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The Best Action Setpieces of the 21st Century
#1
You can define "action setpiece" in as big or as small a way as you'd like.  Chases, fights, shootouts, duels... anything is up for grabs that could fit under the banner of "action."

My first pick is perhaps not objectively the best, but I think if it were attached to a better movie (...though I actually kind of like it...), it would be regarded as a high water mark for action in this century, and that's the train chase finale from Gore Verbinski's THE LONE RANGER.  Those 10+ minutes were single-handedly worth the admission price.

The juggling of moving parts and the gigantic scale are hugely impressive, and Verbinski stages things in an extremely cinematic way.  It's an incredible amount of fun, and this video presents a great examination of the scene, and illuminates why it's so good...


If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#2
A lot of really great ones to choose from, but this has to be near the top:



"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#3
That one’s particularly good because it takes its time and escalates, instead of just throwing mayhem at us.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#4
Adkins Vs. Kane Kosugi in NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR:

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#5
There's a reason I always think right back to the foot chase in Casino Royale. Because it's fucking awesome..
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#6
The train fight in SPECTRE. It's almost up there with the fight in FRWL. Shitty Bond film but one hell of a fight scene.
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#7
(08-14-2019, 09:44 PM)Alt-molt Wrote: Adkins Vs. Kane Kosugi in NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR:


Some really fun choreography there.

(08-14-2019, 09:53 PM)fraid uh noman Wrote: There's a reason I always think right back to the foot chase in Casino Royale. Because it's fucking awesome..

100%. I would have gotten to this one eventually. It's still the best action sequence of the Craig era.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#8
The kitchen fight in THE RAID 2. I say 'holy shit' every time I watch it.
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#9
(08-14-2019, 10:03 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: The train fight in SPECTRE. It's almost up there with the fight in FRWL. Shitty Bond film but one hell of a fight scene.

A definite highlight of the movie. It's one of the elements that feels most like an intentional throwback (in a good way).
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#10
I love the club sequence in JOHN WICK and I feel like its ancestor is the club shootout in COLLATERAL which is also aces.
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#11
(08-14-2019, 09:53 PM)fraid uh noman Wrote: There's a reason I always think right back to the foot chase in Casino Royale. Because it's fucking awesome..

(08-14-2019, 10:03 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: The train fight in SPECTRE.  It's almost up there with the fight in FRWL.  Shitty Bond film but one hell of a fight scene.

My preference is the high rise fight in SKYFALL, for the sheer visual beauty of it.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#12
Mad Max: Fury Road. All of it because I can't choose between all of the awesome on display.
I think these screen captures and giant (Dildi? Is there a plural?) are just the next step in the JJ Abrams online adventure series. Very slyly played, Bitches Leave.-Tom Fuchs
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#13
The Donnie Yen vs Wu Jing fight in SPL.

I still can't believe how fast they are.
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#14
Anything from:

Mad Max: Fury Road
Miami Vice
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
The Prodigy
Sinners and Saints


The last 20 minutes of Drug War

Fury: 3 on 1 tank battle

And to show some love to Peter Berg:

The second act of Lone Survivor
The Tsarnaev brothers vs. the Boston PD in Watertown in Patriot's Day

Two of Kim Ji-Won's best. Anything from:

A Bittersweet Life
The Good, the Bad, the Weird
“That which doesn't kill you wasn't done right.”—Khaya Dlanga
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#15
Here’s Steven Spielberg using up all the gags he never got around to including in an Indiana Jones movie.


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#16
My favorite set piece in Spectre is actually the very last one, escaping from the derelict MI6 building. I realize that I'm in the minority on that one. But, it's at that point that the music, editing, scale, cinematography all come together into something enormous and magical for me. Which is probably why I hold that movie higher than most because it goes out on such a high note for me..
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#17
(08-14-2019, 11:01 PM)fraid uh noman Wrote: My favorite set piece in Spectre is actually the very last one, escaping from the derelict MI6 building. I realize that I'm in the minority on that one. But, it's at that point that the music, editing, scale, cinematography all come together into something enormous and magical for me. Which is probably why I hold that movie higher than most because it goes out on such a high note for me..

I don't mind it! I have issues with the actual final confrontation with Blofeld on the bridge, however.
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#18
What are your issues with that? Should have shot him?
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#19
I don't like Blofeld suddenly turning into the Joker and trying to goad Bond into killing him. That's EXTREMELY far afield of the Fleming interpretation of the character OR the various other film incarnations.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#20
Oh. I guess my ignorance of the source material is a blessing sometimes (I need to fix that)..
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#21
(08-14-2019, 10:47 PM)michael shaver Wrote: Universal Soldier: Regeneration

That whole sequence where Van Damme goes full Call of Duty is incredible.

