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Top 10 One Take Fight Scenes

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Written by George Pacheco Quick cuts are exciting and fun and everything, but when a fight scene is all done in one take, that's even more impressive! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Fight Scenes in One Shot! But what will take the top spot of our list? Will it be the ambush from Children of Men, the Hallway Attack in Oldboy, or the opening scene in The Revenant? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Have an idea for our next video, submit your suggestion here: WatchMojo.commy/suggest.php
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These sequences pushed the boundaries of filmmaking and left us breathless. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 One-Take Fight Scenes.



For this list, we'll be ranking the action or fight scenes from film and television which were shot in one take, or used movie magic to hide subtle cuts in the finished product. We're limiting our focus to fighting or action sequences only, as we've already done a list of the Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Movies. Oh, and given that we might be going into some plot points here: SPOILER ALERT!







#10: Avengers Assemble!

"The Avengers" (2012)




Our first entry is all about teamwork. "The Avengers" brought together some of Marvel Comics' most iconic heroes, but it also showcased an excellent extended take during the film's final action set piece. The "Battle of New York" sequence is highlighted by a scene where each of the Avengers is shown locked in furious combat, as Iron Man flies around the city, amazingly highlighting the point of view of the audience. Sure, this shot is made up of a lot of green screen, CGI and digital effects, but the end results are as awesome as they come: Avengers Assemble, indeed!





#9: Adonis in the Ring

"Creed" (2015)




Boxing can be a brutal sport, and perhaps no film series has showcased the visceral and sometimes uncomfortable violence of boxing as successfully as the "Rocky" franchise. This legacy of cinematic excellence was continued with 2015's "Creed," as evidenced by this astonishingly accomplished scene. Adonis Creed's first fight against Leo "The Lion" Sporino is presented in a captivating, four minute shot which captures, bell-to-bell, the strategy and physicality of boxing. The camera moves and dances around the competitors like a silent witness to their conflict, while the lack of musical score only enhances the crowd noise and chatter from each boxer's corner. It's a must watch.





#8: Daredevils, Hallways and Stairwells. . . Oh My!

"Daredevil" (2015-)




Violence isn't pretty, and fighting isn't easy. The creators behind Netflix's "Daredevil" know this all too well, and brought these ideas to the table in two brutally beautiful fight scenes. A hallway fight sequence in season 1 is highlighted by a camera which only follows the action going on within the hallway itself, leaving what happens in the adjoining rooms tantalizingly out of reach. Meanwhile, season 2's stairwell scene ups the ante even further by following Daredevil as he pulverizes a motorcycle gang. Through it all, we the audience are treated to exactly how spent Matt Murdock is after each battle; and we feel similarly drained after watching all of the hard work which obviously went into creating these scenes.



#7: Deep Cover

"True Detective" (2014-)




TENSION. This is the operative word to use when describing many moments within HBO's brilliant series "True Detective," but perhaps no sequence in either of the show's two seasons measures up to this beyond-intense standoff in the first season episode "Who Goes There?" Its highlight is an epic, six minute tracking shot which follows Matthew McConaughey's Rust Cohle as he goes undercover within an outlaw biker club called the Iron Crusaders. The camera follows Cohle and the bikers as they break into a housing complex, and follows each bloody, violent move as it goes predictably pear-shaped. Gunshots, fistfights and award-winning cinematography are the name of the game here, leaving the audience gasping right to the very end.







#6: Subway Crawl

"Hanna" (2011)




The extended shot sequence in "Hanna" is something a bit different from the tense and close quarters scenes mentioned previously on such shows as "Daredevil" and "True Detective." Instead, the camera work here escorts the audience from one place to another, following Eric Bana's character from the bus terminal to a subway. Bana quickly gets the feeling that he's being followed; and that turns out to be true, as thugs emerge from the back and foregrounds of the frame. It all culminates as Bana loosens his coat and gears up for fisticuffs, whereupon the camera then spins around and captures all of the action in a brief but impactful 360 degree view.









#5: Hospital Shootout

"Hard Boiled" (1992)




John Woo is one of the all time kings of action cinema, and his 1992 film "Hard Boiled" serves as one of the ultimate testaments to that fact. Want proof? Well, then look no further than this example of the master in action. The hospital shootout scene is measured and methodical as it follows its hero cops (including the great Chow Yun-fat) through multiple levels of the building, blowing away bad guys all the way. This stunningly-choreographed, and hugely influential scene was essential in putting "Hard Boiled" on the map as one of the greatest Hong Kong action flicks of all time.







#4: Take Me to Church

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" (2014)




Sometimes, it just takes a good song to make a scene. "Kingsman: The Secret Service" wasn't the first film to use Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" to offset a scene of horrifying violence - it was also picked by Rob Zombie to end his film, "The Devil's Rejects" - but one could argue that here, it's almost a character itself. "Freebird" sets a rather upbeat stage for what can only be described as complete carnage, as Colin Firth slaughters his way through an entire church full of people. Although the camera does cut away to Samuel L. Jackson's location at times, the actual action sequence is impeccably choreographed with long, one shot takes.









#3: First-Person Slaughter

"The Revenant" (2015)




Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñárritu is no stranger to long takes, with his 2014 film "Birdman” being critically lauded for its single shot cinematography. His follow-up was something different entirely, however, at least with regards to its content. "The Revenant" was unflinching in its themes of violence, survival and revenge, and made its intentions known right from the start with this frightening opening scene. Leonardo DiCaprio's team of trackers are beset by Arikara Indians, and the camera follows the nauseating path of destruction as bodies are beaten, broken and impaled by the dozens. It's utterly immersive: hard to watch, but impossible to look away.







#2: Coffee Shop, Car Attack and Battlefield

"Children of Men" (2006)




So, you say you want some long shots? Well, "Children of Men" has got what you need! Three notable ones, in fact. The first one follows lead Clive Owen as he leaves a coffee shop moments before a bomb hits. The second is an incredibly shocking sequence which shatters an otherwise joyful moment with a gruesome chase scene, while the last follows explosive gunplay on the battlefield. All three contain both brilliant acting and a remarkably nerve-wracking amount of tension, combining to give "Children of Men" its reputation as a modern day cult classic.









Before we name our number one pick, here are a few brutal honorable mentions!



Brawl for All

"Atomic Blonde" (2017)







Lobby Showdown

"The Protector" (2005)







The Return of Jon Snow

"Game of Thrones" (2011-)







#1: Hallway Attack

"Oldboy" (2003)




Critics and fans alike took notice of this Korean film when it was originally released in 2003. One of the main reasons was this incredibly-orchestrated hallway attack, courtesy of director Park Chan-wook. Flashy tricks or gimmicks aren't what make this scene great, but rather grit and exhausting intensity as the film's protagonist, Dae-su, armed with a hammer, takes on a hallway full of enemies. The fighting is brutal and ugly, yet it's Dae-su who's left smiling as he makes it to the hallway's exit. . . only to be greeted by another elevator full of foes. It's a classic scene that Spike Lee's 2013 remake couldn't match.
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