Our Favourites 1 - Fight Scenes

Hey everyone and welcome to the "Our Favourites" series. We've been reading lists, watching videos, and listening to podcasts to prepare. It's been really interesting finding out about the favourites that people have because there's such variety. In discussing the idea with the YWB site runners, we agreed it would be a cool thing to throw up posts about our favourites. We have fights, chases, shootouts, deaths, kisses, possibly even a "brawl" category if people don't use a bunch of big gang fights in the fight post.This first post (as you can probably deduce from the title) is about our favourite fight scenes.  Fight scenes are very important to a movie and, if done well, can make a bad movie good, or a good movie great.  They show off talent, heart, and desire.  Done poorly, a fight scene can break a movie any semblance, continuity, and pacing (see the recycled and poorly done Neo/Agent Smith fight in the third Matrix movie on Patrick's list).

Patrick

I don't have a clear cut specific fight scene for a number one, so I am just going to start the list off and go through five or six fight scenes that I thought were really awesome.  I also omitted as many fight scenes involving Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Samo Hung, Donnie Yen or any other big Asian fighter/actor because... well, it wasn't fair, the list would involve all of them and no one else. I also have not picked any cartoons, not that I'm against them, just that I think they aren't as good.For my first fight I picked the swinging vine capoeira fight scene from The Rundown involving The Rock and Ernie Reyes Jr. alongside some other dudes.  I loved this fight scene because it was really the first big film of The Rocks.  I realize he had his awesome cameo in the Mummy Returns and was in The Scorpion King, but let's be real... the Mummy Returns had none of the first movies sparkle and the Scorpion King wasn't really very good (I still liked it, but the villain was just awful).  So to see The Rock as a role that fit him properly as well as playing against a couple pretty sweet actors in Seann William Scott and Rosario Dawson (Also, Christopher Walken played himself in the movie) was pretty awesome.  He did a lot of his own stunts, this fight being one of them and it looked like it hurt a whole bunch.  Ernie Reyes Jr. as a spitfire of a militant kicks some serious ass against The Rock, with high flying, weapons, and The Rock using his Patented "Rock Bottom" to take a guy out.  No peoples elbow, which sucks for me, but still a great fight scene.For my second fight scene I picked the first fight scene from the movie Warrior starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two brothers who meet each other in the finals of a MMA style fight movie. Hardy has been in a lot of movies and has hit the A status many of us thought that he would hit, but to me this movie concreted him as the monster we now know.  The first fight scene where he fights a guy named "Mad Dog", which already I knew the guy was gonna lose, but didn't realize just how badly.  Hardy beats the living shit out of this guy after taking a hit or two from him.  Hardy and Edgerton bother learned how to fight properly in MMA for this, and both worked really hard, this fight scene paid off.  I fought with myself on if I should pick this or not, because it was a match and not a fight technically, but it was a super good fight scene and I thought it deserved to be on here.Honourable MentionThe airplane fight scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I love Harrison Ford and this fight scene is really good.  It's old, but he takes the hits real well (Does it himself too) and is super badass, so it made sense.  It's a pretty short fight scene all things considered, but he fights a Nazi Boxer who roughs him up and Indiana Jones basically cheats to win, but it's not cheating because it's a fight.  I thought it was fun and wanted to put it on here without being an HM, but couldn't justify it when it goes up against....The final fight scene between Maximus Decimus Meridious and Commodus in Gladiator where Maximus dies, but not before killing Commodus in a great fight scene that most people knew the outcome of already.  I put this on here because I'm pretty sure this was the first epic movie I really liked.  I wasn't a fan of Braveheart because it's approximately 357 hours long, so this got the nod for me.  I also loved Russell Crowe as the main protagonist and thought he played the scene expertly.  Some good blood, some villains dying and the hero of the movie having the most grand sendoff he could.  I also thought I would rather put the fight scene over the death scene in another list because that wasn't as great to me.I also picked the cool elevator escape scene from Captain America: Winter Soldier on the list, because it's a great limited space fight scene. Chris Evans as the title role takes on like...8 guys in an elevator that are trying to capture him and hold him prisoner, but to no avail.  He fights off the guys, takes down Frank Grillo and saves the day.  I thought this scene was super fun because of limited space, as I'd mentioned before.  That's a big thing for me, because it looked impressive and you can tell that they had to choreograph the fight so well for it to not look like crap.Honourable MentionBefore I throw my last one at you, I wanted to say that the Vin Diesel/random guy bar fight scene in Knockaround Guys is really good too.  It's a short scene that basically revolves around Diesel repeatedly punching a guy in the kidneys and explaining to him what he thinks a tough guy should be.  It was kind of terrifying to think about just how much blood that guy would be peeing out, so this one is a good one for me.For my last fight, the fifth (seventh) in my unofficial top five, I picked the black and white bathroom fight scene in Casino Royale.  I really liked how raw and awful it was, as well as the fact it concreted Daniel Craig in peoples minds as James Bond.  The sound was done really well, a poignant end to give him the 00 status, some good moves that hurt a lot, great fight scene for me.  I won't ever go as far as to say Craig is my favourite Bond, but this COULD be my favourite Bond scene.  And don't worry Craig lovers, he's easily in my top 5 of favourite James Bonds.

