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Top 10 Action Packed Slow Motion Scenes

VO: Dan
These days it seems like anything worth seeing on the big screen is sped up, interspersed with cuts and the camera is made to shake so we can't see what's going on. It's sad when you consider that action is even better served when it takes its time and allows us to experience the adrenaline pumping action in bullet time. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our top 10 favorite action packed slow motion movie scenes.
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Top 10 Action Packed Slow Motion Movie Scenes


Sometimes fast paced mayhem just has to take its time! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite action packed slow motion movie scenes.

#10- Boxing “Sherlock Holmes” (2009)


Kicking off our list is the bare-knuckle boxing match that helps differentiate and define Robert Downey Jr.’s reimagining of the classic detective, Sherlock Holmes. A genius able to think and react in “Holmes-time”, he puts his quick thinking mind to spectacular use in order to deconstruct his opponent’s attack. Not just planning and executing his strikes with surgical precision, he explains each carefully planned blow before delivering the eye-candy.

#9 - Rescue Mission “Kick Ass” (2010)


In this scene, Hit Girl arrives in the nick of time hoping to save Kick Ass and Big Daddy. With the pair about to be executed for the entire web to see, her rescue mission involves everything from a POV first person shooting with night vision to firing under the cover a strobe light. However, it’s the combination of strobe and slow motion while her dad burns that is the most intense, astonishing and heartfelt.

#8 – For Sparta “300” (2006)


When there’s violence in a Zack Snyder movie, he makes sure you can see it. Here, King Leonidas shows his refusal to bow to the will of Xerxes by killing his messenger! This defining decision is punctuated by the reduced speed, signifying the seriousness of his action, and giving you time to wonder why there’s a pit of death in the middle of town. Thought that was absolutely baddass, it’s even more thrilling to watch him and his fellow 300 rip through the first wave of Persians with spear and sword.

#7 - Opening Credit Montage “WatchMen” (2009)


We did mention that Zack liked his slow mo! This one kicks things off early, showcasing the death of the Comedian, followed by an opening credits montage bringing the uninitiated up to speed on its alternative version of the 20th Century. The best part- it’s ever so fittingly set to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Not only spectacular and moving, it pays tribute to the deep lore of the graphic novel and saves the viewer an hour of backstory!

#6 - Opening Credits “Zombieland” (2009)


As much as we love the last opening, there’s one thing that it was sorely lacking: zombies. A match made in heaven, this credits scene does away with the genre’s usual use of motion sickness inducing shaky cam. Instead, it lets us savor the end of the world in style, with the dark comedic tone being driven home by Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.

#5 - The Van “Inception” (2010)


In this Christopher Nolan’s visual masterpiece, it’s all about the dreams. With each level of the unconscious operating at different speeds, it was necessary to shift gears as characters go deeper into the mind during their reverse heist. Most astonishing of which is the slow motion car chase in which the crew are fast asleep as they get tossed around in their chairs, while their sleeping faces are pelted with rain and broken glass. Of course the real kick is the kick, a free fall off a bridge designed to wake everyone up. Don’t know why rolling down the hill didn’t count but it’s best not ask too many questions.

#4 - Explosion “The Hurt Locker” (2008)


In this movie about bomb disposal experts defusing explosives during the Iraq War, it really helped set the tone by witnessing a botched defusal. This isn’t just another over the top Hollywood explosion, as traditional orange flames are replaced with startling plume of flying dirt. The incredible attention to detail drives home the horrifying realization that Guy Pierce isn’t going to be in the rest of the movie.

#3 - Shoot Out “The Wild Bunch” (1969)


In this climactic final shootout, cowboys go on a suicide mission to save their comrade from a Mexican warlord. This sets off an insane and relentless battle against an entire army fort. The fantastic slow motion is dispersed strategically to emphasize the carnage and mayhem, as the editing slows things down whenever a bullet meets its target. The result is that viewers get to feel the frantic pace of the battle and the heart stopping gravity of each fallen hero.

#2 - The Steps “The Untouchables” (1987)


In this masterfully shot scene, Kevin Costner plays a prohibition agent who seizes his opportunity to grab Al Capone’s accountant before he flees town. Before Costner can finish helping a woman with her stroller, his prey arrives with an entourage of goons. The result is a staircase shootout punctuated by its pacing, tension and desperation. The stroller bumping its way down the stairs helps to both give the viewer a sense of time but also adds an extra layer of tension and danger.

#1 – The Lobby “The Matrix” (1999)


Taking the top spot on our countdown is the film that became synonymous with the term “Bullet Time”, revolutionizing how such scenes are actually filmed. Almost everything in the movie is breathtaking, from Neo dodging bullets right down to his metro encounter with Agent Smith. However, the standout slow-mo scene is Neo and Trinity’s lobby shootout. After all, it comes complete with exploding pillars, buckets of bullets and cartwheeling gunplay. Whoa indeed!

Agree with our list? Which scene did you find best was served by taking its sweet time? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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