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Crash! Boom! Pow! The 15 Best Action Sequences Of 2013

Crash! Boom! Pow! The 15 Best Action Sequences Of 2013

It seemed as though 2013 was positively clogged up with major “event” movies, each one bigger, louder, and more expensive than the last. Every week some new gargantuan thingummy was trying to one-up the previous week’s path of destruction. While many of these movies turned out to be numbing and dull, there were still a few that were actually pretty dazzling, or at the very least featured one truly outstanding sequence that caused you to drop your popcorn or spill your oversized soda in pure, unabashed delight. Almost every big movie in 2013 was marketed at 13-year-old boys; the very best of them made you actually feel like you were 13 again, if only momentarily.

So below, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen of the very best action sequences from the past year. Let it here be noted that these are not wholehearted endorsements of entire films because, frankly, a lot of these movies are flat-out lousy. It should also be noted with a raised eyebrow just how many of these sequences involve trains. Not only is a train fixation odd in the year 2013, but these are movies that routinely plumb the limitless bounds of imagination and technology and conjure forth things that audiences can oftentimes barely comprehend. So to spend all that money and energy and creativity on trains seems weirdly regressive and yet, if our choices are to be believed, still curiously effective. All aboard then, here’s fifteen of the year’s very best action sequences.

15. Ninja Mountain From “G.I. Joe: Retaliation
The decision to postpone “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” from its original release date was in order to add a 3D post-conversion which largely didn’t make a lick of difference. Except in the case of NINJA MOUNTAIN. There’s a bit of nonsense involving NINJA MOUNTAIN, where Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes meet and once again air out their grievances in mortal combat. But once a clan of ninjas absconds to the hilly peaks of NINJA MOUNTAIN, suddenly the IMAX scope of the film is no joke. A sly mix of CGI and practical effects, ninjas rappel down NINJA MOUNTAIN like they’re in a ballet, balancing on their toes as they glide in all directions by rope, engaging in a series of swordfights at butthole-tightening heights, each side trading a MacGuffin that allows for near-misses, breakneck stunt work and violent clashes that leave a few masked marauders dead and buried in the snow. Perhaps the reason they call it NINJA MOUNTAIN (God, savor it) is because this mountain is built on the corpses of ninjas that have tumbled from their midair battles. Even in a film that boasted the muscle power of both Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, the sight of multi-colored combatants bouncing off the side of snowy mountaintops remained a major highlight to an otherwise forgettable movie. Say it one more time and let it wash over you pleasantly: NINJA MOUNTAIN.

14. Kryptonian Prologue from “Man of Steel”
Man Of Steel” is largely a terrible, inert, ridiculous mess. But man, does Russell Crowe work his magic like a boss. Though his performance is given underneath ridiculous space armor and through heavy-lidded, barely-awake eyes, he manages to sell the gravitas of a crumbling Krypton as an apocalyptic scenario as well reminding audiences that his son Kal-El isn’t the only superhero up in this joint. He dispenses with pleasantries against a couple of Kryptonian thugs in a fist-fight before taking it to laser-town against Zod (Michael Shannon) and his minions, but his greatest moment is whistling to his Kryptonian space-bird to make one final daring flight, a trip to grab a piece of the Kryptonian codex that preserves their world’s genetic code. Crowe gets to run, jump, punch, shoot and swim in this sequence, but you feel the weight in a small moment when his flying dragon is harmed and barely staying afloat. As it absorbs near fatal wounds, Crowe’s Jor-El reassures the beast that it will be alright with a paternal pat that suggests these two have been on many adventures together, and inevitably it was going to end with one sacrificing himself for the other. Amongst Superman films, we’ve never really seen the destruction of Krypton before, and Zack Snyder’s collapsing vision convincingly portrays Jor-El as the planet’s last true living hero. Or at least the last one that isn’t a baby.

