Top 5 Fight Scenes from Movies!

Today, we take a look at the top 5 fight scenes from movies. My friend Adam Boucher has submitted a list for this. His take is down below:

I love fight scenes. When I was younger, I just liked watching people beat each other up. Later in life, as I began understanding the essence of conflict and began martial arts training, I started to see under the surface, beneath the violence, to see the work, and the art. The violence was no longer the thing I saw, but the flow and the grace. Having said that, here’s my Top 5 Fight Scenes from Movies.

5. Bloodsport (1988) – Frank Dux (Jean Claude Van Damme) vs. Chong Li (Bolo Yueng)

JCVD has always been one of my favorite martial artists. He was one of the first I was ever exposed to, and I have a vague memory of first seeing “Bloodsport” on TV as a kid. The athleticism of both fighters is great, and to see Frank avenge his friend Ray, despite being blinded, is pretty great.

4. Lethal Weapon (1987) – Riggs (Mel Gibson) vs. Joshua (Gary Busey)

No real explanation needed here. “Lethal Weapon” is the quintessential buddy cop movie, and one of my all-time favorite action flicks. Riggs lights Joshua up as half the LAPD looks on, and his partner covers for him. How about it Jack, would you like a shot at the title? Ballsy.

3. They Live (1988) – Nada (Rowdy Roddy Piper) vs. Frank (Keith David)

Before they become allies in the movie, Nada has to beat Frank into wearing the special sunglasses. The fight was originally only supposed to be 20 or 30 seconds, but director John Carpenter left the entire 5 minute scene in after Piper and David rehearsed the fight for three weeks. While ol’ Hot Rod may come from a pro wrestling background, only the hits to the face and groin where faked. Ouch.

Seems more Hacksaw Jim Duggan but that is still so cool…

2. Drunken Master (1978) – Wong Fei-hung (Jackie Chan) vs. a bunch of other dudes.

Jackie Chan may be old and kinda goofy now, but back in ’78, he was young and kinda goofy. “Drunken Master” may be my favorite in the comedic kung fu genre. Wong finds a way to master the concept of Zui Quan (literally “drunken fist”) or Drunken Boxing, first by getting loaded on something from a bottle with a skull (Good stuff!), and later by training with the master, Beggar So.

And in a moment of characteristic indecisiveness, I have a three way tie for my number 1.

T-1. Redbelt (2008) – Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) vs. Ricardo Silva (John Machado) and others.

A movie by one of my favorite playwrights, David Mamet, “Redbelt” is not just a martial arts movie. Ejiofor plays a man who lives his life by a code of honor. The style Terry fights with is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which Ejiofor trained at for 3 months, sometimes up to 12 hours a day. Nowhere close to being a master, but not bad for an actor. I’m also a fan of an appearance by Dan Inosanto, a contemporary and friend of the late founder of my martial art, Inayan Eskrima.

T-1. The Protector (2005) – Kham (Tony Jaa) vs. a bunch of other dudes

Kham fights his way up the staircase. One shot from the floor up. I am just as much a fan of the long take as I am of Jaa, who like Jackie Chan, does his own stunts.

T-1. The Raid: Redemption (2011) – Rama (Iko Uwais) and Bowo (Tegar Satrya) vs. the Tenants

The prime style here is Silat, an art originating in Indonesia. It is fast and violent and when that one dude’s head gets dribbled down the wall like a basketball… well, I’m on board. ‘Nuff said.

So, there you go. I’m sure Jeff’s list will be nothing but scenes from Mortal Kombat.

Thank you Adam. Wonderful list. Just because I will feature Mortal Kombat in my list does not make it any less true!

5. Mortal Kombat – Johnny Cage vs Scorpion  – “Ready, FIGHT!” was a phrase every kid growing up in the 90’s knew.  One of the most popular games of all time was Mortal Kombat, and in 1995, the franchise figured it was about time to make a movie based on their game. What came out of it was, well, not the best movie ever but it is certainly a movie almost every kid saw. And even though this is not the best fight or anything, the scene with the perfect rows of trees and Scorpion yelling the iconic line of “GET OVER HERE!” is still timeless.

4. The Empire Strikes Back – Luke vs Vader – This fight isn’t as fast or as intense as the fight between Vader and Obi-Wan in Episode III, but the reason I picked this one is because this is the moment where you see the true power of Darth Vader, and the understanding he has with the Force that Luke clearly lacks. In this scene, Vader is not only fighting Luke, something he does with ease, but he is also throwing debris and Luke and getting inside Luke’s head. The fight is so one sided that Luke’s only escape is to jump down a shaft that leads out to the lower part of Cloud City. With that kind of power, how will Luke ever defeat his father? Well, as it turns out, Luke never really does. It would be interesting to see those two go at it again though, all things being equal, once Luke grew up a little bit.

3. The Raid: Redemption – Literally all of it – Seriously, this movie was so awesomely violent I almost did a whole top 5  on it alone. The fact that these actors did all this in a practical sense is just mind blowing. They are actually moving that fast and that coordinated. The scenes where the main character has a knife and is just carving people is straight masterful. It is honestly beautiful. If you have not seen this movie, please take 1.5 hours out of your life and check it out.

2. Kill Bill – The Bride vs The Crazy 88’s/Go-Go  – Want to see a female kick major ass? Look no further. Maybe it is the music (or lack there of against Go-Go) or the extreme sexiness of Uma or the fast paced action as she takes on presumably 88 people, but something about this scene is amazing. If I had to make a guess, it might be the yellow biker suit. But Uma also shows skills. She does everything from dismember, kill, decapitate, and chop off legs at the ankles to pull out a dudes eye ball. This, of course, is all in the name of finding her daughter and Killing Bill. If you haven’t seen these flicks in awhile, I suggest giving them a quick re-watch.

1. The Matrix – Anything with Neo – People give Keanu Reeves a hard time, and I guess that is fine. I tend not to though because he played Neo in the Matrices (that is the plural form of Matrix in case you did not know that). I also know people tended to hate the second and third Matrix movies, but I was ok with them. Sure they were convoluted and long, but they had some wonderful action scenes. In the first Matrix, we see Neo train and fight with Morpheous and then fight to rescue him. We got introduced to bullet-time and ramping as film techniques. The second Matrix movie brought us an awesome battle between Neo and 100 Agent Smiths (and yes, it is a little out dated graphically, but still some really cool things are done in that fight action wise), as well as the awesome fight with the twins and the whole highway chase scene. The Matrix movies, if taken for what they are, are solid flicks. I still stand by that to this day!

Honorable mention: V for Vendetta – V’s finale – I am not sure why I like this fight so much, I think it is the sound design of V’s knives flying though air, or just how fast he moves around as he is killing people that have no clue how to fight him. I like it though.

Leave a comment


  1. To add to your Honorable Mention Old Boy and any fight scene in Kung Fu Hustle

    Well lets be honest, any fight scene in a Japanese film is probably going to kick ass.

  2. Greg Mitchell

     /  October 13, 2012

    Actually Bullet-time was introduced in Blade, with Wesley Snipes, and that film also deserves honorable mention!


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