Rule #1: Each sequence must have a beginning and an end. No, “the action is really good in this one part…”. I mean sequences that are masterpieces in and of themselves, even if the moives around them suck.
Well, that’s the only rule, but it’s a good one. Two of mine come from Matrix Reloaded, but I guess I’ll spoiler box them if you haven’t seen it(sigh).
Here they are, numbered but in no particular order:
Obi Wan vs. Darth Maul. It starts when the red force field opens and ends when, well, when one of them falls into the pit.
Cave Troll Sequence from Fellowship of the Ring: It starts when the drum beats the first time and ends when the Troll falls. Beatufiuly edited and even better in the extended version.
The 14 minute car chase sequence in the Matrix Reloaded. It starts when the siren outside sounds and ends when Neo flies in and saves Morpheus and the Key Maker.
Yu Shu Lien vs. Jen Yu in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Girl on girl action at its finest! I love this whole sequence!
Lobby Shooting Spree in the Matrix. Begins when they walk in, ends when they take the elevator.
Neo vs. 100 Agent Smiths in Matrix Reloaded. Some think it goes on too long, I think it’s perfect.
The sword fight at the end of the terrible Musketeers movie. Great sequence, miserable movie.
The entire final sequence in the factory in Drunken Master II.
Once Upon a Time in China: the entire last fight between Wong Fei Hung and, er, whatshisname. Especially the bit with the ladders, which I understand the most recent “Musketeer” film lifted.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: damn near all of them.
The One: Lawless versus Opening Sacrificial Cops, beginning with him diving out of the OSHA-required Huge Ventilation System, ending with him just breaking into a run as he leaves the garage, shooting someone casually without even looking.
Scanners: okay, this stretches the boundaries of what an “action sequence” is, but I still consider it one. The final psychic duel between Cameron Vale and Daryl Revok.
Last Man Standing: Yojim…er…I mean, John Smith blowing away about thirty mafia goons to rescue the bartender (who I’m utterly unable to divorce from portraying Larry of bros. Larry, Daryl and Daryl on “Newhart”). It’s like a lightgun arcade game put on screen.
Hard-Boiled: a) Three Minutes, Thirty Seconds. One continuous take of Tequila and Tony killing down several corridors and two hospital floors. b) Tequila and the Last Baby. For a minute or so, Chow Yun Fat is dancing; the beginning of life cradled in one arm; the ending of it in the other. Very nicely done.
Desperado: “I’m just…looking for…a man…who calls himself…” “Mata lo!” “Not yet!” The whole barfight scene from that moment until our Banderasized Mariachi staggers, kill-drunk, out the door with an “oh toilet bowl, I promise I’ll never kill another drop.”
The bank robbery shootout in Heat.
The car chase in Ronin.
The car chase/shootout in Matrix: Reloaded.
The car chase in Bullitt.
Best action sequence:
I really like the sniper sequence in Full Metal Jacket.
Well, it’s not really an “action scene” … but it does it involve blazing guns and burning buildings … The “Danny Boy” sequence from Miller’s Crossing.
Also, the airplane scene from North By Northwest.
Obviously… the opening sequence from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. How much fun was that!
Short but superb - the ‘New York’s Finest’ heist from The Usual Suspects.
I second the vote for most all the action sequences in Crouching Tiger.
The T.Rex attack from Jurassic Park.
Trinity’s escape at the start of The Matrix.
The attack on Pearl Harbour.
The opening scene from X-Men 2, with the blue-tailed guy breaking into the White House, was amazing.
The AT-AT attack from Empire Strikes Back.
Whichever Bond movie has him skiing off the cliff, jettisoning the skis and then opening a Union Jack parachute.
D-Day landing from Saving Private Ryan.
To go completely old school on you, the carousel scene in ** Strangers on a Train **. Comes as a great release after purely psychological suspense.
When I saw the thread title, I knew I had to nominate the hospital scene in Hard-Boiled. I see Drastic beat me to it.
The car chase scene in The French Connection is said to be one of the best chases of all time and I agree.
I’ll also second the shootout in Heat.
There were also some excellent action scenes in Black Hawk Down, but I watched it in ages so I can’t place them at the moment.
The fight in the trees and the girl-on-girlfight seem to get the most attention in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but for my money by far the best was Jen Yu rampaging through the restaurant, shouting “I am a dragon in the desert! I am the Invincible Sword Goddess!” I could watch that forever.
The ending fight in Fist of Legend, with Jet Li. The whole movie is great, but the finale, in which the two enemies keep showing off by switching to their opponent’s fighting style (Kung-fu vs. Kempo Karate), is just perfect. And long.
The freeway chase in The Matrix: Reloaded
The opening swordfight in the club in Blade - Cue the “Blade” music to the dad from Grounded for Life bursting into flames.
The highway chase in Terminator 2: Judgement Day - “Come with me if you want to live” to the Ahnold pointing his shotgun at the burning tire.
The Hummer/Ferarri chase in The Rock - “Can I have your hand on that Womak” to “Dude!..You trashed your Ferarri!” “It wasn’t mine.”
Opening battle in Gladiator
The first large scale battle in Braveheart
Bond dives after a free-falling airplane in Goldeneye
Special Agent Johnny Utah chases Bodhi out of an airplane sans parachutte in Point Break
The fight between Carlo and Sonny in The Godfather.
The final shootout in the graveyard in **The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly **. Maybe not a lot of action, but a lot of suspense leading up to the action.
The Marines Abortive Hostage Rescue mission in Aliens.
The fight between Ripley and the Alien Queen in Aliens.
The Car Chase in The French Connection.
The 10 minute fight in They Live.
Rendezvous, the entire movie.
[sub]If you’ve heard of it, you know what I’m talking about.[/sub]
The car chase in The Bourne Identity. The rest have already been mentioned, I think.
That would be “The Spy Who Loved Me,” one of the best Bond films made by Roger Moore. No trick photography was used for the stunt; that’s a real guy going over a 2,000 foot cliff and parachuting to the ground.
I’ll second the D-Day scene in “Saving Private Ryan.” It’s the only sequence I can think of that frightened me before it started. The sound of the crashing surf, the looks on the mens’ faces. . .
The opening fight in “Blade.” It ends when he leaves and literally everyone in the room is dead. (They were all vampires.) Oops! Looks like I’m seconding that as well. And, hey! I never noticed it was the same guy from “Grounded For Life”!
I’m gonna come from left field and say the gun kata scenes from Equilibrium.
The Neo v. Morpheus fight in The Matrix
“Don’t think you are, know you are”
The mental institution escape from Terminator 2
Love the T-1000’s theme
The first drunken fight in Legend of Drunken Master
“What do the skulls mean”
“[slurred]thats good stuff”
The Death Star run from Star Wars: A New Hope
“Use the force, luke”
The opening fight in Blade 2… I liked it more than the first one. The bit where the camera stays on while he jumps out of a building, does a flip, and lands 5 stories down… well, I wish they’d had some shots like that in Spider-man. Also, it’s got the only original bullet time effect since the original Matrix (and I’m including Reloaded) right after he lands.
The opening robbery sequence in Strange Days. Shot completely from one character’s POV and seemingly (though not actually) cutless, it’s a brilliant piece of work. The first time I saw the film, it just about knocked me out of my seat. It ends when the guys drops off of a roof.
And just for sheer over-the-top fun, the police car chase at the end of the original Blues Brothers… how many police cars got destroyed in that? Ending with Jake and Elwood at gunpoint by about 200 cops.