ambulance and down the road. Hilarious!

I’ve seen the vurbs but I remember very little of it. It just didn’t really do anything for me. But maybe I need to watch it again.

The word is “duel,” not “dual.” Cripes. 😦

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