Posted by: nhfalcon | June 6, 2010

Kicking Ass & Taking Names

In my last J.A.R.M. post I linked to an article out in Al Gore’s finest invention ( 😉 ) where the author had rated his 25 best movie fight scenes of all time. I mentioned that I disagreed with most of the list and that I would eventually post my own.

Well, here it is (in no particular order):

1) Steven Seagal – Out for Justice – bar fight

Yes, Seagal’s a horrible actor, but he was a great martial artist before he got fat. This scene features his aikido skills, plus some stick-fighting and improvised weaponry.

Listening to him trying to talk like a Brooklyn native is kind of amusing, too. 🙂

2) Phillip Rhee & Eric Roberts – Best of the Best II – hotel landing fight

A little-known movie with acting almost as bad as Seagal’s, but Rhee’s hapkido moves are impressive.

3) Big Trouble in Little China -Chang Sing vs Wing Kong

Great flick with an impressive group combat scene featuring some excellent kung fu (as we Americans errouneously call the Chinese martial arts) moves.

4) Wesley Snipes – Blade – opening fight

The actual fighting starts about 3:55 into the clip. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that Snipes was a practitioner of an African martial art, but according to Wikipedia he’s a 5th dan black belt in shotokan karate.

5) Matt Damon – The Bourne Identity – Bourne vs Castel

I know I’ve mentioned this scene before. Arguably the most realistic fight I’ve ever seen from Hollywood.

6) Jeff Speakman – The Perfect Weapon – 1 kenpo vs 3 tae kwan do

Speakman never really did anything even remotely worthwhile after this, but the film featured some impressive displays of kenpo.

7) Mel Gibson and a cast of hundreds – Braveheart – the Battle of Stirling

Historical inaccuracies aside (the battle depicted here was actually the Battle of Stirling Bridge. You see a bridge anywhere?), this film has the best medieval battle scenes EVER!

8 ) Mel Gibson – Lethal Weapon – Riggs vs Joshua

Interesting combination of fighting styles here, including a little-known one that originated in the American prison system called “jailhouse rock.”

9) Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Jackie Chan, etc., etc., etc… – The Cannonball Run – biker brawl

I couldn’t find just the fight, so I had to blend the above videos. The fight itself starts around 8:15 into the first clip and lasts about three minutes into the second.

10) Chuck Norris – The Delta Force – terrorist leader beatdown

Call me sadistic if you want to, but this is so one-sided it’s funny.

11) Chuck Norris vs David Carradine – Lone Wolf McQuade

Classic matchup.

12) Russell Crowe – Gladiator – are you not entertained?

Are you not entertained?!

13) Pierce Brosnan vs Sean Bean – Goldeneye – the dish

Daniel Craig always gets credit for being a “gritty” Bond (and he is), but Brosnan could get rough-and-tumble, too.

14) Tommy Lee Jones vs Benicio del Toro – The Hunted – the final fight

Brilliant knife work.

15) Tom Cruise – The Last Samurai – five on one

It was a toss-up between this and the ninja attack scene.

16) Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible II – Hunt vs Ambrose

Sorry, but I couldn’t find this scene without the b.s. music. 😦

17) Keanu Reeves – The Matrix – Neo vs Agent Smith

Too bad the sequels couldn’t have been as good as the original, huh?

18 ) Charlie Sheen & friends – Navy SEALs – opening hostage rescue mission

An ultra-cheesy action flick that nevertheless featured one of the most technically accurate Spec Ops scenes I’ve ever seen. The sequence begins about 8:25 into the first clip and ends 7:30 about into the second clip.

19) Lewis Collins – The Final Option – ending hostage rescue mission

Known in England as Who Dares Wins (the motto of the British Army’s Special Air Service, arguably the best special operations unit in the world), this is a British-made film loosely based on Operation Nimrod, the May 5th, 1980 storming of the Iranian Embassy in London by the SAS to rescue hostages held by terrorists. Possibly cheesier than Navy SEALs, it nonetheless features some very technically accurate tactical sequences.

20) Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes – The Princess Bride – Inigo Montoya vs the Man in Black

A great swordfight, though I’ve been told by a man who does fight choreography for a living that it’s technically inaccurate. The problem is that while the characters are throwing out fencing terms and names like Bonetti’s defense, Capo Ferro, and Agrippa, they’re not actually using the techniques in question.

Learned something today, now didn’t you? 🙂

21) Brandon Lee – Rapid Fire – restaurant fight scene

Perhaps not quite as good as his dad, Brandon Lee made somedecent flicks before his untimely passing on the set of The Crow.

22) Patrick Swayze – Roadhouse – Dalton vs Jimmy

Sorry, but I couldn’t find the clip without the snarky commentary(which is kinda funny).

23) Sylvester Stallone & Mr. T. – Rocky III – Rocky vs Clubber Lang rematch

“You ain’t so bad! You ain’t nuthin’!”

24) Tom Hanks & co. – Saving Private Ryan – Omaha Beach

I’m sure everybody’s seen this before, but strap yourselves in, folks – this gets brutal.

25) Robert Downey, Jr. – Sherlock Holmes – in the ring

I love how Holmes methodically decides how to dismantle his opponent.

Bonus) Bruce Lee – Enter the Dragon – mirror room fight

Cuz, really, how do you not include the master?



  1. Interesting! The Lethal Weapon one is good…well…tough as it’s fighting of course…but good in that regard. Interesting choices. Thank you for the thoughts on these types of scenes from flicks. Cheri

  2. I’m not as fond of fight scenes as I am of car chases, so I’m unfamiliar with most of what you’ve got here, but thanks for including the Last Samurai scene; it really is a wonderful one.

  3. A couple of my own suggestions – in the battle scene category, I love the scene in Ran, a Kurosawa film based on the themes of King Lear. Such a wonderful blending of musical score and action:

    And in the fight scene category: Kung Fu Hustle cracks me up everytime. There are several freakish kung fu scenes, but I love the opening scene with the dance (yes) at the end:

    • Soory, ‘Seester, but apparently I’m not artsy enough to appreciate Ran, and any portion of Kung Fu Hustle makes me wanna puke.

      We were bound to disagree about something eventually. 🙂

    • maybe it’s the girl in me…

  4. Big Trouble in Little China is a badly underappreciated gem.

    The Cannonball Run is an interesting cultural snapshot. I showed it to my boys recently and was surprised at all of the little subtle bits of political incorrectness in it, particularly on race and religion, that I didn’t remember.

    I almost prefer to pretend The Matrix had no sequels.

    Have you just not seen Kill Bill?

    • I’ve seen both Kill Bills, Bo, and I liked both of them. However, compared to these other scenes, some good stufff had to be left out.

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