Zach

#5 - Robocop - Murphy's death sceneIs it really a fight if it's completely one-sided? Of course! Murphy getting literally torn apart is the textbook example of practical 80's violence in my book. No CG blood spatter here, just dudes ripping a guy to shreds and laughing as they do. The entire plot of Robocop revolves around this scene being memorable and they do a bang up job.

#4 The Dark Knight Rises - Bane Breaks the BatWhile I have mixed feelings about this movie as a whole, this scene is one of my favorites of the entire trilogy. It's as much of a monologue as it is a fight scene, which is perfect for Bane, and Nolan makes the fight feel deliberate and mythic rather than realistic. Bane's voice is at his most captivating here and it's tough to take your eyes off him in this scene. My only problem is that this scene really shows how bad their final brief fight is.

#3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Highway FightOne of my favorite movies of the past few years, it was hard to pick just one action scene. I went with the fight in the highway, specifically the hand to hand portion between Cap and Bucky. I'm so glad the Russo bros are slowly taking over Marvel because they seem to have a very firm grasp on how to film superpowered fight scenes, without just having the heroes do nothing but fight henchmen (*cough* Avengers 1&2). A couple amazing knife flips from Bucky make this one definitely worth checking out

.#2 Star Wars Episode 5 - Vader vs. LukeFor me this is the bar for a traditional movie fight scene, simply because the fight itself is not particularly exciting just on its own. It's about the buildup between these two, the brief moments of dialogue and the dynamic and engaging setting. You really feel the tension that Luke does as he tries desperately to keep up with someone much much better than him. Combine these elements with a conclusion to the fight that is one of the most iconic moments in film history and you've got yourself a winner in my books.

#1 The Raid - Mad Dog FinaleI felt it would be criminal to not put a scene from The Raid, in my opinion the best martial arts movie ever made, on the list. I chose the finale, but honestly I could have chosen just about any fight from this movie. The choreography is brutal yet somehow beautiful at the same time; like a ballet dancer swinging around a chainsaw. I don't want to say to much, but if you haven't seen The Raid: GO NOW!

Tim

I opted to not go with a very long list as the others have covered a lot of ground. I don’t want to come up with a top five and then feel obligated to it. That’s a lot of pressure I’d rather not have to deal with. Regardless, I’ve come up with a few good fight scenes that really take the cake for me. Consider the cake taken after this brief list:

Inigo Montoya having to face off against the Dread Pirate Roberts is a pivotal scene in both The Princess Bride as well as cinema in general. After climbing the Cliffs Of Insanity, to be able to have such a spirited fight that involves ambidextrous duelling, acrobatic flips, and clever banter throughout is pretty fucking special. Full credit goes to both Westley and Inigo and I think everyone wins after seeing that duel.

A rather new entry into the “best fight” scene would be local favourite TC2000 (Tom Cruise for you laypeople) and Rebecca Ferguson taking on what appears to be an entire elite squad of mercenaries in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. There’s some agile and fluid fighting here and TC2000 shimmying up the pole he’s chained to is nothing short of amazing.

Patrick beat me to it as I’d put the “elevator scene” from Captain America: Winter Soldier on my list as well because it’s that fucking good. I’ll go to another scene in the movie that is an extended fight scene right after Steve Rogers jumps out of a plane sans parachute. He proceeds to lay a whupping down on an entire ship of Hydra thugs nearly single-handedly. Probably the best comic book movie ever and I’m glad we all give it credit.

