The summer blockbuster season is now in full swing, and with releases including Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, War for the Planet of the Apes and Dunkirk, you've never had it so good. And it isn't over yet.
On 9th August we’re going to be treated to Atomic Blonde, the next highly stylised action film starring Mad Max: Fury Road's Charlize Theron and directed by veteran stuntman David Leitch, who directed some sequences from Keanu Reeves shoot-em-up John Wick.
We still have just over a week to wait until we get our minds blown by Atomic Blonde so, until then, why not wrap your eyeballs around these five explosively delicious action scenes to get you pumped-up.
WARNING: CONTAINS EXTREME USE OF WEAPONRY AND THE ODD BIT OF VIOLENCE
5. Kick-Ass (2010) – Bad Reputation
It’s not unusual for superhero movies to be full of action. But the hyper-violent vigilante justice that’s delivered in the aptly named Kick-Ass would surely impress even the likes of Batman – especially during the film’s climatic showdown.
During the climax, the crime-fighting duo of the title character (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) devise a scheme to infiltrate the D’Amico family’s stronghold involving the latter posing as a lost little girl.
Proving that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this “little kid” effortlessly dispatches the lobby guards before making her way to the penthouse to engage in a stylish gunfight.
The soundtrack is a large part of the awesomeness of this sequence. Going from atmospheric western to pure punk, the frantic sounds are a perfect match for the hard-hitting action on-screen.
4. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) – Crazy 88 fight
Silly rabbit, did you really think that we’d forget Tarantino? His filmmaking is one of the most hyper-stylised in recent years but if we had to choose one sequence to demonstrate this, it would be the Crazy 88 sword fight from Kill Bill: Vol 1.
'Exaggerated' is a word that doesn’t even come close to describing how over-the-top this sequence is. On her quest for revenge against yakuza boss O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), 'The Bride' (Uma Thurman) is met by Ishii’s personal army (The Crazy 88) who surround her with weapons drawn for battle.
This scene pays homage to the 1973 Japanese B-Movie Lady Snowblade and features all the trashy tropes you’d expect right down to the over-dramatic sound effects and gallons of gore, which Tarantino censors with a strategic change to a greyscale colour palette. This is Tarantino at his best and the scene brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "bloody good fun".
3. Oldboy (2003) – Corridor fight
Returning to Asia for this one, but this time to South Korea for Chan-wook Park’s masterpiece Oldboy.
This gritty thriller sees father Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) kidnaped and imprisoned in a room for 15 years. With all this free time Dae-su starts training and plotting his revenge against his unknown captor. After he’s released, he soon finds the prison he was incarcerated in and interrogates the Warden which attracts the attention of the guards who block his path to the exit.
Here begins the iconic corridor fight. Shown through one long tracking shot, the sequence follows Dae-Su fighting his way from left to right to get through the thugs. He’s overwhelmed and outnumbered, and it looks as though he won’t make it across the screen.
Herein lies the genius of the scene: the men get visibly physically exhausted, they miss punches whilst Dae-su frequently trips with the men barely being able to stand by the end. The struggle becomes a battle of stamina rather than skill where it’s Dae-su’s thirst for revenge that sees him (barely) survive.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – War Rig chase
The car chase has always been a classic part of the action genre and never fails to excite us, so how can it be improved?
The answer: set the story in post-apocalyptic Australia, throw in a lot of creative designs and make the entire film an extended chase scene. That’s exactly what Fury Road did and it’s the definition of awesome.
One sequence that we need to highlight is the climatic chase where Max (Tom Hardy), Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and company must race Immortan Joe’s convoy back to the Citadel to claim it for themselves.
This sequence encapsulates the utter insanity of Mad Max and we absolutely adore it. With astonishing practical effects on show, the authenticity of the scene makes it feel that more impactful.
Moreover, the film was shot with everything in centre frame, which means our gaze is drawn straight into the midst of the insanity on screen and we love every second of it.
1. The Raid 2 (2014) – Hammer time
When it comes to this high-octane Indonesian/Welsh martial arts series, we could have filled every spot on this list with one of its many beautiful action scenes. But since we’re only allowed to select one, we’ve got to pick the fight between Rama (Iku Uwais) and the hitmen Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man.
The scene is as brilliant as it sounds. Taking place immediately after the events of the first Raid, the sequel sees Rama go undercover to takedown the underground criminal organisation of Jakarta but before he can defeat the boss, he needs to get passed this deadly duo.
Shot in a narrow corridor, the scene is claustrophobic, fast paced, and visceral (we flinch every time at that final blow). What makes this scene even better is that it literally pulls no punches; the combat used in the series is the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat. You feel every hit and the stylish spectacle never fails to blow us away.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.