Top Ten Movie Fights

Alright, I think it’s finally time I made this list. A while back I made a list of my Top Ten Movie Gun Fights, but now it’s time for my list of the greatest fights in film. By fights I mean anything other than guns, whether that be swords, bats, rocks, or yes, fists. For most of the fights I tried to keep it to mano a mano, but I made some exceptions I felt I needed to. I also tried to keep it so a film could only make the list once even though things would slightly change otherwise. I wanted to make a definitive list that shows exactly how I feel about fights in film. These are the ones I love…

10. Oh Dae-Suh vs. Henchmen (Oldboy)

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In a work of tour de-force filmmaking, Chan-wook Park crafts one of the greatest fights in film. Our protagonist on a gritty journey of vengeance is trapped in a tight hallway with a number of heavily armed henchmen whom he does battle with single handedly. The camera never takes it’s eye off the action and never changes it’s shot as we venture down the hall through all the carnage. It quenches blood thirst and showcases truly great filmmaking.

9. Jake LaMotta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson (Raging Bull)

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Raging Bull is Martin Scorsese’s raw and brutal masterpiece of man, a boxer no less. Where his violent tendencies are helpful in the ring, the same can’t be said about his life outside of what he was born to do. The greatest scene in the film takes place between the protagonist Jake LaMotta and his boxing rival Sugar Ray Robinson. In their final fight Robinson may be announced the winner, but after seeing this brilliant scene, I leave it up to you. Who really won?

8. Rick Deckard vs. Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

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Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner who loses his gun and falls prey to the powerful and philosophical replicant, Roy Batty. Roy toys wit him the whole time before showing him the value of life. Who is Deckard to take it away? What makes a human a human? Roy delves into this after proving his worth over Deckard’s. Their final meeting in the rain on the rooftops is what makes Blade Runner the glorious and profound masterpiece that it is.

7. Maximus vs. Commodus (Gladiator)

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Gladiator takes it’s viewers on one of the most epic and satisfying journeys ever filmed. We follow Roman General Maximus as he falls into slavery eventually making his way into the Colosseum as gladiator. The climax of Maximus’ beautiful quest comes in form of a sword fight between the heroic gladiator, Maximus and the pretentious scum that is the Emperor of Rome, Commodus. It’s impossible not to love Maximus and hate Commodus. To see them finally clash swords is breathtaking.

6. King Kong vs. T-Rex (King Kong)

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In order to protect Ann Darrow, the mighty Kong does battle with a troupe of ferocious T-Rex. This is just a beautiful realization of the magic of movies. We feel for this giant ape and his character, he’s a protector here and we root for this mighty beast to conquer over these flesh-craving fiends. The scene is just awesome. It grabs hold of you and puts you in that theater again as a kid, a kid just sitting back and taking it all in. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is an unspoken epic and this moment is a testament to its excellence.

5. Arthur vs. Projections (Inception)

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Inception is one of the most memorable and fascinating movies ever made. You’d be hard pressed to find a moment in the film as memorable as the now classic hallway scene. Arthur is left to fend for himself in the second level of dreams and he’s very able to hold his own against Fisher’s trained projections. Fighting becomes an interesting task when you’re not only fighting on the ground, but on the ceiling, the walls and in the air. Christopher Nolan holds no punches in his reality-bending, science fiction masterpiece.

4. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)

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The Star Wars saga doesn’t particularly hold a special place in my heart. I enjoy Star Wars and I always will, but I’ll always be more of a Lord of the Rings man myself. My favorite Star Wars movie is actually Revenge of the Sith and the reason is this scene. This is far and away the greatest lightsaber fight ever filmed. Not only is it an extravagant action scene that thrills with every passing second, it also has the emotional gravity. This is a master and an apprentice fighting for their lives. It was all leading to this and the spectacular scene makes Revenge of the Sith the only redeeming quality of the atrocious new trilogy.

3. Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins)

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Like slot number four, this scene also follows a fight between a master and an apprentice, but it’s far more beautiful here. Ra’s Al Ghul is personally responsible for the training of the warrior that would become Batman. Ghul believes in a less merciful brand of justice than Batman does and their differences lead them to a train and the greatest scene in Batman Begins. Ra’s Al Ghul is a fantastic character and the relationship between him and Batman is established flawlessly. It all culminates to their final confrontation and it is miraculous.

2. The Bride vs. Bill (Kill Bill)

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Kill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s perfectly epic, blood-soaked and gorgeous tale of revenge. There is one thing that our protagonist needs and it’s in the title of the movie. A bloodlust drives our deadly hero and she will stop at nothing to accomplish her goal. As I said before I didn’t want to use two different fights from the same movie and take up two spots. If I had I certainly would’ve had the Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves on this list, but it’s basically just tied for the second slot of the greatest fights in film with the fight the entirety of the four-hour epic is leading to, The Bride’s confrontation with Bill. Like all brilliant Tarantino scenes, tension is built through dialogue and the payoff is extraordinary.

1. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

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There are two fights between Batman and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises that exemplify the war that is waged between these two titans throughout the entire movie. The two fights themselves represent the two greatest fights in film. If I had to pick one, I’d lean towards the beautiful war in the snow in which the stakes are made clear and hope triumphs over despair. Don’t get me wrong however, the scene in which Bane breaks the Bat far surpasses any movie fight I’ve seen, but as I said I would I choose one. Their first encounter is drawn out and brutal as Bane inflicts as much pain and damage on Batman as he can before literally breaking him (physically and mentally). When Batman conquers over Bane in the end, Batman doesn’t have that time. It’s a battle of efficiency and realism. Batman has faced this monster of a man before, he’s gone through a journey since and it’s the result of this fight that decides the fate of Gotham. It’s the greatest fight in all of film.

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Top Ten Guilty Pleasure Movies

This was a confusing list to make. It’s one I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but I just wasn’t completely sure how to go about it. I don’t actually even like the title of the list because I certainly don’t feel guilty about loving these movies, I just do. As I stated before, this was a confusing list to make. That’s because I wasn’t quite sure where to draw the line between the masterpieces I call the best and the movies I love regardless of their flaws.

Making this list helped me realize that, in terms of movies, when you like the big picture, you’ll almost always look past any slight flaws because you’re enjoying yourself and vice-versa, when you don’t like a movie you’re going to look for flaws. At the end of the day, this is simply a list of  movies I love  that don’t hold a candle artistically and thematically to the many movies I would call my favorites.

10. Saw Saga

If I were to feel guilty about enjoying a movie (or series for that matter), I would probably feel guilty about enjoying the Saw movies. Of course the first one is my favorite, but I’m actually a big fan of the entire story. For some reason I really enjoyed watching the whole complex story pan out. It is the horror series of my generation and it entertains me to no end.

9. Star Trek

Star Trek is the newest film on this list and while I love most of these movies because of nostalgic reasons, that didn’t play a part with Star Trek. I had never seen anything Star Trek before this movie and I wasn’t expecting much, but with this new Star Trek film I was blown away. It was fun, exciting and everything just worked.

8. Sin City

By essentially recreating the panels of Frank Miller’s original stories Sin City tells a fast-paced collage of intertwining tales of brutality, crime, lust, etc. Like all of the movies on this list, I could pick up and watch Sin City any second and be whole-heartedly entertained. I might just add that, visually, this may be my favorite movie.

7. The Punisher

This is the movie that inspired me to make this list. After watching it recently I realized that every once in a while I should definitely take a break from what I see as art and just watch a movie and enjoy. Watching The Punisher again was like watching a combination of Batman Begins, Gladiator and Unforgiven. It doesn’t reach the amazing levels of those movies, but it is fun as hell.

6. Hot Fuzz

I was a big fan of Edgar Wright’s latest film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and I absolutely love Shaun of the Dead, but I don’t enjoy either of those films as much as I enjoy Hot Fuzz. The give and take of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg is ridiculous and when you match that with the great satire on cliché action movies what you get is a fantastic time through and through.

