Top 10 Underwater Movie Fights

Written by Akil Goin Why not raise the stakes by sinking everything? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 underwater movie fights. For this list, we’re looking at those movie fight scenes that take place below the water’s surface. And, since real is better, we’re mostly focusing on real actors diving or real divers acting – and, for the most part, not animation. We’re in it for the genuine, dangerous struggles below sea level in the name of audience entertainment. And, since some of these are the final showdowns of their respective movies, we should mention SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users perryhigh and Charlie Palmer for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Akil Goin

Top 10 Underwater Movie Fights


Why not raise the stakes by sinking everything? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 underwater movie fights.

For this list, we’re looking at those movie fight scenes that take place below the water’s surface. And, since real is better, we’re mostly focusing on real actors diving or real divers acting – and, for the most part, not animation. We’re in it for the genuine, dangerous struggles below sea level in the name of audience entertainment. And, since some of these are the final showdowns of their respective movies, we should mention SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Amy Sanchez vs. Benny Simpson
“Deep Gold” (2011)

A talented scuba diver gets mixed up in a plot of intrigue and danger when her Air Force pilot boyfriend disappears with millions of dollars’ worth of gold. This is the climax of that story. The tension in this scene stems not only from that, but also from the fact that one of these characters is a trained free diver while the other is genuinely fighting for his life – with a gun. The tension of seeing these two actors go toe-to-toe is palpable – but there can only be one victor underwater.

#9: Expedition Team vs. the Gill-Man
“Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954)

Expeditions can be dangerous – especially when there’s a murderous, amphibious humanoid monster skulking about. This scene owes its realism to underwater stuntman Ricou Browning, who completely owns his portrayal of the Gill-man – after all, dragging people in a full-body rubber suit can’t be easy. At times, Browning held his breath for four-minutes-straight without releasing air bubbles to simulate the effect of breathing through gills. That move paid off in this scene, where a member of the expedition team finally comes up against the eponymous creature.

#8: LTJG Dale Hawkins vs. Ben Shaheed
“Navy SEALs” (1990)

Nothing like a surprise death match to get the blood flowing – especially one to recover some missiles from a violent terrorist group. The clarity of the camerawork puts this underwater scene up there, but the brutality secures its spot. This fight doesn’t even need to be underwater to be good, because it’s choreographed and paced as well as a fight on land – and is just as violent. These guys roll, drag, strangle, then stab. They’re not encumbered by the water, nor should they be: They’re SEALs!

#7: Nick Rivers vs. Nigel “The Torch”
“Top Secret!” (1984)

Perhaps the first and only underwater barroom brawl, this one’s set in a western saloon with handy stools, chandeliers and cowboy hats. It’s random and unexpected – actually, come to think of it, it’s not so random since this movie parodies tons of different styles. But when you get beyond the sudden absurdity you can see its real competencies as a fight scene. Nipple twisting your opponent off his feet and following through with a cartoony wind-up fake-out punch actually works very well in this world.

#6: Ned Land vs. Giant Squid
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954)

In a film where the ultimate prize is finding the mysterious sea monster, it’s not a shock to find a famous underwater fight. In this case, the initial attack begins underwater; but when electrical charges fail to thwart the giant squid, the creature surfaces – and that’s when the real fun begins. To ensure it was as tense and epic as possible, this expensive scene was shot twice. We think it was worth it to see Kirk Douglas use his harpoon skills and underwater tentacle chops in a fight-slash-rescue.

#5: James Bond vs. Dr. Kananga
“Live and Let Die” (1973)

It’s James Bond versus his latest nemesis, Dr. Kananga, in this short clip that doesn’t quite end how we expect it to – but that’s what makes it so good. People usually get eaten alive in shark tanks, not force-fed shark gun pellets that turn them into human hot air balloons and make them explode on the ceiling like a firecracker in a piñata. And, 007’s closing one-liner punctuates the entire action sequence the way only Bond can.

#4: Chan Ka-kui vs. Henchmen
“Police Story 4: First Strike” (1996)

Jackie Chan is a cop from Hong Kong who’s trying to find an illegal arms dealer. That leads him to an aquarium and one of the longest – and funniest – underwater fight scenes, which proves that the fun of Jackie Chan movies isn’t diluted when water is added. The martial arts skills are top notch, the visual gags are hysterical, and the choreography is even cooler when you see the strength of each punch and kick reduced slightly by the underwater handicap. Plus there’s a knife attack, and gunfire. What more could you want?

#3: James Bond vs. Gunman
“Skyfall” (2012)

This one’s not only underwater; it’s also under ice. After 007 lures big baddie Raoul Silva and his men to his childhood home in Scotland, the secret agent must fight them off to protect his boss M from Silva’s vengeful intentions. And when the situation gets too hot for the secret agent to handle, he decides to cool things down. But, as if fighting off an armed henchman underwater isn’t enough of a problem, Bond is then faced with the question: now how do you get out?

#2: Kaijus vs. Jaegers
“Pacific Rim” (2013)

We were going to leave out all the aliens and CGI, but an exception must be made since robot fights at the bottom of the ocean have never been done this spectacularly – that is, if they’ve ever even been done before at all. There’s as much destruction as the sea can handle when the Pacific Rim nations take on all these hellish creatures with their human-piloted WMDs. But when the largest Kaiju the world had yet seen shows up, the annihilation gets even more intense.

Before we dive into our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Jack Paul Quinn vs. Scuba Diver
“Double Team” (1997)
- Aarav vs. Divers
“Blue” (2009)
- Good Guys vs. Bad Guys
“Fool’s Gold” (2008)
- Orange vs. Black
“Thunderball” (1965)
- Zombie vs. Shark
“Zombi 2” (1979)

#1: Martin Riggs vs. Wah Sing Ku
“Lethal Weapon 4” (1998)

It’s a dark and stormy night. Riggs and Murtaugh have tracked their Chinese Triad target to a pier. And, since that Chinese Triad target happens to be Jet Li, you know that some above water one-against-two ass-kicking follows. However, when the ground crumbles beneath their feet, and Jet Li and Mel Gibson are thrown into the water, the game changes and you no longer feel sorry for the cops for getting their asses handed to them. Stabbings, chokings, impalings and drowning attempts don’t phase this bad guy, but automatic weapon fire sure does!

Do you agree with our list? Which underwater movie fights did we miss? To drown yourself in more Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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