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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Yipee ki-ay….

Posted on January 30, 2009. Filed under: Movies to see before you die | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m a big fan of films involving guns and explosions and, having wathced Die Hard 3 last night, thought I’d give you a run down of the best action films out there.

In my opinion, the movie that defines the genre is Die Hard.  The original movie is a spectacular cocktail of explosions, one liners, german-speaking terrorists and profuse bleeding; what more can you ask for in an action film?  John McClane is probably the best action character ever, created out of a well established formula of maverick cop who doesn’t always obey the rules but gets the job done.  Die hard is so well made though, and the combination of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman is perfect, making it the ultimate action comfort film (if such a thing exists).  Die hard also gave us the immortal line that I’m using as a title, and for that we are eternally greatful.

McClane

As for the Die Hard sequels, none of them stand up to the original, but Die Hard with a Vengeance (3) comes pretty close, aided by the work of Samuel L Jackson and the brilliant Jeremy Irons.  The two even numbered sequels are not quite up to standard, with Die Hard 2 being a favourite kicking post for critics, but the most recent 4.0 isn’t bad and does have some great moments.  The digital plot is just a bit flat, especially since the original is such a classic 80’s movie. McClane just wasn’t built for the digital age.

For me Die Hard is the ultimate action movie, but I know others would argue that Lethal Weapon is the author of the genre.  Having only seen the first installment once, I’m not quite qualified to put up a defence, but I’ll come back when I’ve watched it again.  What I do remember is that Lethal Weapon is that little bit darker than Die Hard, with an underlying suicide theme which is great for character development but makes it that little bit less fun than watching wise-cracking Willis running around a skyscraper bare foot.

Another contender for ultimate action movie is Speed, a movie in which Keanu Reeves actually acts (almost)!  Another great collection of explosions and unhinged psychopaths out for revenge, but this time set on a bus, Speed has some great movements; most famously that jump over the gap in the highway.  Reeves is good in the role, supported heavily by Jeff Daniels and Dennis Hopper.  The decision to carry Sandra Bullock’s character into a sequel, I think, was a bad one, especially since she’s pretty irritating in the original, but at least Speed 2 has Willem Defoe giving it his creepy best.

The score of Speed is also pretty great, but there is pure genius in the use of Beethoven’s 9th in Die Hard, which keeps coming back in inverted forms throughout the score.  A similar idea is used in Die Hard 3, unfortunately I can’t remember what the piece of music is called (please someone comment and help me ‘cos its maddening) but if you ever sang “the animals went in two by two” in primary school you’ll know the tune I’m on about!

All of the above are going into the movies to see before you die, but if you’ve only got time for one, go for Die Hard.

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