Audiences across the globe love to grab their popcorn, sit down in front of the big screen and watch an intense action film that is so vivid they forget they’re spectators in a narrative story. With all the explosions and epic dialogue film directors pride themselves on recording, taking the story to the next level with a hand-to-hand fight scene just might be what an action-packed movie needs to become legendary.
Although great hand-to-hand fight scenes are complicated to produce, a few films managed to pull the epic close-quarter battles off.
Here are a few that happen to get them right.
Black Mamba vs Cobra Head in ‘Kill Bill: Vol 1’
When moviegoers showed up to the theaters to watch one of Tarantino’s first films, they knew they were going to get clever dialogue and a whole bunch of “f” bombs. Little did they know, two non-martial artists (Uma Thurman and Vivica A. Fox) were about to treat the audience to a badass hand-to-hand fight scene that would get temporarily interrupted by a young girl.
Since both women are warriors, they continued to battle it out, even with a little girl in the house.
Bringing a knife to a pen fight in ‘The Bourne Identity’
Before this film, Matt Damon wasn’t known for doing many action films, unless you count the third act of Steven Spielberg’s war epic Saving Private Ryan, which he had done four years prior.
However, once Damon stepped in the role of a government spy who had lost his memory, audiences were pleasantly surprised by the Good Will Hunting star as he got down-and-dirty for his dope fight scene.
Neo vs Agent Smith in ‘The Matrix’
We don’t think we have to setup how f*cking cool this movie is, so we won’t, but whoever the hell thought Keanu Reeves could scrap it out like a Kung Fu master was beyond everyone.
If you thought you could predict that, well, then you’re a liar.
The scenes where Neo took on Agent Smith were over-the-top outstanding and proved that Johnny Utah from Point Break could save the world as the chosen one.
The hammer beating in ‘Old Boy’
In 2003, Chan-wook Park directed a gritty film about a man who was kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years before being let go, only to learn that he must find his captor within the next five days.
If you haven’t seen this film, watch it this weekend. You’re missing out. But if you don’t have time, at least watch this single shot fight scene where the protagonist beats the sh*t out of everyone with a hammer.
Tony Jaa breaks everyone’s bones in ‘The Protector’
The Protector stars Maui Thai legend Tony Jaa, whose character has his childhood elephant stolen from him and he embarks on a violent mission to retrieve his best friend.
This brutal action flick pulls no punches as Jaa honestly kicks the sh*t out of everyone he encounters, especially a room full of bad guys — who he eliminates in a matter of minutes.
Jackie Chan fights a warehouse full of thugs in ‘Rumble in the Bronx’
If we need to introduce how badass Jackie Chan is, then you need to get out more. The Kung Fu legend has choreographed some of the coolest looking fight scenes ever. His unique personality and fighting ability look like poetry in motion.
In 1995’s Rumble in the Bronx, Chan takes on a warehouse full of New York thugs and uses his environment as a weapon to defeat his troubled aggressors.
Bruce Lee goes up against Chuck Norris ‘Way of the Dragon’
What else can we say besides legend vs. legend? It’s cinematic hand-to-hand combat at its very best. We’re done talking about it. Watch it for yourself.