I’m sure there are other fight scenes worth their weight in gold, but I’ll happily stick to these for now. I debated putting the opening scene from TMNT II onto the list but I just couldn’t bring myself to. Something about self-respect…

July Comic Roundup (Part 3)

Harley Quinn #18This is one of DC's best selling books right now and I'm giving it another chance after dropping it around issue 12. The book has gotten a lot tighter in the writing department. I never have trouble following the incredibly silly plots, which used to be a problem for me, and the supporting cast is much more memorable and likable. In the two new issue I have read, Poison Ivy has appeared in both. I really enjoy the pairing of those two. Not to mention that Conner and Palmiotti have to win the award for most explicit lesbian references between Ivy and Harley.That actually brings me to my next point, how surprisingly weird and occasionally filthy Harley Quinn is as a best-selling book. This issue features a sailor who looks exactly like Popeye eating alien seaweed that makes him super strong. Half way through the issue Harley has a multiple page pirate dream sequence featuring the Joker. And this is a top ten selling book!Conner and Palmiotti have really nailed the tone of exactly what a Harley Quinn book should be. It's a great example of artists doing what they want to do rather than trying to be popular and being rewarded for their efforts.Aquaman #42Cullen Bunn's run on Aquaman continues as we, very slowly and in a unnecessarily complicated fashion, are told how Arthur became the enemy of Atlantis that he is in the new status quo.It turns out another dimension is slowly infecting ours and to save the world Aquaman must destroy the world infecting ours. The problem is that the other world is inhabited by people that are somehow Atlantean. The specifics of this were not revealed in this issue, which only helped highlight the pacing problems. All of the exposition is given intermittently through flashbacks while we see Aquaman in the present doing his renegade thing as he fights to protect these other dimensional atlanteans. This is very jarring and a storytelling technique that I feel is used to create a false sense of complexity.The story itself is interesting enough once it gets underway as we meet the gang of underwater themed badasses that Mera has sent to bring Aquaman in. It seems like a change destined to be forgotten though, as there is nothing that feels distinctly "Aquaman" about it. I think this storyline could really be slapped on to any character, and actually feels similar to the incursion storyline from New Avengers. I do plan to continue reading though, and would love to be proven wrong.Hail Hydra #1 (Secret Wars)It was recently announced that Rick Remender was going to be leaving Marvel to focus on his numerous creator owned projects. This was bittersweet for me; while I prefer his independent work, his runs on Venom and Uncanny X-force were part of the reason I got into modern marvel comics. I'm glad to see that the series that might very well be his last work at Marvel is off to a good start.Hail Hydra follows Ian Rogers, Steve's adopted son, as he is transported to a domain in Battleworld where Hydra has taken over everything. I believe the idea here is that this is the regular universe Ian who has been transported forward in time to Battleworld, which is a neat idea from Remender. So far this book really feels like a denouement to Remender's Steve Rogers run and a time for Ian to finally get the spotlight.Lots of good action and interesting set-up. A quality first issue.

July Comic Roundup (Part 2)

Grayson #10My favorite book right now just keeps getting better. With his ex-partner Huntress running Spyral, you'd think things might get a little easier for former Robin Dick Grayson. But when he discovers that he is being framed for murder, Dick Grayson finds that he is on his own against whoever is out to get him. This issue he crosses paths with the always entertaining Lex Luthor. This book is full of amazing action, intrigue, humour and art. I'll probably never review an issue again since I have so little to say, but I just wanted to get the word out about how good Grayson is.Wonder Woman #42The reign of the Finches (husband and wife writer/artist team David and Meredith) continues as they begin their second arc on the book. This issue opens with a bit of a PSA about men being respectful to women in a club situation as a slimy guy tries to grope Wonder Woman and gets a judo flip for his efforts. Sometimes this sort of soapbox writing can be detrimental to the quality of a book, or can take the reader out of the story. It is very quick and honestly if any character should be allowed to get on a soapbox about woman's rights it is Wonder Woman, so I didn't mind it.We are introduced to our new villain: Aegeus, great-grandson of Theseus. He is a regular guy who wants to become the god of war and is being backed by an unseen party. The Finches have been sticking to the groundwork laid by Azzarello and Chiang in their well-beloved run that preceded this one. They are continuing to utilize the Greek Pantheon as a supporting cast and as plot points and I appreciate the continuity.For a book that I initially thought was very weak, I enjoyed this issue a lot. I think we are watching Meredith gradually become a better writer and this is the best art I've ever seen from David.Punisher #20Frank deals with the end of the old universe the only way he knows how, by murdering a whole bunch of people. While I have found Edmonson's Punisher run to be a bit on the boring side, this issue provides a possible ending to Frank's story an it's really a lot of fun. Frank is crossing any and all borders to punish as many people as he can before the universe ends (thanks a lot secret wars!) and he wages an all out assault on a terrorist compound.Definitely a must read for Frank fans. Lots of great action and character moments. Plus murder, lots and lots of murder.Magneto #20Magneto also faces the end of days in his second last issue of this volume. Writer Cullen Bunn really has a handle on just what makes Magneto tick as Eric rage against the machine in an attempt to stop the end of the universe (secret wars again). Most of the issue is told in flashback as we see Magneto preparing for what we learn is a suicidal attempt to save the world.I am really enjoying these last days tie-ins to secret wars and would have liked to have seen more of them. Being able to give an a-list character a definitive ending is pretty rare. Hopefully the last issue of Magneto is able to maintain this momentum.