It's too bad Michael Bay has spent so much time on robots fighting and not enough on stuff like this:


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#22
Ridiculous insanity as only Michael Bay could deliver!
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#23
Say what you will about Martin Lawrence but his delivery of "That Muthafucka flipped!" is majestic.
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#24
It's more of a comic setpiece than an action sequence, but the debut of X-Force, through Juggernaut's appearance, in DEADPOOL 2 is glorious tour de force of hysterical mayhem.
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#25
Tarantino has definitely gone grander and ballsier in comparison, but the House of Blue Leaves fight, especially the uncut version, remains one of the coolest and most batshit violent things ever caught on camera.
"PREDATOR 2 feels like it was penned by convicts as part of a correctional facility's creative writing program, and that's what I love about it." - Moltisanti
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#26
(08-15-2019, 12:08 AM)Alt-molt Wrote: Say what you will about Martin Lawrence but his delivery of "That Muthafucka flipped!" is majestic.

"awwww shit!  shit!  definitely shoot that muthafuc-- AWWWWW man my headlight"
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#27
A few that come to mind:

DUNKIRK: The entirety of the "Air" section
INCEPTION: The rotating hallway fight
THE LAST JEDI: The fight with the Praetorians/Luke vs. Kylo Ren
HOT FUZZ: Nick, Danny and the police versus the townspeople
THE INCREDIBLES 2: Elastigirl chasing the train/Elastigirl versus the fake Screen Slaver
SPIDER-MAN 2: The train fight
RETURN OF THE KING: Charge of the Rohirrim
THE TWO TOWERS: Helm's Deep
FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: Amon Hen
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM: Tangiers
SUPERMAN RETURNS: Superman rescues the plane
EASTERN PROMISES: The bathhouse fight
MINORITY REPORT: The spyders
THE HURT LOCKER: James disarms the multi-bomb
HANNA: The One-shot subway fight
And above all else:

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTCOL: The goddamn Burj Khalifa climb.
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#28
On the subject of that hallway fight from INCEPTION, I know Christopher Nolan gets a lot grief about his action scenes, but that sequence just dazzled me the first time I saw it. It still kind of does, really.

And the train fight from SPIDER-MAN 2 is still one of the finest examples of superheroics ever put on the screen.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#29
The scene that left my jaw on the ground was the one shot sequence in Children of Men where the mob descends out of the hills and attacks the car. Every thing about that scene is extraordinary.

Favorite superhero action is probably Yondu and Rocket killing a few hundred pirates while Come a Little Bit Closer plays. Although the big NY climax in the original Avengers is the iconic one.

The final forty five minutes of 13 Assassins are outrageously great.

But in the end, I guess Mad Max deserves the title. The only problem is determining what individual sequence. Probably the big finale, with the bobbing poles.
Brigadier Cousins on PSN
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#30
Nobody picked the hammer fight from Oldboy? How have the mighty fallen.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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#31
Still one of my favs





EDITED TO ADD: Also I think people should pick one at a time so we can discuss them. There's plenty of good ones in these long lists that'll just get ignored.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#32
For the 00s I would go with the foot chase at the start of Casino Royale. Bond is just a total wrecking ball throughout that entire sequence and it looks like it almost entirely practical stunt work. It’s insane.

For the 10s I would go with sequences from The Winter Soldier and Civil War. TWS being the scene that starts on the freeway that then descends into the downtown area and an intimate close quarters fight between Cap and Bucky. I love the sequence where Bucky is switching weapons as Cap closes the gap on him. Civil War has that amazing sequence that starts in Bucky’s apartment, then down the stairs and out to the roof of the other building where Black Panther is introduced and then a fun little chase.

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#33
Recency bias and all...but any of the large scale sequences from MI: Fallout are some of the best.



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#34
(08-15-2019, 06:40 AM)catartik Wrote: For the 10s I would go with sequences from The Winter Soldier and Civil War.  TWS being the scene that starts on the freeway that then descends into the downtown area and an intimate close quarters fight between Cap and Bucky. I love the sequence where Bucky is switching weapons as Cap closes the gap on him. Civil War has that amazing sequence that starts in Bucky’s apartment, then down the stairs and out to the roof of the other building where Black Panther is introduced and then a fun little chase.

The Causeway fight in WS is easily among the best action sequences in the MCU (if not being the actual best). Just a wonderful marriage of practical and digital effects, as well as combining hand-to-hand and firearms.

That sequence in CW is a close contender....until we get to the tunnel section. Which is also well done but more obviously CGI and thus loses just a tad of steam. Black Panther's intro is so. Fucking. Great, though.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#35
FALLOUT is awesome. The skydive, the bathroom fight, the motorcycle chase, the damn helicopter chase...I was never the biggest M:I fan, but that movie's on a different level.

Good call on the high rise fight in SKYFALL. It's gorgeous. I also love the opening long take of SPECTRE. It's one of the few things I remember about that movie

The Pirates of the Caribbean films had several big setpieces. The first one that comes to mind for me is the three-person rolling windmill sword fight in DEAD MAN'S CHEST. Verbinski's movies are nearly all bloated and endless, but his setpieces are top-notch.

The first half hour of JOHN WICK 3, along with the fight with the dogs

I don't remember a specific sequence from THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, I just remember cringing for two hours.

all of THE RAID and FURY ROAD

Season 2 of BANSHEE

Funniest "action sequence" - Gene vs. The Falcon, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP
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