Favorite Movie Fights of All Time – Part 1

Hey, look a non-review/podcast post!

No, in all seriousness, I have been wanting to do some sort of series on here for a while now. While ideas ran rampant in my head, fight scenes always stuck out. So that’s what I’m doing here. This won’t be the only series coming – I’ve got some others stored away – but for now, fight scenes are were its at.

Everyone loves a good fight scene, right? I know I do. Hell, I LOVE a good fight scene. There’s something about a fight scene that just gets me going. Not to the extent that I’m going to start picking fights with strangers – at least not anymore – but seeing the hard work of training and filming for months and weeks just for our enjoyment is awesome to watch. So here is where I’m going to shout out some of my favorite fight scenes of all time. Obviously, this is my list and purely my opinion, so if there is a fight that I missed, it’s probably because I simply forgot. This is also, most likely, the first installment of many articles to come.

However, before we get to the list I want to say how I will approach this, at least fight wise. I’m not including battle scenes, which pretty much excludes anything from The Lord of the Rings or the great opening from Saving Private Ryan (another post maybe?). The fights will range from one-on-one or one-on-two, or something along those lines. Also, despite the order, I’m not ranking them. Finally, some of these fights, could be final fights so SPOILER WARNING!

Alright, let’s get cracking…bones…too much? Too much.

 

SPL/Kill Zone – Ma Kwan vs. Jack

You will see Donnie Yen a lot in this series, and I might as well start with one of my favorite fight scenes he’s been in. SPL (Sha po lang) or Killzone as it was re-titled here in America – sometimes even SPL: Kill Zone – we see Yen’s Ma Kwan going one-on-one against newcomer (at the time) Jing Wu’s Jack. The scene itself leads into the final fight between Yen and Sammo Hung, but we’re here to talk about Yen vs. Wu. The fight itself was treated almost like a sparring match between the two martial artists, and was even a “last minute” addition to production once Yen joined the film.

I honestly love this fight ever since I saw it for the first time. The whole movie did a great job of building up the threat that Jing Wu’s Jack is, and to see Ma go toe-to-toe with him with the music and the moves these two make is a sight to see.

 

The Raid 2: Berndal – Rama vs. The Assassin

The Raid, or The Raid: Redemption in some places, was a ground-breaking and breakthrough action film. Sure the story was simple, but it was the action and fight scenes that put the movie over the top with fans. So when the sequel was announced, we immediately knew that we were in for a fun ride, and oh boy, were we. The Raid 2: Berndal upped the ante with the action, and it was the final two fights that really showed director Gareth Evans was not messing around. That said, I’m just going to focus on the last fight between Iko Uwais’ Rama and Cecep Arif Rahman’s The Assassin.

The scene itself took a reported eight days to shoot, and it shows because this thing is brutal, long and completely worth the wait.

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Yu Shun Lien vs. Jiao Long

I doubt there isn’t a list of Favorite Fights Scenes of All Time that doesn’t have the epic sword fight between Michelle Yeoh’s Yu Shu Lien versus Ziyi Zhang’s Jiao Long (or Jen Yu in the Mandarin version). The fight between the experienced veteran fighter against a less experience younger warrior was the perfect mirror in real life with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being Zhang’s breakout role – and second feature film. Seeing the two different styles, and just a tad bit of humor, definitely makes this one of the best fight scenes in cinema.

 

Hero – Nameless vs. Sky

Like mentioned above, the sword “fight” between Jet Li’s Nameless versus Donnie Yen’s Sky is one of the best fight scenes in cinema – for me at least. I say “fight” because the fight doesn’t really happen, but is instead played out in the minds of Nameless and Sky, while an excellent score plays in the background. The scene itself is only the second on-screen fight scene between Li and Yen – the first being Once Upon a Time in China II – which is odd to think considering how well they work together in the scene itself.

