We all love action movies and kick ass fight scenes. Throughout film history, there have been some great brawls, but nothing can beat a good mano a mano fight between two people. Here is our ranking of the ten best movie fights between two opponents. Some are sports related while others are action set pieces that knocked us out. If you think we missed a classic duel or think our order is off, let us know in the talk backs below.
Every child of the 80s knows the feeling of pride that they felt in their gut as Daniel LaRusso defied the odds and climbed up the ranks of the tournament at the end of THE KARATE KID. Going against the evil Cobra Kai, the injured Daniel raised his body into the crane position and knocked Johnny Lawrence out. It was a stirring sequence that makes you cheer no matter who you are.
Guy Ritchie's unique visual style may not work quite right in the new KING ARTHUR trailer, but it is pitch perfect in his 2000 classic SNATCH. Brad Pitt steals every scene his is in as Mickey, a Pikey brawler whose temper gets him into a lot of trouble. But, when a caravan is on the line for his Ma, Mickey unleashes a wicked punch. Ritchie's slow motion looks phenomenal in these scenes which up the intensity even more.
When it comes to alien invaders, most movies have the heroes sporting massive weapons or tactical advantages. In PREDATOR, Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't need firepower to defeat the invisible crab-faced alien because he is already sporting two massive guns. I cannot imagine anyone but Arnold beating the ever-loving shit out of an alien and that is why this movie will forever reign as the best in the franchise.
Paul Greengrass is not exactly my favorite when it comes to directing action sequences; I prefer the frame to hold still so I can see what the f*ck is going on. But, I have to admit he has managed to helm the best MacGyver movie that never was. Matt Damon is able to make anything into a weapon and the above fight scene is no exception. Using household objects to defeat his opponent, Jason Bourne is one guy you do not want to leave alone with a book, magazine, or even a paperclip.
Jean Claude Van Damme has been in some quite memorable films. From KICKBOXER to TIMECOP, Van Damme left a legacy on movies of the 1990s. But, in one of his earliest roles, Van Damme made BLOODSPORT into one of the best martial arts movies of the decade. His showdown with the legendary Bolo Yeung remains one of the best fight scenes in movie history.
Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic characters in movie history but he usually relies on his intellect, his whip, or his gun to get him out of jams. Sure, Indy has brawled with Nazis and other foes, but his fight with the mechanic who looks like Tom Hardy on steroids is a personal favorite. I love how Indy only is able to win thanks to some mechanical intervention, but the rest of the fight is so brutal that you feel every telegraphed punch.
Both of THE RAID films are testaments to practical fight choreography, but the sequel ups the ante quite a bit. The above fight may be the best in either movie. There is something noble in how these fighters go toe to toe with each other rather than try to get a suckerpunch in here or there. Hopefully this movie doesn't surprise anyone and if you have never heard of it, shame on you. Watch it immediately.
THE MATRIX represented a moment in cinema history where the modern and the classic action sequence were melded like never before. The showdown between Neo and Agent Smith is the perfect blend of retro kung fu and cutting edge special effects. While the sequels may have overdone it with the CGI side of things, the original film is most memorable for the tangible way the unrealistic fight scenes look almost real.
I was tempted to put Bruce Lee's fight with Chuck Norris in WAY OF THE DRAGON in this spot, but instead decided to go with this glorious masterpiece. Bruce Lee's short lived career in Hollywood gave us this amazing movie that melds B-movie martial arts with top notch production values. Lee's fight against his claw-handed opponent ranks as one of the most distinctive and memorable fights of all time. Even though the combatants may not be of equal skill, the set design and layout of this sequence is stunning.
John Carpenter's movies have tons of iconic sequences, many of which are in this movie. I could easily quote dozens of lines from this film or relay my favorite scenes, but it is the alley fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David that ranks as our top one on one fight scene. The brutal punches land better than anything in a modern 3D movie thanks to Carpenter's unflinching framing of the scene. This is a hard scene to watch but that just goes to prove how damn good of a job the cast and crew did executing it.