Webster’s Dictionary defines Martial Arts as “any of several arts of combat and self-defense,” but this combat style was also considered a sport. Typical sports that fall under the umbrella of martial arts include Taekwondo, boxing, wrestling, Judo, karate, and kickboxing. TV shows such as Cobra Kai (for the most part) show students attending a school to learn the elements of martial arts and to prepare to fight their opponent in a tournament match.
Participating in a tournament or a competition implies that the opponents are in a controlled environment. They are less likely to leave the ring and continue to fight or use unconventional elements against their opponent. Nevertheless, certain circumstances require the protagonists to rely on defending themselves or taking out their enemy outside the ring. In some cases, these action scenes are the climatic points of the film.
Fight in a Pool Scene in ‘Unleashed’ (2005)
Jet Lic starred in the action thriller Unleashed (2005). His character, Danny, was raised by Bart (Bob Hoskins) to be nothing more than a fighting machine. Danny preyed on any of Bart’s customers that didn’t follow Bart’s orders. He didn’t have free will to break free from Bart’s control until Bart suffered a vehicle accident.
With Danny’s lack of self-control, he didn’t stop once he was involved in a fight. He would strike his opponents with repetitive hits until the next opponent arrived. One scene in the film involved Danny battling against four fighters in an empty pool while a crowd cheered him on. Instead of concentrating on one rival at a time, Danny strikes at least two opponents simultaneously and uses the weapons he has at his disposal. Unleashed is available on YouTube.
Wong vs. John Scene in ‘The Legend of Drunken Master’ (‘Drunken Master II’) (1994)
besides Jackie Chan‘s popular American films, one of his best non-American movies includes the 1978 film, The Drunken Master and the 1994 movie The Legend of the Drunken Master. The Legend of the Drunken Master (known as Drunken Master II) continued Wong Fei-hung’s (Chan) story. This time, Wong’s father insisted that he didn’t get involved in any more confrontation fights.
Fans of the first film might remember that Wong acquired the unusual martial arts style known as “Drunken Boxing.” The last scene of The Legend of the Drunken Master is a fight between Wong and John (Ken Lo). The choreography in the film comprised of strategically timed hits along with light background music created a memorable scene. Drunken Master II is available on YouTube.
Mall Scene in ‘Police Story’ (1985)
Police Story (1985) doesn’t solely focus on delivering heated fight scenes with Chan as the protagonist of the film but ensures to provide a narrative that details why Chan’s character is fighting in the first place. Chan plays “Kevin” Chan Ka Kui, a police officer assigned to protect the girlfriend, Selina Fong (Brigitte Lin), or a wanted criminal, Chu Tao.
After several scenes that included car chases and hanging off a speeding bus, the final fight scene occurs in a mall that is crowded with shoppers. Kevin followed Selina into a shopping mall as she grabs Chu Tao’s information and stored it in a suitcase. Chu-Tao men arrived at the mall and chased after Selina and Kevin. The mall became a challenging maze to navigate as Kevin had to fight off several of the men on his own. The scene wouldn’t be complete with multiple glass panels shattering. Police Story is available on HBO Max.
Subway Fight Scene in ‘The Matrix’ (1999)
Keanu Reeves starred in the four-time Academy Award-winning film The Matrix (1999). Reeves portrays Neo, who also went by the name Thomas A. Anderson as a computer hacker who entered a world where the machine was an undefeatable enemy. He partnered with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) that introduced Neo to this unimaginable world.
The Matrix differs from most martial arts films because of its science-fiction component. When Neo and Agent Smith face each other in an abandoned subway station, they started to shoot each other. Once they realized they were out of bullets, they resorted to fighting with only their hands and feet. There have been a total of five Matrix movies so far, yet to see the first movie, The Matrix is available on Amazon Prime Video.
The Alley Fight Scene in ‘Kill Zone’ (2005)
Kill Zone or Saat Po Long (SPL) (2005) centered on Ma Kwan (Donnie Yen) a police officer who replaced former police inspector, Chan Kwok-Chung (Simon Yam). Chan retired from his career after suffering a traumatic car accident where his doctor informed him that he has a brain tumor. As the new police inspector, Ma grew suspicious of Chan’s team.
Not all martial art scenes need multiple individuals fighting simultaneously. Sometimes all an epic fight scene needs are two highly proficient fighters fueled with rage. Ma Kwan and Jack were fighting each other in the narrow alley with knife blades, but relying on using each part of the blade to defend themselves. The martial arts style that the characters used in the film was Brazilian jiu-jitsu, one of the most difficult martial arts styles to master. Kill Zone or SPL: Kill Zone is available on Tubi.
Battle Scenes in ’13 Assassins’ (2010)
Revenge is the motive behind almost every film, including 13 Assassins (2010). This Japanese action drama focused on Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira and his cruel unprecedented actions. Lord Naritsugu brutally murdered civilians. Shinza arranged a group of samurais to overthrow Lord Naritsugu.
It can be difficult to pinpoint one particular fighting scene in this film because, unlike the other films, where the climax is one final fight scene, in 13 Assassins there are several fight scenes where the participants take a few breaks only to catch their breath. The battle scene, or rather a slaughter, in the film involved several Samurais attacking two men with swords. 13 Assassins is available on Pluto TV.
The House of the Blue Leaves Scene in ‘Kill Bill Vol.1’ (2003)
Members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad weren’t allowed to leave their duties as assassins. When The Bride (Uma Thurman) set out to leave her life as one of the most deadly and skilled female assassins, her squad murdered her fiancé and killed her baby. She suffered severe injuries that left her in a coma for four years, but after awakening from her coma, she sought out revenge for those who ruined her life.
The odds are usually stacked against a fighter if they have to fight more than one opponent. However, in Kill Bill: Vol.1 (2003), O-Ren Ishii’s army (Crazy 88) were no match for the Bride. The battle between The Bride and the army became an intense bloodbath in the House of the Blue Leaves. Quentin Tarantino‘s movie Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is available on HBO Max.
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