5. The Matrix Trilogy

From this point on, this list was nearly impossible to make. When I came up with the idea to make a list out of my top ten favorite guilty pleasure movies, the movies from five on came almost immediately to mind. I’m obsessed with The Matrix Trilogy, and I’d like to emphasize “Trilogy”. Like everyone, I’m a huge fan of the first and how it showed what an action movie could be, but I also love both sequels and The Matrix Revolutions holds a special place in my heart. I might even call it my favorite.

4. Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite director’s to have ever made a movie. While Death Proof is no Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds or Pulp Fiction, I still can’t help the fact that I always feel the need to pick it up and watch it again because of how much I enjoy every single moment. No one writes dialogue as well as Tarantino and its just as good here, then there’s Kurt Russell as the awesome villain, Stuntman Mike and a fantastic two-part set up that builds to one of the greatest car chases in film.

3. Casino Royale

If I viewed all of the movies on this list the way I view most movies and take in every aspect, this could easily be called the best movie on the list. Daniel Craig fully embodies the James Bond for a new generation. This is new 007 series filled with realism and grit. This is a James Bond who can almost die, who has only his wits and strengths as a secret agent to save him, not a ridiculous array of gadgets. It manages to change almost every aspect of the series, while paying homage to the gimmicks you need from a 007 movie. In terms of execution, this is far and away the best movie on this list and it also manages to entertain from beginning to end.

2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Before Christopher Nolan’s Batman series came into my life, I had never anticipated a movie more than I had anticipated seeing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I obviously didn’t enjoy The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones  that much, but this one looked appealing. This was to be the final Star Wars movie that would not only connect the two trilogies, but also essentially tell the origin story of my favorite character in the series.

At the time, I was not disappointed. I loved every single moment. I couldn’t get enough. I had built this idea up in my mind of how amazing this film would be and some how it turned out to be just that. As I matured it became clear that this wasn’t the masterpiece I had made it out to be in my mind, but it still means so much to me and I can say with out a doubt that it entertains me more than any other Star Wars movie.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

This is it, there is no other film that has ever been made that comes close to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. There are many films that reach a level of perfection and I would call them my favorites for many different reasons. With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, like no other film I can look past its flaws and be completely taken away by the swashbuckling adventure at hand.

One of the reasons it stands apart as my favorite guilty pleasure movie is because of the incredibly memorable characters. I have an unconditional love for what Geoffrey Rush did with the character Hector Barbossa, even Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley play some what of an important part to the epic that is At World’s End, Bill Nighy is fantastic as villain, Davy Jones, and every secondary character has something different to offer. Let us not also forget that Johnny Depp manages to offer one of the greatest characters in history with the now iconic, Captain Jack Sparrow.

I love the whole series, I really do. But I just wanted to emphasize how much I care for this single film in particular. Artistically and thematically this film pales in comparison to films I’d call my favorite films. However, for lack of a better phrase, this is the ultimate guilty pleasure movie in my mind. Sometimes you need some mindless fun. It’s nice that not every film is trying to say something broader, but merely trying to entertain. It’s nice to just have some escapism and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is one of my favorite forms of escape.

Top Ten Movie Gun Fights

Bullets, hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, snipers, shootouts, showdowns and more bullets: add these things in film and what you get are sometimes the best action scenes ever created. Whether the battle involves many people or just two, this is my list of my favorite gun fights in film. I found when making this list that, while a lot gun fights are extremely entertaining, there are many films that used violence and gun fights to emphasize or establish the morals of the story at hand. I like to think I found a good balance between the entertaining gun fights and the powerful ones when I made this list.

10. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Of the gun fights on this list, this one is the least meaningful for me. I just couldn’t help putting it on this list because it’s so insanely fun. Even more fantastic than the showdown at the end that pays homage to Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the ridiculous bullet fest through the desert that leads to the climax. The music and the added bonus of it being a chase scene makes it unforgettable.

9. Hot Fuzz

In a brilliant attempt to satirize buddy cop films and action movies in general, Hot Fuzz ends up having one of the greatest action scenes ever filmed in it’s finale. Throughout the film, laughs are had, blood is splattered and the idea that being a cop isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the movies is established. Then that idea is turned on its head and Hot Fuzz becomes a balls-to-the-wall shootout.

