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’s brains out (obviously), 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.
#43 on The Best '70s Movies
#88 on The Greatest Movies for Guys
#31 on The Best Movies for Men
Film: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Combatants: Indiana Jones vs. The Mechanic
End Result: A giant Nazi is transformed into a bucket of blood through the miracle of aviation.
Notably Brutal Moves: Is there anything more Indiana Jones than Harrison Ford fighting a bald strong man on top of a Nazi war plane? Even though it is a Spielberg movie so nothing is going to be too brutal, you still see a guy get chopped up in a plane's propeller.
#23 on The Best Rainy Day Movies
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.
#30 on The Best Movies of 1988
Film: The Punisher
Combatants: Frank Castle vs. The Russian
End Result: Before The Russian can choke Frank out on an oven, the Punisher pops the Ruskie in the face with a pot of scalding broth and then tackles him through a stairwell.
Notably Brutal Moves: Frank Castle swinging from a chain and kicking The Russian in the face is a pretty cool move, but the most brutal shot in the fight belongs to The Russian, who pulls a knife out of his chest and uses it to stab Frank.
#20 on The 20 Best Marvel Movies