Recommend me some kickass fight scenes please!
February 26, 2009 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some contemporary movies that have lengthy, intense, kickass fight scenes please!

I just watched "Taken" and it has a really intense fight scene... it's not insanely long, but it's visceral and very exciting just the same. I realized that I love me a good fight scene! Another one that fits into the category for me was in the third Bourne film (Ultilmatum). They Live also has a legendary, ridiculously long fight scene.

Essentially, I'm looking for fights that make you gasp, and that are hair-on-end, sweaty palms, kick-you-in-the-ass awesome. So, please let me have 'em!
posted by ORthey to Media & Arts (63 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Shoot 'Em Up.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:02 PM on February 26, 2009

There is some serious fighting in Tarantino's Kill Bill 1 and 2.
posted by netbros at 9:06 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

Hard Boiled has one of the most ridiculous long takes in any action movie. Not such much hand-to-hand fighting (more gun play) but impressive nonetheless.
posted by wfrgms at 9:11 PM on February 26, 2009

I watch a lot of movies, and the absolute best fights I've ever seen are in Ichi the Killer.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:17 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by etc at 9:27 PM on February 26, 2009 [6 favorites]

Awesome, this is a fantastic start and I haven't seen any of these.
posted by ORthey at 9:29 PM on February 26, 2009

Eastern Promises has only one real fight scene, but it is very, very intense.
posted by fearthehat at 9:32 PM on February 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

The little dustup the John Cusack character has with the weird melty Harvey Keitel dude near the end of Grosse Point Blank was pretty neat.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:34 PM on February 26, 2009

The Hunted has some great sequences, like a long knife fight.
posted by wastelands at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2009

The last two James Bond movies both had some awesome and intense fight scenes.
posted by Edubya at 9:43 PM on February 26, 2009

Kiss of the Dragon is a guilty pleasure of mine that might fit your criteria.
posted by cali59 at 9:52 PM on February 26, 2009

I liked Ong Bak a lot.
posted by troy at 9:54 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Christopher Nolan Batman movies (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) feature the Keysi Fighting Method, a contemporary martial art.

As with the rebooted James Bond series, they like to show the hero believably getting a bit beaten up.
posted by dhartung at 9:56 PM on February 26, 2009

Tony Jaa's four-minute no-edit romp up a few flights of hotel stairs against a small army of bad guys in The Protector is pretty damn kickass, even if the movie itself is nothing special. The final fight is ok, too. And I'll second the incredibly grim and intense fight in the Turkish bath in Eastern Promises (which is a fantastic film besides).
posted by mediareport at 10:00 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are some awesome Thai martial arts movies out that make The Matrix look like kid stuff.

Movies directed by Prachya Pinkaew:
Ong Bak
The Protector
Those first two star Tony Jaa, and there's a new one I haven't seen yet: Chocolate, starring JeeJa Yanin, who's an up and coming Thai action film star.
posted by hpliferaft at 10:01 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

The Transporter series has, in each film, gone further into creating the idea that Jason Statham is the deadliest Brit alive. They're not wire-fu, but visceral, violent fights, sometimes copying, or at least referencing, some of the best of Hong Kong cinema.

And the melty faced guy in Grosse Point Blank (greatest movie ever made) was Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, John Cusacks sparing partner/kickboxing teacher. Great fight scene.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:03 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm ashamed already before being flamed (and I've previously watched just about everything mentioned in this thread and enjoyed the majority of them) but...

A number of Steven Segal movies are built entirely around the premise of "hair-on-end, sweaty palms, kick-you-in-the-ass" fights. Pretty much in exclusion of anything else.

Grab a couple of like-minded friends, a 24-case of beer each (and a lot of munchies), and a fistfull of Segal movies.


As for Taken - Yes! I didn't think that Neeson could pull it off, but he was amazing/convincing.
posted by porpoise at 10:10 PM on February 26, 2009

Aw crap - I totally agree with Ghidorah. Transporter movies are exactly what you're looking for. Of course, they descend in entertainment as they ascend in sequel number.

