Top 10 Movie Brawls

Brawls – when punching just one bad guy is not enough

I like watching movie brawls. I mean, who doesn’t like watching a single fighter beating down a horde of opponents like a one-man army? If it’s choreographed right, it’s just such an amazing sight!

Here’s a list of my favorite movie brawls. In this case, I’m defining a brawl as a lone fighter versus a bunch of bad guys in hand-to-hand or melee weapons-based combat.

10. Tony Jaa’s Spiral of Death

The Protector has one pretty amazing scene where Tony Jaa walks up a building, beating the crap out of a lot of people in a single long take.

As impressive as that might be, the cinematography is pretty crappy as the action is out of shot half the time. Also, you can tell that he is visibly tired about halfway through, and the stunt guys are just standing around waiting to fling themselves against the walls.

9. Side-scrolling beat ’em up, Korean style

There’s this scene in Oldboy where the protagonist faces off a small army of thugs with nothing but a hammer. What I love about this scene is that it’s also one-take, but with a very stylized side view. In fact, it looks pretty much like old 2D fighting games like Final Fight, or Karateka with tons of bad guys.

The choreography is a bit lacking as he fights with brute force and a superhuman resilience to pain rather than any kungfu skill, but it’s still quite something to watch.

8. Wesley Snipes vs Taser dudes

I’m actually quite fond of Blade 2, because Guillermo Del Toro really just went crazy with the action scenes and did some over-the-top stuff.

This scene is quick, extremely brutal, and OMG SUPLEX! I mean, when are you ever going to see a suplex in a brawl? Who does that?!?

7. Autistic kungfu

In the Thai movie Chocolate, an autistic girl can recreate kungfu moves after watching action movies, and uses this ability to beat up random thugs.

I would rate this higher as there’s a lot to like about this scene, like the choreography and the weird emo champion that appears midway, but what really brings it down is the fact that she obviously pulls most of her strikes. The slo-mo shots just emphasizes this, and it really ruins the illusion of a bad-ass fight.

6. The Burly Brawl

This iconic fight scene is probably the only good thing to happen in the Matrix Reloaded (aside from Monica Belluci’s boobs), and it pits Keanu Reeves against a hundred Hugo Weavings.

Let’s face it – you have never seen this in any other movie nor will you. And for the most part, it’s quite a VFX achievement, except for the fact that the scene becomes so incredibly CG-intensive that it really loses that brutal appeal because it’s just digital doubles fighting each other. Not to mention that the choreography is a bit too wire-work  floaty for my liking.

5. Efficient and graceful

This scene from Troy starts off as a large-scale battle, but at the 2:20 mark it becomes a one-man show as Achilles just kills a whole bunch of people on his own.

What stands out about this shot is how fluid and graceful his attacks are – not a single movement is wasted and everything leads to the next strike or parry. If this was a videogame, Achilles would’ve unlocked the the 50-hit combo achievement or something.

4. The Jackie Chan demolition derby

This classic teahouse battle (recreated in the Path of Neo videogame) throws a small army of axe-wielding bad guys against Jackie Chan and a mostly-useless pal.

In true Jackie Chan fashion, the awesomeness doesn’t just come from the kungfu fighting, but the clever ways that he uses the props and surroundings to fend off that army. He uses the table, bamboo rods, smacks people into benches… he does everything except pick up one of the many axes on the floor!

3. Uma Thurman vs the Crazy 88s

This brawl is epic for so many reasons. Limbs get hacked off. Tarantino does his cinematography magic with some really visually stunning shots and set pieces. There are soooooo many of those yakuza guys. And the music is cool too. You just can’t go wrong with it, really!

Well, there’s a bit too much wire-work flying in it for my liking, but the style makes up for it.

2. Nunchucks of fury

It’s impossible to have a post about brawls and not include Bruce Lee. I mean, look at this clip. Look how fast he is, and how much pain he dishes out.

My only complaint is that those nunchucks are just overkill. He was killing those guys as it is with his lightning-fast kicks, so really he didn’t need to break out those bad boys at all. They did look cool though!

1. Brutal remake

Why did I pick the remake over the original? Well, because it’s better choreographed with more awesome kicks and shit being thrown around. I’m not saying that Jet Li is faster than Bruce Lee (although he is pretty damn fast), but more crazy stuff happens in this one than the original.

Even the bad guys fight better, and there appears to be more of them here. So yeah, this one is just all kinds of awesome!