Fight scenes and action movies go together like umbrellas in the rain, or another, better metaphor that underscores the brutal one-on-one fights in movies that you’re about to see. The best brawls in film have a way of bringing the viewer into the action, not allowing them to play the spectator. Some films, like Eastern Promises and Old Boy, hold on to their subjects for so long that the violence becomes real, and the viewer becomes complicit in the act. But that’s not how all of the best movie fist fights play out. Some of them are just full of mindless fun. For instance, literally any fight from the Transporter series. It really just depends on what kind of face-punching action you’re in the mood for.
To make a classic, cinematic fist fight you need a few ingredients: at least two people willing to punch each other (sometimes literally), some great foley (so the punches sound like a skateboard slapping a piece of frozen beef), and if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty – some garrote wire.
All of these amazing cinematic fist fights are worth watching, and they’ll all make you cheer, cringe, and karate your little brother until you’re both grounded. But which is the best? Vote up the bareknuckle fist fights in film that made your jaw ache, and then go put a steak on your face.
Film: Enter The Dragon
Combatants: Lee vs. Han
End Result: The only thing left at the end of this fight is an old man who regrets trying to fight Bruce Lee in his prime.
Notably Brutal Moves: Bruce Lee getting sliced across his stomach by a set of Wolverine claws is pretty brutal, but that's nowhere near as hardcore as when Lee tastes his own blood and goes into beast mode.
Combatants: Frank Dux vs Chong Li
End Result: Even though he's literally fighting blind, Frank is able to use the skills he learned in an earlier montage to defeat his nemesis with a series of fancy windmill kicks.
Notably Brutal Moves: The most brutal thing in this fight (aside from its length and JCVD's very strange acting skills) has to be the super stretchy backwards leg kick thing that Dux whacks into Chong Li's snout early on in the fight.
Film: The Bourne Ultimatum
Combatants: Jason Bourne vs. Desh
End Result: Things move into a disgusting bathroom where Jason Bourne chokes Desh out in an dingy tub. Yuck.
Notably Brutal Moves: Nobody makes it out of this fast paced scene without at least a headache. Desh gets fish hooked by Julia Styles, Julia Styles catches an elbow to the face, and ya' boy Jason Bourne gets throw head first through a glass cabinet.
Film: The Matrix
Combatants: Keanu Reeves vs. Agent Smith
End Result: Keanu Reeves learns to believe in himself and fights an entire Matrix of white dudes in sunglasses before learning how to fly.
Notably Brutal Moves: Neo getting punched so hard that he spits up blood outside the Matrix.