The Unsung Heroes Of Hollywood: James Remar Bonus Round

The Hicks that never wasDid you know that James Remar was originally cast in the role of Hicks in James Cameron's Aliens? He even shot a few weeks worth of footage and a shot of him remains in the film as the marines enter the Alien hive. The sequence was a fairly complicated action set piece and it would have been too expensive to reshoot the scene with Michael Biehn, who replaced Remar. Instead they only used shots of Remar from behind and cut away before his face was shown.So what was the reason for replacing him? This was a mystery for many years as all parties involved would only cite "creative differences" when asked. It wasn't until recently that Remar himself revealed the reason: he had been busted with possession of drugs during filming and was promptly fired.Just a fun bit of trivia that I thought I'd add about James Remar. One can't help but wonder it he wouldn't have been so unsung had he managed to hang on to the role of Hicks

Zach's Ant-Man Review

I finally got around to seeing Ant-Man and liked it so much that I figured it was worth posting some of my thoughts about it.ant1Right off the bat, this is the first superhero movie to really focus on the superpowers of the main character and how seemingly simple powers can be used in a creative way. The shrinking and ant communication scenes are really the backbone of the movie and I thought that they were handled incredibly well. In a movie like Iron Man, Thor or Captain America, the heroes have standard combat powers like strength, speed and defense. Scott Lang, on the other hand, has to use how to use his powers skillfully in order to be an effective threat. I think the movie does a great job of showing how someone with Ant-Man's skills set could be a force to be reckoned with, and I was glad to see that they took the character so seriously. Scenes with Scott shrinking and growing at will were very exciting and gave a unique flavor to the action scenes.ant2Paul Rudd really gives a great performance, as does Michael Douglas. As someone who is familiar with Ant-man'a history but is by no means a die-hard Ant-fan (you can have that for free marvel), I wasn't too concerned by the fact that they skipped over Hank Pym and went straight to Scott Lang. I did like how Douglas portrayed Pym as a genius who used the ant communication device rather than shrinking. It was a good way to show the character is not someone to be messed with without taking any focus away from Scott. He reminded me of Old Man Bruce from Batman Beyond. His relationship with Hope and the glimpses of his past that we see feel very true to the core of who Hank Pym is: a brilliant but incredibly flawed man.ant3The character of Scott Lang borders on being underwritten, but Rudd brings enough charm an emotion to the role that might actually be my favorite hero in the Marvel Movies. He is relatable, funny and really just comes across as a genuinely decent guy. The actress that plays his daughter Cassie is very cute and the scenes between the two of them would melt even a Frost Giants heart (get it? Cause... marvel). Rudd is the classic everyman, and the marvel universe is sorely missing a regular guy. I can just imagine Rudd's reaction to seeing Rocket Raccoon or Thanos for the first time.ant4SPOILER WARNINGMy absolute favorite part of the movie was the fight between Ant-Man and Falcon. Scott has to break into the New Avengers Facility and who should show up to stop him but Falcon. This scene is the most cohesive that the movie universe has ever felt to me. It makes sense why these two characters meet, they interact in a meaningful way and their interaction opens the door for more interactions down the line. Compare this to the jammed in pool scene in Ultron or the Nick Fury subplot that was the middle hour of Iron Man 2. Not to mention that is was maybe the best fight in the Marvel Movies so far.END SPOILERSant5I loved the movie and would go see it again. My only complaint is that there are no twists or turns in the storyline, everything plays out exactly like you think it will. The journey is an awful lot of fun though and I hope we see Ant-Man 2 get confirmed before too long.