But that's where the beer comes in handy.
posted by porpoise at 10:12 PM on February 26, 2009

Presumably you know about all the fight scenes in the Matrix movies, right? I think the fight in the second movie between Neo and the minions of the Marovingian in the lobby of the villa was probably the best one in the series. But the training battle between Neo and Morpheus in the first movie was also pretty damned cool.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:17 PM on February 26, 2009

I'd have to disagree with porpoise about Segal. The problem I've always had with his films is that they set him up as the greatest badass of all time, even the newer ones (and, uh, yes, I think I've seen them all... and kind of enjoy them) where he's clearly not up for the action, and they obviously use body doubles. The main problem with Segal is he never gets hit. He always blocks everything, even when fighting groups of people. Even Neo got punched once in a while, and he was supposed to be all powerful.

Watch Segal for the stupidity of the films (especially the one in Montana, with the army virus that gets out, but can be cured by a common flower, that, of course, only Native American Wisdom can teach us about), and definitely, bring beer. But for gritty fights, if the hero doesn't break a sweat/get hit/get bloodied, it can't be all that gritty.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:40 PM on February 26, 2009

Saving Private Ryan has a pretty moving fight scene (not necessarily epic) near the end.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:05 PM on February 26, 2009

I don't remember the exact name, but it is a Thai movie. The guy is spending the whole time looking for his Elephant, saying "Where's my elephant!". Well anyway they have great fight scenes. There is one scene where its one continuous shot up a tower/hotel. Also all the stunts are done by him, and no special effects.
posted by Groovytimes at 11:06 PM on February 26, 2009

Ok I think it is The Protector, which was mentioned already. I second it!
posted by Groovytimes at 11:13 PM on February 26, 2009

It's a gunfight and not really contemporary but, Heat still has one of the best fight scenes I've seen in a movie.
posted by 517 at 11:13 PM on February 26, 2009

The first thing that comes to mind where I was like 'damn, that was well choreographed' was in the Matrix Reloaded where I think Neo encounters the guy I think who is named Mr. Smith and he has to fight a whole street gang of Mr. Smith replicas. I kept thinking during that fight 'how can Neo get out of this' but he kept finding ways and eventually he can't hold them off any longer and they all pile on him and you think he's finished but then he blasts out like superman. It may be dated by now but I remember thoroughly enjoying that fight scene the first time around. I think part of what made it so intense was that we all knew how dangerous even one Mr. Smith was and then all of a sudden Neo has to take on endless Mr. Smiths and the audience is all like ooohhh-shhhhiiaat.
posted by GleepGlop at 11:19 PM on February 26, 2009

Oh, god yes, Oldboy. Worth it just for the hallway fight sequence, but a harrowing movie all around.
posted by Curry at 11:25 PM on February 26, 2009

eternal chicken fight
posted by auntbunny at 11:35 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just want to third Oldboy.
The hallway fight scene is not your normal fight scene at all, but it is epic.
all one take, him v. about thirty dudes. his weapon of choice? a fucking hammer.
you can't beat that.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:29 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't remember the exact name, but it is a Thai movie. The guy is spending the whole time looking for his Elephant, saying "Where's my elephant!". Well anyway they have great fight scenes. There is one scene where its one continuous shot up a tower/hotel. Also all the stunts are done by him, and no special effects.

Yes it is awesome.
posted by afu at 12:57 AM on February 27, 2009

Black Mask had some ridiculous fights.

Honestly the lord of the rings movies had me going. Orlando bloom vs. the Oliphant was just awesome.

Equilibrium has some tasty fight scenes.

Gangs of new york had some good bits during the gang war. gang fights In the 1800's. With axes and knives. Yeah.

Once upon in China has the original ladder fight scene. Which got stolen by a Musketeer remake or something silly.

Obviously Gladiator had some great fight scenes.

James bond kicks some serious ass on a train in From Russia with Love.

Then there is 300. 300, which is just... war porn.
posted by gryftir at 1:05 AM on February 27, 2009

I'd third the hallway scene in Oldboy - that's some good fight action.

Agree that latter-day Seagal don't really work - his ego won't allow him to be touched, and the close-up fast editing is a poor substitute for good choreography. On Deadly Ground is his best film, the apex of incredibly watchable idiocy - there's a mindblowingly stupid slapsies fight where he re-educates a racist that no self-respecting fight-fan should miss. Plus Michael Caine, Billy Bob Thornton, John C McGinley and R Lee Earney. I sometimes find it difficult to believe that On Deadly Ground exists.

Swayze's Road House has a surprising number of violent interludes. And a monster truck.

The turkish bath scene in Eastern Promises is formidable.