 

The Bourne Ultimatum – Bourne vs. Desh 

The Bourne Ultimatum is, by far, one of my favorite spy action thrillers. What Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were able to do in the short amount of time they had together – Greengrass didn’t direct the first Bourne movie – was pretty damn great. That said, Ultimatum was the very best of the series on all accounts, and when it came to the action sequences, Ultimatum has them beat by miles. While, the Waterloo Station scene is probably one of my favorite scenes of all time, the fight between Damon’s Jason Bourne and CIA asset Desh, played by Joey Ansah, arguably began the hard-hitting, no score fight scenes in the Americana cinema (that statement could be wrong, but at the time of writing this, the only other movie that pops in my head for fight scenes with no score in them is Haywire. Will correct if I find out, or feel free to tell me). I mean, Bourne beats him with a book, A BOOK!

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Harry vs. The Church

No, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this fight is on my list – or any list for that matter. I mean, look at it! Not only does the fight feel like a one take – it wasn’t but that’s fine, one take fight scenes are really hard to make – but it’s got Colin Firth kicking ass to Free Bird. COLIN FIRTH AND FREE BIRD!

 

Banshee – Burton vs. Nola

The last fight in this first installment of Favorites Fight Scenes of All Time comes from a TV series. Cinemax had a great series called Banshee. The show itself didn’t rely on the action its first season, but the characters and the story it was trying to tell – the action was just a nice touch and welcomed. As the series went on the action became more prominent, and awesome to watch. The highlight of that came in the third season of the show – unfortunately the series only last four seasons – where there is an amazing feature film quality fight scene between Burton (Matthew Rauch), the main series villain’s henchman and Nola (Odette Annable), a character who was only in six episodes, including this one, but left an impression.

When I first watched the series, I wasn’t really expecting the fight at all, and fans of the show went crazy when they saw it, because it’s really – from what I can remember – the only fight scene like this. Every other fight is more like a brawl, but this was two fights going toe-to-toe, and man was it great to watch. Warning, not for the squeamish.

 

Like I said, this is only part one of a series, so which one of these are your favorite? What are you looking forward to me possibly talking about? Do you like this new series? What more do you want to see? How many more questions can I ask here??

September Movie Releases

Hello everybody!

Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great films. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month, and may even have some early Academy Award nominees. I know, too early to think of that, but you know what? When you look at these films, you’ll be saying the same thing too. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.

 

1st

Re-Release – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

One of the, arguably, best sci-fi films of all time will be re-released for its 40th anniversary and re-mastered. The film will only be in theaters for a week, so if you’ve never seen it, hopefully you’ll get the chance. For those that don’t know, the film is directed and written by Steven Spielberg and after an encounter with U.F.O.’s, a man (Richard Dreyfuss) feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

 

Unlocked (Action Thriller – Di Bonaventura Pictures, Silver Reel, Bloom, Lipsync Productions)

A CIA interrogator is lured into a ruse that puts London at risk of a biological attack. The films stars Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich and Michael Douglas.

 

Tulip Fever (Drama Romance – The Weinstein Company, Ruby Films, Worldview Entertainment)

Based off the novel by Deborah Moggach, an artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. The film has been moved around so much, let’s hope this one finally sticks. The cast includes Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Cara Delevingne, Zach Galifianakis, Holliday Grainger, Jack O’Connell, Kevin McKidd, and Judi Dench.

 

8th

Limited Release: Rebel in the Rye

The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, playing Salinger, Kevin Spacey, Zoey Deutch, Sarah Paulson, Lucy Boynton, Hope Davis and Victor Garber.

 

9/11 (Action Drama – Atlas Distribution Company, Black Bear Studios, The Film House, Thunder Studios, Sprockefeller Pictures)

Based off a play by Patrick James Carson, a group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens. The film stars Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, Jacqueline Bisset and Olga Fonda.

 

Home Again (Romance Dramedy – Open Road Films, Black Bicycle Entertainment)

Life for a single mom in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turns when she allows three young guys to move in with her. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Reid Scott, Lake Bell, Nat Wolff, Lola Flanery, Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen.

 

It (Horror – New Line Cinema/Village Roadshow Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures/KatzSmith Productions)

A retool of the famous Stephen King novel and TV film before it, in a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club (Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Sophia Lillis) come face-to-face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). The film also stars Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Steven Williams, Megan Charpentier and Javier Botet.

 

15th

All I See is You (Drama Thriller – Open Road Films, SC Films, Wing and a Prayer Pictures)

A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. The film stars Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Yvonne Strahovski, and Danny Huston.

