Saturday, January 15, 2022

Five Favorite Fight Scenes in Film

I like violence…well, in my fiction. 

In real life, I like things nice and tame, non-life-threatening, and calm. But in books, media, and maybe especially movies, I love a good fight. 

Now, what makes a good fight? That can be hard to define, and is definitely all about one's personal tastes. 

Myself, I like what I term "creative" fights. By this I mean, fights that surprise and delight me by unusual moves, out-of-the-box choreography, and use of interesting props or settings. 

So here are five fairly recent favorites. I hope you enjoy. 

Bus fight in Shang-chi

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) had LOTS of fight scenes, as one would expect in a a Marvel superhero story about a young man with a mystical origin and epic fighting skills. For me, the big set-piece fight at the end with all the monsters was the least interesting fight in the film. I felt the stakes much more strongly in this moment, when Shang-Chi has to choose to reveal his single biggest secret to save his best friend (and all the other people on the bus). 

I love a good close-quarters fight, which the bus definitely delivered. I loved the nod to Jackie Chan with the "my own jacket is a weapon" move. Awkwafina's performance as Katy really gave the viewer an "in" to the moment as well: her shock, how impressed she became, and her willingness to jump into the fray herself and exhibit some really impressive driving skills. 

Speaking of Jackie Chan: Rumble in the Bronx (1995), punks' hideout fight

This was the first Jackie Chan movie I ever saw, so it has a special place in my heart. Of course, the most awesome thing about watching a Jackie Chan fight is knowing that the man is actually doing everything you see. In this scene, it's the way that everything became a part of the fight: pool table, chair, refrigerators, skis, televisions, even a grocery cart. If you watch the flick, make sure you check out the end blooper scenes. It's amazing to think he filmed parts of that film with a broken foot. 

Speaking of cool props, how about the umbrella fight in the pub in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)?

The charm of this scene is in the unexpectedness of it, that this very calm and collected, polished and posh British man would fight so capably. It certainly surprised everyone else in the room. The umbrella was cool even before it's extra elements (like built-in projectiles and bulletproof cloth) were revealed. I also appreciate that the one fighter versus several attackers trope came across more believably. The bad guys didn't just take turns for no reason--they were surprised, or temporarily decommissioned and jumped back into the fight the second they could. 

Speaking of one fighter against many, how about Black Widow's chair fight in The Avengers (2012)? 

Like the scene in Kingsman, reversal of expectations is everything in this scene. Natasha looks helpless, tied to a chair in her evening wear, but of course, she is anything but. A skilled fighter turn a seeming disadvantage into a weapon made for some fun choreography, and Natasha made short work of the group of men who thought they were winning that interrogation. 

I'll finish with the rollerskating chase/fight scene from Birds of Prey (2020): 

You'd think a woman on roller skates would be no match for a car, but when that woman is Harley Quinn? All bets are off. That basic premise allowed for such marvelous athleticism and unexpected movement. That same creativity came into play in the big group fight at the amusement park. 

I can only hope that if my Menopausal Superhero series ever makes it to the screen, the fight scene coordinators come up with something as visual striking and wow-inducing as these filmmakers did. 

How about you? Are you a fan of creative fight scenes? What are some of your favorites? I'd love to hear about them in the comments! 


  1. I like things quiet in realy life. I don't watch too many fight scene movies. I like fantasies and dramas better. Glad you know what you like in a fight scene. And a woman on roller skates sounds like it fits the definition of a creative scene.

    1. I enjoy a good fantasy and a drama as well, but there is something that really calls to me about a well executed fight scene.

  2. I haven't seen Shang Chi yet, but it's definitely on my list to check out.

    Loved the Kingsman pub fight and Black Widow's scene. One of my favorites is River Tam's bar fight in the movie Serenity.

  3. I still haven't seen Birds of Prey, but I want to.

    Black Widow is badass and that fight scene was perfect to show off just how badass she is.

    Oh, and I agree with M.J. that River's fight scene in Serenity is REALLY good.

    1. I forgot to mention one of my favorite fight scenes. I loved Selene's fight scene at the end of Underworld Awakening. I also love the fight scenes in Ultra Violet. Violet (Mila) had some awesome moves.

    2. I haven't seen either of those films! I'll have to check them out.