Hard Target with Jean Claude Van Damme is silly but has the highest number of roundhouse kicks in a single movie that I've seen, and is overdireceted to all hell.

Van Damme's Bloodsport has some great fighting - one of his best.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:50 AM on February 27, 2009

Redbelt has some pretty authentic feeling fights. They're not very 'filmic' but feel intense.

If you want fighting that isn't hand-to-hand, I'd recommend Way of the Gun (here's a 10 minute video of the shoot-out at the end, major spoilers). It's an amazing movie in its own right and the action is very intense and quite realistic.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:20 AM on February 27, 2009

Jet Li's Fist of Legend is excellent for old school kung fu fights. Less wire work than his Tsui Hark films also.

(I'd also recommend Kiss of the Dragon. It's Luc Besson-produced Eurotrash in the vein of the Transporter series, and all the better for it.)
posted by permafrost at 3:50 AM on February 27, 2009

nthing The Transporter Trilogy, Both Tony Jaa movies. Chocolate too, one or two nice long scenes(one at a butcher shop if I recall correctly, which is pretty kickass).

Also Fearless, Fighter in the Wind, and IP Man (the most recent, it has some okay fight this guy, now these 5 guys, and now the whole room scenes)
posted by syntheticfaith at 4:00 AM on February 27, 2009

You really, really, really need to check out Jet Li, as permafrost suggests. Fearless was great. Did you see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

I really liked the scenes in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, if you haven't seen that.
posted by arimathea at 4:58 AM on February 27, 2009

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie has that rarest of all birds - a climactic fight scene that still looks great in animation.

Blade II had a few decent fights, particularly where Blade faces off against the big bad guy, who can regenerate. In one memorable scene, Blade breaks the bad guy's arm, only to be clobbered by that same arm a moment later, after it has healed.

Any of the Lone Wolf and Cub movies has several fight scenes, some of which are truly epic, and all of which feature vast quantities of fake blood being splashed or sprayed all over the set. My favorite would have to be the climactic battle at the end of Baby Cart at the River Styx.
posted by Ritchie at 5:07 AM on February 27, 2009

Oh, yeah, Fearless. It's like if Bloodsport had a decent story, and was well filmed. The fights are fantastic, and the final fight is incredibly impressive. Definitely worth watching. Crouching Tiger is one of my favorite movies, though I don't know if the fights match what you're looking for. It's very wire-fuey, but still fantastic. Hero, on the other hand, was a bit too wrapped up in looking pretty (and it was very, very pretty) to make the fights as amazing as I'd hoped.

Check out, if swords are okay, Beat Takeshi's Zatoichi. It's got an absurd touch, gouts of cgi blood that burst forth from every wound, but aside from that, the sword fights are just like they should be, short and incredibly violent, and as the final fight shows, can be decided before the swords are even drawn.

Come for the sword fighting, but stay for the dance sequence at the end. It's fantastic.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:07 AM on February 27, 2009

The ending of Hot Fuzz is a great send-up of action movies that manages to both be funny and fist-tightening at the same time.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:20 AM on February 27, 2009

some of the older Jackie Chan movies have fantastic long fight scenes, with lots of amazing stunt & acrobatics thrown in

Police Story - vid
Drunken Master 2 - vid
Dragons Forever - vid
Wheels on Meals - vid

plus, as a bonus: Jackie Chan's Top 10 Stunts
posted by jammy at 5:22 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some great suggestions.

I want to add the classic "They Live". Really good!

Also (again) see the awesomeness of Jet Li in "Unleashed" (also titled "Danny the Dog").

Another good one is the french "Banlieue 13".

posted by alchemist at 6:21 AM on February 27, 2009

Seconding Alchemist's suggestion Banlieue 13 (District 13).
posted by gregr at 6:35 AM on February 27, 2009

Can't believe no one mentioned the Bourne trilogy yet.