 

American Assassin (Action Thriller – Lionsgate, CBS Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures)

Based on the novel series by Vince Flynn, the film follows Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) … The film also stars Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Scott Adkins and Taylor Kitsch.

 

Mother! (Horror Drama Mystery – Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures)

Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, Kristen Wiig, Stephen McHattie, Brian Gleeson, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer.

 

22nd

Limited Release: Woodshock

Directed by Black Sawn production designers, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, a woman (Kirsten Dunst) fall deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug. The film also stars Pilou Asbeak, Lorelei Linklater, and Joe Cole.

 

Limited Release: Victoria and Abdul (Drama – Universal Pictures/Focus Features/BBC Films/Working Title Films/Cross Street Films)

Based on the book by Shrabani Basu, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). The film also stars Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Jonathan Harden and Robin Soans.

 

Limited Release: Battle of the Sexes

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Andrea Riseborough, Jessica McNamee, Alan Cumming, and Elisabeth Shue.

 

Limited Release: Stronger

Based on the book and memoir by Jeff Bauman, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, and Clancy Brown.

 

Friend Request (Horror Thriller – Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Seven Pictures, Two Oceans Productions)

When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends. The film stars a young unknown cast, but it is lead by Fear the Walking Dead star Alycia Debnam-Carey.

 

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Animation – Warner Bros./Warner Bros. Animation/Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures/Lord Miller/Animal Logic)

Six young ninjas tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they’re gifted warriors, using their skills and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they’re ordinary teens struggling against their greatest enemy: high school. The voice cast includes Dave Franco, Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, and Jackie Chan.

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Action Comedy – 20th Century Fox, Marv Films, TSG Entertainment)

When an attack on the Kingsman headquarters takes place and a new villain (Julianne Moore) rises, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) are forced to work together with the American agency Statesman to save the world. The film also stars Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Vinnie Jones, Elton John and Colin Firth.

 

 

29th

Limited Release: Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

The story of Mark Felt (played by Liam Neeson), who under the name “Deep Throat,” helped journalists Bob Woodward (played by Julian Morris) and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1974. The film is jam-packed with star power as it co-stars Diane Lane, Michael C. Hall, Maika Monroe, Ike Barinholtz, Kate Walsh, Josh Lucas, Noah Wyle, Eddie Marsan, Marton Csokas and Bruce Greenwood.

 

Til Death Do Us Part (Thriller – Novus Content, Footage Films, 51 Millimeter)

Michael and Madison had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling way turned their perfect marriage. With help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. Despite adopting a new identity, she meets Alex and learns to love again, until Michael finds Madison again. The film stars Annie Ilonzeh, Stephen Bishop, Taye Diggs, Malik Toba, and Robinne Lee.

 

Flatliners (Sci-Fi Horror – Sony Pictures, Screen Gems, Village Roadshow Pictures, Furthur Films, Laurence Mark Productions)

A sequel/reboot of the original early 90s film, medical students experiment on “near death” experience that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives. The film stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, James Norton, Charlotte McKinney and original star Kiefer Sutherland.

 

American Made (Crime Thriller – Universal Pictures/Cross Creek Pictures/Imagine Entertainment/Vendian Entertainment/Quadrant Pictures)

Directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), and based on a true story, a pilot named Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) land works for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s. The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemons, Jayma Mays, Lola Kirke, Caleb Landry Jones, Benito Martinez, Jed Rees, April Billingsley, Sarah Wright and Connor Trinneer.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review

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Dir: Matthew Vaughn

Writer(s): Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman

Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, and Michael Caine

Synopsis: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

Director Matthew Vaughn once again adapts a Mark Millar graphic novel (previously adapting Kick-Ass) with Kingsman: The Secret Service. The movie brings a lot of the well-established tropes we have seen in other spy films form the past, but brings them in modern times and adds a highly stylized Millar and Vaughn-esque violence, cleverness, humor and cheekiness.

