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…