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Top 10 Movies with Incomprehensible Action Scenes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Zack Sims Action scenes from movies that utilize shaky cameras and loud noises to make action sequences nauseating and impossible to follow! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Movies with Incomprehensible Action Scenes. But what will take the top spot on the list? Alex Cross, Transformers, or Battle Los: Angeles? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Special thanks to MikeyP for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out our suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movies+With+Incomprehensible+Action+Scenes+%28Shaky+Cam%29
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Do you understand what’s going on here? ‘Cause we sure don’t. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies with Incomprehensible Action Scenes.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most difficult to understand action scenes in movies. This confusion might be caused by any number of issues, like poor editing, bad pacing, or an overly shaky camera. These aren’t necessarily bad movies, but they do contain at least one remarkably incomprehensible action scene. However, we won’t be including any found footage or POV films on this list. Oh, and a SPOILER ALERT is probably in order.

#10: House Call
“The Bourne Legacy” (2012)

In the first Bourne film without Jason Bourne, Aaron Cross attempts to save Dr. Shearing from assassins in her home. The ensuing action sequence is quick and chaotic, but not in the way you’d want. Instead of depicting the altercation clearly, the cuts complicate the scene, so it’s hard to tell where the action is taking place. As Cross maneuvers around the house, the fight leads to a basement. It’s not pitch black, but the reduction in light takes even more away from the clarity of the fight. While it’s not impossible to watch, the quick cuts and other issues in this scene take a fight between a super soldier and some assassins and make it somehow less exciting – and certainly difficult to decipher.

#9: Final Tribute Fight
“The Hunger Games” (2012)

The final fight of “The Hunger Games” has Peeta and Katniss pitted against the last tribute, Cato, on top of the Cornucopia. Many of the hits are hidden by camera movement and cuts, while the shakiness makes the entire scene hard to watch. Some big hits aren’t even shown because of the frequent edits, like when Peeta body slams Cato. This scene takes place at night, and the actors are dressed in dark clothes, so the action is pretty tough to see. Of course, this fight is intended to ramp up the tension, but instead it leaves the audience confused. The first Cornucopia scene is intentionally chaotic to create a panicked feeling as the tributes scramble for survival; this final fight is just too chaotic to even understand.

#8: Stallone vs. Van Damme
“The Expendables 2” (2012)

“The Expendables 2” should’ve been filled with badass one-liners and intense action scenes from classic actors, right? Unfortunately, the film severely lacks in the “quality action” department, with the final fight between Ross and Vilain suffering from poor editing and choreography. The visibility is made even worse by the fact that the scene is tinted dark blue, which was also the case for other fights in the film. At some points during the Stallone-Van Damme fight, you can’t even make sense of how quikly the characters get from point A to point B. It’s this combo of issues that make the scene less engaging and hard to follow. A film with this much talent should’ve let us savor the sweet action instead of question it.

#7: Bathroom Fight
“Colombiana” (2011)

2011’s “Colombiana” shows the revenge story of the protagonist, Cataleya, played by Zoe Saldana, and the film leads to a climactic fight between Cataleya and the man who killed her family. Sounds like a satisfying end to the story right? Wrong. The problem is the camera work is overly shaky and the cuts are so excessive that it’s impossible to see any hits land. The fact that the fight takes place in a small bathroom doesn’t make the scene any less confusing, either. The confrontation is choppy and hard to follow, which makes what’s supposed to be the most intense part of the film almost anticlimactic.

#6: Rooftop Rumble
“Quantum of Solace” (2008)

In Daniel Craig’s second outing as Bond, he’s found chasing his targets across the rooftops of Siena, Italy in the opening of the film. Unfortunately, critics were quick to point out that the entire sequence is poorly edited with excessive cuts, which means the fights are difficult to watch and the parkour is not nearly as exciting as it could have been. The opening of “Casino Royale” features a similar chase in its opening, and in that scene the parkour shots are held longer and the hand-to-hand fights aren’t cut so quickly, so the audience is able to feel the hits and the excitement from the action. However, when it comes down to it, Quantum of Solace’s opening doesn’t show 007’s awesome skills as best it can.

#5: Knife Fight
“The Bourne Supremacy” (2004)

This scene shows our titular hero, Jason Bourne, fighting Jarda in his home. The fight is “close and dirty”, meaning it uses a lot of quick cuts and a shaky camera. The result of that, however, is that viewers are constantly trying to get a glimpse of the action, rather than enjoying the scene for what it is. This quick editing technique, especially the constant cutting at each hit, makes the punches seem less impactful, almost as if no one is actually getting hurt. The movement of the camera also blocks the view of the punches and knife swipes. Director Paul Greengrass is known for his “shaky cam” style, but this scene heavily hides the action while the excessive cuts and movement make it barely comprehensible.

#4: Smallville Scuffle
“Man of Steel” (2013)

Whether you love or hate “Man of Steel,” you must admit it has its moments. However, the Smallville fight is not one of them – at least according to critics. The main issue with this sequence is the camera movement: it seems like they were going for a handheld vibe – an effect that can and has been used dramatically in the past – but unfortunately here it only makes it difficult to see the three super beings throw each other through buildings. In addition to the overly excited camera are lens flares and unnecessary zooms that make the scene even more difficult to watch. Show us the big blue boy scout beating the bad guy; don’t hide it!

#3: Junkyard Scuffle
“Transformers” (2007)

Michael Bay’s theatrical version of the Transformers is packed with explosive action between our favorite autobots and decepticons, but some scenes don’t do our favorite ‘80s cartoon justice. One such example is the junkyard scene between Bumblebee and Barricade. To start, most of the shots in the sequence need to be wider to compensate for the huge robots. The movement of the camera and timing of the edits obscure the movement of the fight and make the scene less clear to the viewer. Not to mention, Barricade is a black police car, which makes him hard to see against the night sky. Rather than actually showing us the hits and the movement in a comprehensible manner, this scene basically implies a badass fight – and fans expected more.

#2: Alien Ambush
“Battle: Los Angeles” (2011)

This alien invasion film follows a commander and his platoon on a rescue mission to save civilians frA is incomprehensible, to say the least. In fact, the camera moves so much and the cuts are so quick that the audience doesn’t know who’s shooting at who. What’s more, you can’t even really tell where anyone is in relation to each other, or even how the scene is laid out. Add loud screaming, gunfire, and tons of dust, and the result is a confusing scene that borders on unwatchable.

No honorable mentions this time around!

#1: Cross Eyed
“Alex Cross” (2012)

Nauseating is too generous of a term to describe this action scene. In this fight, Cross relies on hand-to-hand combat in his final fight against the villain, Picasso… except this final fight is too confusing for us to even understand what’s going on; the camera shakes to the point where most, if not all, of the action is obscured. The shot is also zoomed in too tight, which – on top of the shakiness – makes the scene physically hard to watch at times. Ultimately, the frequent cuts and, ironically, the slow motion segments take away any remaining clarity the scene may’ve had. This finale is about as climactic as a black screen that says “the end” – and at least that would’ve been easier to watch.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie do you think has the most incomprehensible action scene? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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