 

The films follows Gary Unwin aka ‘Eggsy’ (Egerton) who is good-hearted but a bit reckless, as he steals a car from a friend of his mother’s abusive new boyfriend and ends up in jail. He ends up getting out of it from Harry Hart aka Galahad (Firth) who turns out to be part of an elite group of operatives/modern-day knights known as The Kingsman. Harry sees the value and potential in Eggsy and sets him up to enter the training program to see if he is Kingsman material. Problem is, a wealthy tech magnate with a speech-impediment, Valentine (Jackson) and his razor-footed henchwoman Gazelle (Boutella) are ready to unleash a powerful weapon to start a new world order.

 

Again, Kingsman has a great sense of knowing what it is, but doesn’t get too tongue-in-cheek about it. It makes references to other spy films and non-spy-films but never beats you over the head with it or looks at the screen to let you in on the joke. Vaughn knows what he is doing and adds the combination of well known tropes and brings them into modern times with new technology. But, at the same time Vaughn knows how to have fun with the subject material and knows when to go over the top. Of course, it is based on a graphic novel so the hyper stylized violence is there – like it was in Kick-Ass and the sequel – so don’t be surprised when the violence or anything is a bit over the top.

 

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When it comes to the cast, well, they are what makes the film shine. Newcomer Taron Egerton brings equal parts of charisma, toughness, and vulnerability to ‘Eggsy.’ Whether it’s ‘Eggsy’ going though the crazy tests to becoming a Kingsman or dealing with bullies and his mother’s boyfriend, Egerton holds his own and arguably be a big star one day. He even holds his own with on-screen veterans like Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Caine. Another newcomer to the scene is Sophie Cookson, who plays Roxy – another Kingsman recruit – also hold her own being the only female during the recruitment process and has her moments to shine.

 

Colin Firth plays Harry Hart aka Galahand (his codename), who, yes, has his moments to kick some major ass in the film. We know that it has become a trend in Hollywood now to give older actors a “restart” in their career to become action heroes after Liam Neeson did it so well in Taken. Firth plays Harry as the proper English gentleman that carries himself with the outmost prestige, but when it comes down to fight, he goes all out. Which comes into play in one of the biggest action sequences in a church (more on that later) and a standout one at that. I, and many others, would never have seen Firth as an action star, but he does pull it off here in Kingsman.

 

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Samuel L. Jackson is really having fun playing Valentine. He gives him a lisp – which Jackson apparently actually had – and is a blend of recent villain and old school Bond villains. His main weapon is a technology-based one but he uses mountain-based secret lairs and has a lovely but equally lethal henchwoman that does all his dirty work, since he can’t stand the sight of blood, by cutting off people bodies parts with her razor-sharp prosthetic legs. Sofia Boutella plays said henchwoman named Gazelle (yes, her name is Gazelle) and beside the fight scenes holds her own with Jackson.

 

The other supporting cast is rounded out by Mark Strong and very small role by Michael Caine. Caine plays the head of the Kingsman and pops in and out of the film to fill us in and drive home some of the more important scenes. Strong plays Merlin, the man overseeing the Kingsman recruits and eventually helps out with the final act. It’s a shame there isn’t more of Merlin in the film because he definitely is a great character. Also, for comic book and nerd fans alike, Mark Hamill pops in for a small role too.

 

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Now, I haven’t read the original source material so I don’t know if this particular scene is in the graphic novel or not, but Millar is known to push the boundaries in this work. The scene I’m talking about is the church scene that you can see in the trailers which involves Harry going at it with the churchgoers. Without going too much into spoilers, it is the first time Valentine uses his weapon and we see the full effect of it. Harry happens to also be effected and goes into full blown berserk mode, which shows how dangerous the weapon can be and how effective a killer Harry is. The basis of the scene is in question and could have some people talking. I don’t know really what to think about the scene. On one hand, the scene is a highlight action sequence (and in one take no less) and in the other, is the scene justified? Is Valentine just picking one random spot or is trying to prove something? Again, up for debate, but you argue that the scene is freaking great to watch.

 

All in all, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a ton of fun. It brings aspects of old spy films but brings them into modern times and flips them on their head. The cast and action to great to watch and overall it’s funny too. It won’t be for everybody and besides the church scene, there is another scene near the end that will make people laugh (I know my theater with me did) but it shows how far Valentine’s plan went. If you walk into Kingsman anticipating a good time, chances are you are going to get it. Also, there is a mid-credits scene which is a nice way to end the film.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

4.5 out of 5