Welcome to The Palace Guard, the tai chi chuan and martial arts blog for intelligent martial practitioners. As the blog develops, I hope to feature other writers with a fresh take on the martial arts and related subjects. For now, I hope you enjoy my posts: feel free to leave comments, or email me at the address available on the profile.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Top Ten Film Fight Scenes

Although obviously the Palace Guard is usually a fount of high and refined culture, every now and then I can't resist a good old fashioned list of things. So here we go. The best fight sequences of all time. Some are good because they're fun, or beautiful even; some are here because they're downright gritty and painful to watch. At this time I'm too lazy to embed all the clips. Hunt 'em down on Youtube yourselves: do I have to do everything?

10-  Last Samurai : where Cruise gets a drubbing
Short but oh so sweet and not just because the Cruise-meister gets a kicking. It's brutal, realistic and rainy. Oh and did I mention, Cruise gets a drubbing? Right.

9-   Kick Ass: scene where the chap gets stabbed
Okay, the rest of the movie kind of tails off after this, but this bit is spot-on, just what I would imagine to happen, and a shot in the arm for fantasists everywhere.

8-Saving Private Ryan: grizly knife death wrestle
This is literally painful to watch, close-up and very personal. Upsetting, and another brave inclusion in a film that didn't pull any visual punches.

7- Gladiator : the whole chariot bit? The fight against the german?
Really, one is spoilt for choice, with some amazing set pieces and duels. Everything, from the encounter in the forest with the would-be executioners, to the grapple with old Joaquin at the end, is amazingly well-crafted.

6- The Princess Bride: epic duel scene
You've got to love it. For sheer length and virtuosity as well as humour, this ranks alongside the greats.

5- 300: most of the scenes...
The sandals and swords theme provides another rich feast of martial excellence, as well as unfeasible abs and some kinky stuff reminiscent of the "earth-room" scene in the ever underrated "Zoolander"...

4-Bitter love sabre duel in House of Flying Daggers
At the time I saw this I actually was kind of engaged in a tricksy love situation, so this really hit me where it hurts, man. And them as well, what with sticking bits of metal in each other in a wondrous variety of ways whilst it snows.

3-Lord of the Rings: the Amon Hen bit in the wood with loads of baddies
This nearly came top for me: great sword action, thrown things, limb severances, and a Platoon-like death by multiple arrows. After this, the battles become epic and less personal, and involve buckets of CGI. Men in rubber suits hitting each other, that's the ticket.

2-Crouching Tiger: two women have multiple weapons
Aagh...Do I mean this one or the one where Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi first meet? No, I think the second, because by this time they really hate each other, and you can feel their venom through the medium of multiple, expertly handled weapons. Truly one to set your heart pounding.

1- The Bourne Identity: Biromania
Yes, yes, yes: truly the fight to end all fights. It's surprising, brutal and amazingly choreographed. At one point Damon is hitting the guy so rapidly with the aforementioned biro, you have to watch it back on freeze-frame. Improvised weapons, close-quarters grit, bone-breaking excellence: this one has it all. Then he leaps out of the bloody window. Hurrah for Matt Damon and his depiction of the confused yet deadly young man!