Best Action Sequences of the 2000's - The Part-Time Critic

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Action Sequences of the 2000's

Day 10: The Best Action Sequences of the 2000's

While I have attempted to catalogue every action scene I've ever witnessed, there are still several films that I have missed. Thusly, while I feel assured that I have seen a great number of the best sequences of the 2000's, I am well aware that there may be some I am missing. Feel free to suggest a sequence that you may think has been left out, or just shouldn't belong. What constitutes an action sequence?

It's pretty much my own subjective opinion, but I generally look for one cohesive unit of action rather than sustained intensity. In other words, while a film like Black Hawk Down maintained high intensity throughout, only single sequences of action would be avaliable for win. In order to give a fuller idea of the decade in action, I decided to make it a top 100. You'll notice that I am bias to fight sequences, so several of them rank very high. It's difficult to rank an excellent gunfight next to an excellent chase sequence, but I've done my best. There is some fluidity within the list and what is #93 could easily have been #85. That being said, I think you will catch on pretty quickly, enjoy!


100. Obi-Wan and Jango Fett Fight in the Rain Star Wars: Episode II (2002)
99. Army is Trapped on the Ice King Arthur (2004)
98. Racing the Mauraders to the Walls Doomsday (2008)
97. Attacked in the Hotel and throught the Streets No Country for Old Men (2008)
96. Blade vs. Shock Stick Troopers Blade II (2002)
95. Bobby Chases Shooters Through the Ice and Snow Laden Detroit Streets Four Brothers (2005)
94. Double Decker Bus Chase The Mummy Returns (2001)
93. Fighting Over a Detonator...While Jumping Through Countries Jumper (2008)
92. Beowulf Takes on a Dragon Beowulf (2007)
91. Shootout in the Woods at Little Bohemia Public Enemies (2009)


90. Sword Fight in the Barn Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
89. Taking Out the Police Station: Lobby, Dojo, and Twins Single Handedly Kiss of the Dragon (2002)
88. New Recruits are Thrown Right Into the Battle of Stalingrad Enemy at the Gates (2001)
87. Coliseum Fight: Hannibal's Barbarian Horde vs. the Legionnaries Gladiator (2000)
86. Clearing Out The Restaurant; Stating Your Name Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
85. General Kenobi vs. General Grevious Star Wars: Episode III (2005)
84. Escape from Containment Leads to a Chase in the Desert and San Francisco The Hulk (2003)
83. Ogre and Goblins Attack the House for the Book The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
82. Helicopters Descend, Extract Prisoners and Head Out Ending with a Black Hawk Down Black Hawk Down (2001)
81. Machines Gathering Humans leads to a Car Chase Ending on the Bridge Terminator: Salvation (2009)


80. Auto-Bots vs. Decepticons in Downtown L.A. Transformers (2007)
79. Achilles Takes the Beaches of Troy Troy (2004)
78. Breaking Out of Prison Kung Fu Panda (2008)
77. Storming the Castle to Save Fiona Shrek 2 (2004)
76. Assasination Attempt after the Bean Game House of Flying Daggers (2004)
75. Shelob vs. The Hobbits The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
74. Ip Man Defends the Cotton Mill and Fights Against Two Old Foes Ip Man (2009)
73. Hallway Slaughter with a Hammer Oldboy (2003)
72. Stopping a Bomb At the Airport Casino Royale (2006)
71. Skater/Biker Fight The Protector (2006)


70. Jackie vs. Jet: The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
69. Drug Bust Gone Bad: Police Story Homage Born to Fight (2004)
68. Try and Eat...If You Can Kung Fu Panda (2008)
67. Seven Swords Take Out Fire-Wind Finale Seven Swords (2005)
66. Kong Rampages Through New York King Kong (2005)
65. Mossad Raid in Beruit for Three Names Munich (2005)
64. Obi-Wan and Jango Fett Dogfight in an Asteroid Field Star Wars: Episode II (2002)
63. Anderton Runs from Jet Pack PreCrime and Escapes the Car Factory Minority Report (2002)
62. Burly Brawl The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
61. Escape from the Hotel: Down the Laundry Chute and Out the Laundry Room Kiss of the Dragon (2001)


60. Chancellor Palpatine vs. Yoda Star Wars: Episode .III (2005)
59. Cave Fight/Taking on the Steroid Man Ong Bak (2005)
58. Bride vs. Elle Driver Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
57. Car Chase In Time Deja Vu (2006)
56. Three On One Space Battle/Battering Ram Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
55. Launching Cars on the Bridge Chase in and Through Miami Bad Boys II (2003)
54. Taking the Beaches of Iwo Jima Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
53. Greeks vs. The Persians Alexander (2004)
52. Fending off another Agent with a Pen The Bourne Identity (2002)
51. Narnian Army Battles the White Witch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)


50. Battle Royale Finale Role Models (2008)
49. Nameless vs. Sky Hero (2004)
48. Casa Cristo Race Part 2: In the Mountains Speed Racer (2008)
47. Escape from Cannibal Island Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
46. Transporting Harvey Dent and Capturing the Joker The Dark Knight (2008)
45. Hector vs. Achilles Troy (2004)
44. Donnie Yen vs. Sammo Hung Kill Zone (2005)
43. The Destruction of Isengard/Last March of the Ents The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
42. Rat Glue Factory The Myth (2005)
41. Yuanjia vs. Four Fighters; Boxing, Spears, Fencing and Tanaka Fearless: Director's Cut (2006)


