An exciting action scene is one of the most thrilling things about a film, it always has been and always will be. The very first motion ever captured on camera was of a horse running in 1878, shot by taking pictures with 24 cameras in succession. This action shot was the launching pad for the motion pictures industry. Today, the action in film is a lot more exciting, even if some of the storylines have gotten worse. Many directors have made action the primary device in their films. For some it’s the only device. Summer blockbusters draw people into the theaters in the millions, promising edge-of-your-seat excitement, big explosions and loud noises (I’m looking at you Michael Bay). But the perfect action sequence involves a lot more than just those elements. The perfect action scene has probably not been shot yet, but the scenes on this list come pretty close.
Some of the greatest action scenes in history are still remembered fondly by viewers, we’re able to replay them in our minds years later. Some of the best action movies in history have pushed the envelope, creating new ways of capturing thrills for the audiences and taking cinema to the next level, movies like Bullitt, Stagecoach, Ben Hur, The General and The French Connection. Chase scenes, fights, shootouts and large scale battles, these are some of the most common and, usually, the most effective scenes.
In the new millennium, directors and filmmakers are still trying to set a new standard for action scenes, attempting to step out from the shadow of the greats that came before them, action directors like Matthew Vaughn, Zack Snyder, J.J. Abrams, Quentin Tarantino and many more. Some directors are criticized for only being able to shoot action sequences and nothing more, but, the truth is, action sells at the box office. We pay those astronomical prices to see large-scale action on a big screen because it’s never the same at home. Personally, I get screamed at whenever I turn my TV up past the quarter mark. The theatre shows us how the films should be seen and heard. The films on this list are the ones that have made the most noise in the 21st century so far. Let’s countdown the most intense action scenes of the last 16 years.
16 Day Of The Dead – Spectre
15 Scaling The Burj Khalifa – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
14 Car Chase In Paris – The Bourne Identity
13 Hallway Fight Scenes - The Raid: Redemption
12 Getaway Driver – Drive
11 King Leonidas Vs. The Persians – 300
10 Bear Attack – The Revenant
9 Church Shootout - Kingsman: Secret Service
8 The Hallway Fight – Oldboy
7 Beatrix Kiddo Vs. The Crazy 88 – Kill Bill
6 The Zero Gravity Fight – Inception
5 Millennium Falcon Test Drive – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4 The Battle Of Helm’s Deep - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
3 Night Vision – Kick-Ass
2 New York Fight – The Avengers
1 Sandstorm - Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is a thing of beauty for movie lovers. I think we’re too close to it right now for people to appreciate it fully, too afraid to make grand statements for fear of being too present. I’m not afraid. This is one of the best action films of all time, and, in a few years, when we are able to look back with some perspective, we will be able to admit what we witnessed. The best scene of the bunch (though there are just so many to chose from) has the convoy driving straight into a massive sandstorm, Mad Max chained up on the front of one of the cars. As they enter it, the storm is multi-colored, full of lighting and tornadoes, cars are exploding, the score is humming; it really is the perfect storm.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Movieclips; Rotten Tomatoes
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