With the fantastic “The Raid: Redemption” being released in theaters I thought I would compile a list of my Favorite Action Sequences in honor of the film and in particular its stellar staircase sequence near the beginning of the film. I will say this is a personal list and is likely to start debate over its inclusions and exclusions, this is good. Hopefully there are a few new discoveries on this list for you.
Final Fight in Five Deadly Venoms
A very personal pick as the Venoms was the first Shaw brothers film I ever saw and for me it’s still the best. This was the film that got me hooked on the Martial Arts genre and the clip features 5 of the 6 actors who would go on to be known as “The Venoms Crew”
Way of the Dragon – Bruce vs Chuck
Bruce Lee is the godfather of Modern Kung Fu film and Enter the Dragon is his masterpiece. Yet my favorite fight of his comes from Way of the Dragon mainly due to the caliber of his opponent, Chuck Norris. Chuck may be a punchline nowadays, but when this was filmed he was a Karate world champion. The fight scene was choreographed between the two of them, and you can tell they both wanted it to be perfect.
The Opening Sequence of JCVD
The fact that a nearly 50 year old Jean Claude Van Damme pulls off this scene is brilliant. A continuous sequence of Jean Claude fighting his way through a war torn setting, taking out multitudes along the way, only to finish and be told he needs to go again by a spoiled film director who “forgot” to watch. The fact that JCVD is actually a really good movie helps as well.
Jet Li vs an entire Japanese Dojo in Fist of Legend
Jet Li playing the classic character of Chen Zhen, walks into a Japanese Dojo and proceeds to kick everyone’s ass in sight. Jet Li at his absolute best.
Final Fight – Chocolate
The man behind Tony Jaa’s first 2 films brings us the female counterpart in JeeJa Yanin. In the film she plays an autistic girl who learns muay thai from movies and watching fighters in a local gym, then when her mother becomes ill (a former mob enforcer), she decides to go collect on her mother’s old debts to afford the medical attention she requires. Great film, seek it out.
Dragons Forever – Final fight in warehouse
The first fight scene from the “Three Brothers” (Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung) on this list is one of the last times they were all on the screen together. It features the three fighting all over a nondescript warehouse with the highlights being the rematch between Benny “the jet” Urquidez and Jackie Chan (their first battle may also end up on here) and the cigar chomping, scene stealing of Yuen Wah.
Ong Bak – The Kick
Tony Jaa’s debut came with so much hype attached that he would be the new savior of Martial Arts film making that it comes as quite a surprise that he does no fighting for almost the entire first half of the film. Director Prachya Pinkaew builds this tension til Jaa’s Ting is thrust into the ring, and answers any questions in mere seconds.
Wheels on Meals – Final Fight Sequence
The Second “Three Brothers” sequence on the list features Sammo at his comedic best and Yuen Biao’s lightning quick hands and feet being displayed as well as his fencing ability!?! But the real gem here is Jackie Chan vs Benny “the jet” Urquidez in what is still arguably the best one on one fight sequences of all time. And yes those candles are real and that was not faked.
Jackie Chan vs the Axe Gang – Drunken Master 2
Known in North America as Legend of the Drunken Master, DM2 may be the best overall film of Jackie’s entire catalog, and also features a killer end fight between Jackie and his real life bodyguard. But this manic ballet of violence in which Jackie takes on and defeats over 100 men who just keep coming is the essence of what makes Jackie great. The use of environment and acrobatics as well as comedy has become his trademark, and nowhere else is it done better.
And the controversial #1….
Alley Fight from SPL aka Killzone
…is only controversial if you’ve never seen it. This is one great film, if you haven’t seen it you need to. Donnie Yen and newcomer Wu Jing , also known as Jackie Wu, choreographed this sequence between themselves, and rumor has it they spent little time setting moves and worried more about the blocking and hitting the camera marks so they could go all out with each other. A brutal, intense scene that works so well due to rawness of the fight, this fight definitely takes my #1 spot.
Honorable Mentions: The aforementioned final fight from Drunken Master 2, The Staircase sequence from Tom Yum Goong (The Protector) – very hard to leave that one off, the underground fight from Enter The Dragon, the Axe Gang fight from Kung Fu Hustle and many more I sure I’ve missed and am betting I will be told about. So let the debate begin, how good/bad do you think I did?
Movie Junkie TO