Broken bones, punctured lungs, and sometimes even tragic fatalities — aside from the astronomical financial cost that is incurred, this is frequently the price that is paid to capture those perfect, iconic action shots, that regularly determine a film’s fate as a sensation or a flop.
Leaping from rooftops, cranes, and skyscraper windows before miraculously landing unscathed on a moving car, to inexplicably, and single-handedly taking on a small army of armed survivors, we’ve seen all manner of enthralling action sequences that have our, hearts thumping and our mouths agape.
The 2010s was a golden decade for the action film; the advancements in CGI and special effects meant no stone was left unturned in the pursuit of cinematic perfection. Let’s take a look at the best action scenes of the decade…
Skyfall – Motorcycle Chase
Skyfall was Sam Mendes’ first outing as the director of the James Bond franchise, and in this record-breaking, box-office smash-hit he delivers one of the most defining, and jaw-dropping scenes in its decorated 60-year history. Set Against the backdrop of the market stalls, and hustle and bustle of Istanbul, Bond (Daniel Craig) is involved in a motorcycle race of epic proportions.
In hot pursuit of a mercenary, the British Spy races through markets, down dark alleys, and across rooftops before ending atop a moving train. These events have to go down as not just some of the grandest in the franchise’s ultra-competitive history, but Also as one of the most noteworthy in terms of stunt-work, and production.
Baby Driver – Opening Getaway Scene
Baby Driver is a movie lauded for its impeccable soundtrack needle drops, from Harlem Shuffle and T-Rex’s Deborahto The Commodores’ Easy. They are all notable classics that pop up in the film, yet it’s in the form of Bell bottoms by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion that we truly get our most memorable soundtrack accompaniment.
The song blares over the film’s maiden getaway chase, as the driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort), and a trio of armed robbers evade police in a series of breathtaking stunts and friction-defying maneuvers. Edgar Wright’s film has its foot firmer on the acce , and in this thrilling opening segment, it most definitely seizes our amazement.
Kingsman: The Secret Service – Church Scene
“Manners maketh man,” Harry Hart (Colin Firth) exclaims to Eggsy (Taron Egerton), before massacring a right-wing religious cult in Kingsman: The Secret ServiceStraight out of the James Bond-meets-Quentin Tarantino playbook, this slick, seamless all-out action scene combines the brilliance of CGI with an impressively acrobatic stunt display.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Home Invasion Scene
A home invasion by murderous hippies would be a petrifying experience at the best of times, let alone during the Manson-era, and especially while tripping balls after smoking an acid-infused cigarette.
In Once Upon a Time in HollywoodCliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has to fight off armed intruders with the help of his dog, Brandy, and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) who seizes the opportunity to use his lethal, film-prop flamethrower in arguably one of the funniest, most mesmerizing, and transfixing cinematic moments since the millennium. This scene embodies Quentin Tarantino’s penchant for brutality, blood, guts, and comic-strip-like action.
You Were Never Really Here – Hammer Fight Scene
In one of the most low-key, and unique action sequences of the decade, was in Lynne Ramsay’s neo-noir crime drama, You Were Never Really HereThe film won two awards at Cannes, as well as receiving a phenomenal critical reception, and follows a war veteran haunted by PTSD, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), who is recruited to locate a missing teenage girl.
Captured in CCTV-style footage, we watch Joe arrive at the trafficker’s house where Nina is thought to be kept wielding only a hammer. The action sequence unfolds in near-silence, hearing only the muffled groans of those being attacked, and the tiny, atmospheric backing track of Angel Baby.
Dunkirk – Air Raid
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk does a simply remarkable job of portraying the terrifying nature of the largest wartime evacuation in living memory. Waiting like sitting ducks for some form of salvation, in what must have already been an unimaginably horrific ordeal, half a million allied soldiers andrefters weed on the le beaches of Dunkirk as the German assault closed in.
The palpable tension in Nolan’s World War II movie builds through a three-way perspective from land, sea, and air in the opening minutes, as the eerie, almost deathly silence on the beaches is disturbed by the German fighter jet engines approaching overhead. the disconcerting peace eventually perturbed by frantically fleeing soldiers and the intrusive sound of bombs landing on the beach, Dunkirk’s The illustration of the fear instilled in the soldiers is almost tangible.
Parasite – The Birthday Massacre
Stealing the show at the 2020 Academy Awards, Bong Joon-ho’s gripping thriller Parasite claimed four of the most prestigious accolades in film. The surprising hit follows the impoverished Kim family, who lives what can only be described as a parasitic double-life, whereby they live off the wealth of the Park family, though they don’t realize the deeper truths beneath the family’s artifice.
In one of the final scenes of the movie, the Park family is hosting a birthday party, when the previously trapped Geun-Sae (Park Myung-hoon) escapes from the underground bunker and subsequently attacks the Kims with a kitchen knife. It’s a truly tantalizing climax to a flawless South Korean classic.
Get Out – The Escape and Revenge
Jordan Peele’s self-aware social commentary, get outwas considered one of the best movies of the 2010s for many. In the film, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is trapped in his awful, psychotic in-law’s house before subsequently escaping.
In one of the most scintillating, suspense-filled scenes of the 2010s, a traumatized Chris has to overcome the entire Armitage family, one by one using any means necessary from stag horns to switchblade knives.
Inception – Spinning Hallway
A second entry for Christopher Nolan, and it is evident the Memento director doesn’t cut corners during the filmmaking process. In this flawlessly constructed piece of set design during Inceptionthe hallway in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Arthur does battle with the guards of Robert’s dream is essentially gravity-defying. Not only is the action sequence captivating in nature, but the avant-garde design from the BAFTA-winning Guy Hendrix Dyas is a stand-alone stroke of genius.
Mad Max: Fury Road
With Mad Max: The Wasteland and Furiosa set for release in 2023 and 2024, respectively, it will have been the best part of a decade since George Miller’s previous barnstorming edition to the franchise with Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s totally fine; it took three decades for Miller to follow up on the Mad Max films, and the result was seriously one of the greatest action films of all time.
The post-apocalyptic action drama plays host to a whole string of sublimely executed set-plays, including the exhilarating sand storm scene, where Max is chained to the front of the truck in arguably the most terrifying scene of the entire showing.