8. The Matrix

I don’t think anything really needs to be said here. I can’t think of the idea of gun fights in cinema with out thinking of the lobby shootout in The Matrix. It was probably the first truly great movie gun fight I ever saw and I love it still. I’ve always had an attachment to The Matrix as movie. I will watch it any time I get the chance and enjoy it every time. The lobby shootout is just one of the many reasons the film is awesome.

7. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver is a Martin Scorsese masterpiece that is brilliantly punctuated by a bullet-filled and blood-soaked gun fight. Taxi Driver is one of the greatest character studies ever created. Travis Bickle is an incredibly dark and layered character and the examination of this complex character and the hell that surrounds him eventually leads to his baring arms and one of the most disturbing and yet glorious gun fights ever filmed.

6. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is simply an incredible movie all around filled with rich characters and memorable moments. The most memorable of which is the end of the film and the shootout that takes place. The greatest moment in L.A. Confidential though is the end of the shootout where Dudley says “Hold up your badge, so they know you’re a policeman.” Then protagonist Edmund Exley does the most honorable thing he’s done in the entire film.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is brutal, it’s honest, it’s epic, it’s inspiring and it’s one of the greatest war movies ever created. The D-Day scene in the beginning is nothing short of perfect, however my favorite sequence in the film and the one that makes my list is the finale. While exemplifying the idea that war is hell, Saving Private Ryan manages to tell an excellent story of honor and duty. This story reaches it’s peak when it’s realized what our protagonists will do to actually save Private Ryan.

4. Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the most phenomenally epic westerns ever created and one I would easily call the greatest western ever made had it not been for the creation of a couple other masterpieces. Some might say the best scene in the film is the tense opening scene, which is amazing, but for me the greatest scene of the film is the showdown between protagonist “Harmonica”  and antagonist Frank. Truthfully, the scene speaks for itself.

3. Inglourious Basterds

It is simply common knowledge at this point that Quentin Tarantino loves cinema and always shows his love for his favorite movies in the movies that he makes. Inglourious Basterds drew many allusions from the films of Sergio Leone and like a great Sergio Leone movie Inglourious Basterds has one hell of a showdown. In the La Louisiane  scene, Quentin Tarantino crafts an extraordinary gun fight by building tension not with the music, editing and cinematography that Sergio Leone would use, but with dialogue. Then he ends his showdown in an instant, not with a single bullet, but with a quick and bloody shootout.

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This is it. This is the showdown that epitomizes the idea of showdown and there was never a doubt in my mind that it would be right here as my second favorite gun fight in film. No film on this list is as beautifully epic as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It’s a dramatic, fun and enthralling adventure through the west and it all culminates into one of the greatest gun fights in film.

It’s almost indescribable how incredible this scene actually is. The film was already amazing, but it’s this showdown that makes it a masterpiece. We get to know these characters throughout this adventure and when the inevitable occurs, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. The dialogue is had, the music swells, the characters move and stare strategically, the shots change spastically and BAM!

1. Unforgiven

Unforgiven is the western masterpiece. It’s Clint Eastwood’s best film, it’s the greatest western in existence and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. Unforgiven tells a simple tale of a ruthless murderer who has long since retired but ends up taking one last job. Unforgiven shows the violent west for what it is and establishes profound ideas of violence and what makes us who we are. What you find in the finale of Unforgiven isn’t just the greatest gun fight, but also one of the greatest scenes in film.

Little Bill Dagget makes for a deliciously ruthless antagonist where as William Munny is simply one of the greatest characters in film. When Little Bill Dagget and the well-known and feared William Munny finally meet what results is with out a doubt one of the most flawless pieces of filmmaking ever. “I’ll see you in hell William Munny,” Little Bill says with as much dignity as he has left and what Munny replies with a cock of his gun and a simple, powerful, and shameful “yeah”. Unforgiven offers a lot of things one which is the greatest gun fight cinematic history.

 

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