40. French Chateau Kung Fu Fight The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
39. Ultimate Gun-Kata/Vanquishing an Entire Hallway/Killing Father Equilibrium (2002)
38. One Shot Fight Up The Stairway The Protector (2006)
37. Rolled Up Magazine Fight The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
36. Bank Brawl Spider-Man 2 (2004)
35. Assasin in the Oval Office X-2: United (2003)
34. Final Attempt to Re-Capture Danny/Fight in the Bathroom Unleashed (2005)
33. Bone Breaking Fight The Protector (2006)
32. Orcs Attack the Fellowship at the Fords of Isen The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
31. Tracing the Shooter Leads to a the Guggenheim Shootout The International (2009)


30. Raid on the Drug House American Gangster (2007)
29. Bouncing Foot Chase through the Market Ong Bak (2005)
28. Old School Shoot-Out in Stages Open Range (2003)
27. Chase Thru/Fist Fight in Tangiers The Bourne Identity (2002)
26. Ip Man Takes Out Ten Japanese in One Fight Ip Man (2009)
25. Trashing the Restaurant; Fight to the Death Fearless (2006)
24. Saving and Returning the Chancellor in the Middle of a Space Battle Star Wars Episode III (2005)
23. Keeping the Towel On...From Turkish Baths to the Markets The Accidental Spy (2002)
22. Emergency Vehicles and Terminators Chase Connor Through the City Terminator 3 (2003)
21. Mines of Moria The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)


20. Prepare to Be Boarded; The Surprise vs. The Acheron Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
19. Finale at his Home Village: Weapons Fight Extravaganza Ong Bak 2 (2009)
18. Singing in the Rain Marketplace Fight Shanghai Knights (2003)
17. Finale: From Rooftops, to Dojos, to the Sides of Buildings Chocolate (2009)
16. Final Assault by Sea and Land on Cao Cao's Camp Red Cliff: Part II (2009)
15. Donnie Yen vs. Wu Jing: Baton and Knife Fight Kill Zone (2005)
14. Fight in the Garage Leads to a Highway Chase: Ghosts, Agents, a Keymaker and Morpheus with a Sword The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
13. Paris Chase in a Mini-Cooper The Bourne Identity (2002)
12. Bride vs. Crazy 88's/Gogo/O-Ren Ishi Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
11. Attack on Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor (2001)

The Top Ten Action Sequences

10. King Kong vs. T-Rex Trio King Kong (2005)

9. Chase Thru Construction Site/Embassy Shootout
Casino Royale (2006)

8. Spider-Man vs. Dock Ock: Train Fight
Spider-Man 2 (2004)

7. Fighting for the Chest and the Key/Water Wheel Fight
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

6. Yu Lien and Jen Weapons Fight leads to a Bamboo Forest Fight
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

5. The Battle for Helm's Deep
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
What more could someone want from a war sequence. Excellently paced and structured the Battle for Helm's Deep provides unique and inspiring views of warfare, a good ebb and flow to the battle and ultimately an uplifting and resounding victory. Large scale offensives and hand to hand combat get equal amount of love and attention and makes for one great action sequence.

4. Chased in Moscow Bourne Supremacy (2004)
This sequence begins with a foot chase that brings you right into the 'real time' of the chase. I enjoy watching Bourne as he slowly grabs objects that help him in the chase. There is a logic at work in his mind in every scene. Eventually the sequence features a jaw dropping and intense car chase sequence that is the finest of the decade. Intense and intimate enough to be bruising, but filmed wide enough and with enough distance traveled, obstacles overcome to feel epic and long. A great concluding wreck tops off this ten minute sequence.

Across the Rooftops; Stopping the Sword Thief Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
The most graceful and most beautifully choreographed fight on the list. I love Lee's camera as it bounds above the rooftops with our women as they chase each other in the night. Mixed in spurts are quick, brutal, and technically proficient fights that range from leg work to sticky hand work of Wing Chun. From start to finish, I am always in awe of this one.

2. Abandoned Home Fight
Flash Point (2008)
No other fight sequence I've seen in the 2000's comes close to this one. It is an intense one on one fight that lasts nearly ten minutes and practically kills our fighters. The fight has a beautiful mixture of traditional kung fu, the more practical fighting styles popular in the Bourne series as well as MMA and wrestling. Fantastic back and forth and a lack of CGI or obvious wire work makes this one as realistic as it gets.

1. The Battle for Minas Tirith
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Featuring nearly every kind of action one could ask for (except of course Kung Fu) any packaging it into an intense, suspenseful, and epic story. It's truly an unparalleled sequence. From the siege machines and dive bombing dragons, to the ride of the Rohirrim, on to the Mumakil charge and ending with our heroes arriving in the nick of time. Dotted with setbacks, victories, one-liners, jaw dropping visuals, visceral moments of violence, moments of great tragedy and as well as great triumph. It's the ultimate action sequence not just of the 2000's, of all-time!

1 comment:

  1. Good job Kyle. That must have taken you a long time to compile that list. I am not surprised by #1. One of the best action scenes ever.