The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Ultimatum and Bourne Supremacy (I think that's what they're called). The krav manga-ish fighting has become a standard in contemporary Hollywood movies (see the two most recent James Bond films 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace').
posted by NekulturnY at 6:39 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Demonlover. Excellently creepy corporate espionage thriller, with several great fights and chases; the centerpiece of the film is an uncomfortably Wild Kingdom-style fight between Connie Nielsen and Gina Gershon.
posted by hermitosis at 7:08 AM on February 27, 2009

NekulturnY got it in one. The Bourne movies have some totally hard-core fight scenes in them. The scene in the Bourne Ultimatum in Tangier when Matt Damon fights the assassin in the small apartment bathroom has to be sen to be believed. Talk about a knife fight in a phone booth!
posted by 543DoublePlay at 7:29 AM on February 27, 2009

Definitely Eastern Promises, Jackie Chan older and newer stuff (Rumble in the Bronx...), Kung-Fu Hustle is kind of like a real-life version of a kung-fu cartoon, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Jet Li (Hero maybe).
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:36 AM on February 27, 2009

A History of Violence hasn't been mentioned yet.
posted by orme at 8:06 AM on February 27, 2009

As others have mentioned, "Eastern Promises." Not only does it seem to go on forever, but the intensity is amplified because the main character, portrayed by Viggo Mortensen, is completely nude and thus extremely vulnerable. Highly recommended.
posted by mrdemills at 8:44 AM on February 27, 2009

Wow, what an awesome list. I have a lot of movies to watch! And yeah, the scene in eastern promises is basically the prototype of what I'm talking about, I can't believe I forgot to mention it myself.
posted by ORthey at 8:53 AM on February 27, 2009

I could get spanked for recommending this ... but I suggest heading down to your local Blockbuster and renting a "Best of" collection of Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts.

Forget the fighting culture and the gladiator posing. It's good competition. The fights are exciting. More strategic than boxing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:05 AM on February 27, 2009

Really see kung fu hustle. Its has some really awesome fight scenes. If you like the over the top fight scene stuff from the Matrix you have to see this movie.

Theres a dubbed version thats not terrible, but it misses a bunch of jokes.
posted by Iax at 10:19 AM on February 27, 2009

OOH, I second Oldboy - best fight scene ever. It's beautiful, actually. He's in a hallway, fighting across the screen from left to right. It could be painted on a Grecian urn!

Also, A History of Violence!
posted by junipero at 11:04 AM on February 27, 2009

Uh, I cannot believe I forgot -- THE WRESTLER. Watch out for the staple gun!
posted by junipero at 11:10 AM on February 27, 2009

Not a movie, but still one of the most chilling fight scenes on screen: Tony Soprano's fight with Ralphie Cifaretto in episode 48
posted by Neiltupper at 12:53 PM on February 27, 2009

Can't believe no one mentioned the Bourne trilogy yet.

Read the question again.
posted by mediareport at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2009

if you like mindless fighting with guns swords and fists.... and you can take bad chinese acting... see Versus! and for anime, Vampire Hunter D has some cool unreal fights
posted by Redhush at 2:39 PM on February 27, 2009

Uhm, as ridiculous as the name sounds... Bulletproof Monk?
posted by halogen at 9:06 PM on February 27, 2009

On the lighter side....
Cato vs. Closeau:Round one. Round two. Bonus round.
Stingray vs. Nick Dimarco in Undefeatable. Very likely the most agonizingly-so-godawful-it's-brilliant fight scene ever.
posted by prinado at 10:42 PM on February 27, 2009

Read the question again.

Didn't read the "more inside" carefully, I admit. Metafilter needs an "edit" button...
posted by NekulturnY at 5:57 AM on February 28, 2009

posted by 31d1 at 11:21 AM on February 28, 2009

Thirding Kiss of the Dragon. Just check out this scene:
posted by LC at 5:54 PM on February 28, 2009

Try "Brotherhood of the Wolf". It has a kick-ass fight scene in the rain at the beginning.

It's a French action/horror/suspense movie that's a bit slow in parts, but not bad.

I'd suggest Netflixing it as it's not likely to be at your local Blockbuster...
posted by Ashman at 9:37 PM on February 28, 2009

Okay, not exactly what you're asking for, but the Pineapple Express fight scene at Red's made me go "ooch, JEEZ, AWF! AGG!" a lot, which is what your description reminds me of. Very immediate feeling, very real.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:06 PM on March 2, 2009

For HK action there are lots of great fights (Iron Monkey and Drunken Master 2 have already been mentioned), but a HIGHLY underrated HK flick is Tsui Hark's masterpiece The Blade. Exactly what you're looking for if you want visceral, grab-you-by-the-esophagus slam-bang action. I can't recommend this flick enough.
posted by waraw at 7:03 PM on March 2, 2009

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