There comes a time in most action films when the hero has to take a stand. They look around and they're surrounded by goons, baddies, and just all around ill-tempered foes; they're faced with the choice of giving up... or going head-to-head with everyone in their way. One-man army fight scenes aren't just awesome, they're breathtaking in scope and give everyone involved with a film a chance to flex their muscles.
Fight scenes that feature the hero fighting as many villains as possible tend to take virtually every action trope and throw them against the silver screen. Aside from the unusually elaborate stunt work, you've the old standby of low-level antagonists who wait their turn to fight, you've got good old-fashioned dogpiles (including one courtesy of America's favorite shield-wielding tough guy), you've got heroes who give it their all in a skirmish... only to discover there's still a lot more fighting to do. These fight scenes have all of that and more - and with the added stakes of putting all the pressure on a single person to come out of each scrape alive.
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- Photo: Lionsgate
Who's Fighting? John Wick, the mysterious hitman respected by many and feared by more. Known as "Baba Yaga" to members of the Russian mafia, he spends the entirety of the first film on a bloody quest to get revenge for the out-of-bounds slaying of his beloved dog.
How Many Is He Fighting? It's hard to tell exactly how many goons Wick takes on, but between the guys he shoots and the roided-out baddies who catch glass dishes to the head, it looks to be more than 20 and fewer than 50. That's just par for the course for John.
How Does it Go? Things don't go well for the mob goons who apparently use this nightclub/spa as a place to hang out in their bathing suits before getting their rave on. John attempts to quietly take out the thugs while tracking down his intended target, but things go upside down quickly. He takes the fight from the spa to a crowded nightclub, to a well-lit antechamber, where he pops innumerable caps in perfect view of revelers who don't have a dog in the hunt. John doesn't get his man - yet - but he does take out a good chunk of the Russian mafia's low-level enforcers.Impressive feat?
Who’s Fighting? Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, is still recovering from the Battle of New York when he discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised. Not only is he pumped up on superhuman serum, but he has a determination to fight for the good of humanity. It's going to take more than an elevator full of thugs to take him down.
How Many Is He Fighting? Nine compromised S.H.I.E.L.D agents are treated like absolute rag dolls in this classic MCU dog pile.
How Does It Go? This elevator fight scene is a masterclass in tension. Everyone in the audience knows Cap is going to fight the compromised agents, but it's the waiting that makes the scene so exciting. As more and more guys pile into the elevator with Cap, it's hard not to wonder when the inevitable fight is going to break out. When everything finally goes down, there's a genuine release. The fight itself is absolutely thrilling, as we get to see our hero take on the whole group in a confined space. At one point, Cap fights everyone with one hand before freeing himself from a magnetic lock and taking the rest of them out. By the end of the fight, Cap is faced with the possibility of fighting EVEN MORE agents - and instead decides to try his luck jumping head-first out of a glass elevator.Impressive feat?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Who's Fighting? Harry Hart, one of the most decorated members of the Kingsmen, a group of elite British secret service agents. While investigating a hate group's church in Kentucky, he and the parishioners are triggered by an electronic signal that turns them all into ruthless psychopaths.
How Many Is He Fighting? There are at least 100 Kentucky-fried churchgoers with freaked-out brainwaves getting murked in this scene.
How Does it Go? After an electronic signal is blasted through the church using SIM technology, everyone inside, Hart included, devolves into murderous lunatics. They fight and brawl as if it's their only prerogative in life. Hart initially mows through the churchgoers with a handgun. As people use pieces of pews and really whatever they can get their hands on, he wrecks the place until he runs out of ammo and has to move on to using a Bible and a knife he finds along the way. All this is set to the last half of "Free Bird," by the way. Colin Firth may have never been cast to play James Bond, but this adrenaline-fueled action sequence shows audiences just how awesome Mr. Darcy can be. The scene ends with a pile of bloody parishioners, and at least one guy's head on a pike.Impressive feat?
- Photo: National General Pictures
Who's Fighting? Chen Zhen is a young man living in Shanghai who runs afoul of a group of Japanese martial arts students, who treat him poorly simply because he's from China. Following the demise of his master, Zhen shows up to the dojo being used by the Japanese students initially just to return some racist signage. Things quickly escalate.
How Many Is He Fighting? 25 martial artists have their jaws jacked by Bruce Lee.
How Does it Go? Things don't go well for these students from Japan. They employ the tried and true method of surrounding their opponent and going in on him before Lee systematically takes them out with his bare hands - and THEN the nunchucks come out. Lee gets his hands on this deadly weapon and just starts whipping everyone who comes close to him. One guy gets his head cracked open while the rest of his buddies earn bruised ankles for their trouble. If you haven't seen this scene, it's genuinely worth your time.Impressive feat?