13. The Drone Attack from “Oblivion
Joseph Kosinski is a young director whose films don’t resemble traditional motion pictures as much as elaborate, multimillion-dollar video installations. His first film, “TRON Legacy,” was set in a moody computerized world lined with glittery neon piping. So few things actually happened that the stark images, accompanied by Daft Punk‘s atmospheric electronic score, very nearly hypnotized you. For his second film, Kosinksi returned to science fiction, this time with the more naturalistic “Oblivion.” The filmmaker had a better grip on the action this time, while still creating immaculate visuals that betray Kosinski’s architectural background. (It also helps that he got a spiky performance out of Tom Cruise in the lead role of a mechanic working to clean up a post-human earth.) One of the very best examples of Kosinski’s newfound action set-piece confidence is a sequence where one of the “drones,” (artificially intelligent spheres with major firepower and a willingness to turn enemies into ash), infiltrates the headquarters of the “resistance.” One of these drones gets in and starts laying waste to people, moving through and up levels in what appears to be an abandoned mine. Watching it unfold is nothing short of eye-popping, the fact that it was almost entirely computer-generated is even more startling. The way that Kosinski moves the camera, virtual or otherwise, is noteworthy for its grace and technical precision. Unlike similar directors, who do not have his same background, Kosinski is content to let the scene play out wide, to maximize both the visceral and emotional impact.

12. The Bullet Train Fight From “Wolverine”
Action sequences are sometimes the most effective when they spring, unexpected and organically, from the narrative flow of the movie, popping up to entertain in a way that you couldn’t quite have guessed even five minutes before. This was how it was with the bullet train chase in James Mangold‘s uneven but perhaps underrated “The Wolverine.” Following a big shoot-out at an old acquaintance’s funeral, Wolverine finds himself (and the old man’s daughter) in the crosshairs of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Boarding a high-speed bullet train won’t even slow down their pursuit, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, killing it once again) has to take out a few of them on top of the train. The sequence acts as an effective homage to a half dozen Alfred Hitchcock thrillers as well as a similarly staged sequence from Brian De Palma‘s “Mission: Impossible,” while adding its own unique, high-tech spin. Maybe the best moment in the entire sequence is when Wolverine lets go of the train completely, extending his deadly metallic claws, and stabbing into one of the nameless goons, an appropriately cinematic spin on the “fastball special” from the comic book (in which Wolverine is usually hurled towards an opponent by another, super-strong mutant comrade). While occasionally the green-screen work does look a little phony, the sequence is wittily conceived and executed, with some wonderful, humorous little moments (like when one of the gangsters almost makes it to a skylight right behind the young girl, but she doesn’t notice because she’s listening to her headphones). If only Mangold could have shown the same amount of restraint and visual panache for that overcooked finale…

11. The Fight in The Beehive – “The World’s End” 
A funny thing happened between Edgar Wright shooting “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” the second and third films in the Cornetto trilogy. The British director went to the U.S, teamed up with “The Matrix” cinematographer Bill Pope and Jackie Chan collaborator Brad Allan, and made “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” becoming one of the worlds best directors of fight sequences in the process. It’s an immediate and obvious boon to “The World’s End,” which has three cracking, splattery fight sequences that pit the bar-crawlers against the ‘smashy-smashy-egg-men,’ as Nick Frost‘s Andy so memorably christens them. All three fights are instant classics, but as much as we love the one-take close proximity bathroom brawl that kicks things off, and the briefer throwdown with the twins in a smoking garden, it’s the confrontation in The Beehive that’s the biggest and the best. Realizing that one of their own has been turned by the Network, fronted by Pierce Brosnan‘s dope-smoking teacher, Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Sam (Rosamund Pike) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) make a last stand against the blanks, and it’s breathtaking, dense stuff. Each character fights in a way that’s entirely reflective of their character (i.e. Marsan pretty much runs and hides, former rugby star Frost is a hulking brawler), but the fragility of their adversaries lets the action become heightened and graceful without turning them into superheroes (and as ever, it makes a huge difference that it’s clearly mostly the actors themselves getting stuck in). Wright’s fluid camerawork gives the action space to breath without losing punch, and it’s just crammed with memorable gags and detail, so much so that you’ll miss much of it the first time around—Pegg’s attempt to finish his drink while fending off foes is a meld of Jackie Chan and a great Looney Tunes cartoon, and a gorgeous bit of physical comedy amidst the carnage. It’s a few minutes in which a group of drunk middle-aged British men became the most memorable action heroes of the year. 

10. The Train Chase From “The Lone Ranger”
Up until the last thirty minutes or so, Gore Verbinski‘s “The Lone Ranger” was, at the very least, an incredibly strange, darkly comic, and hugely expensive western that had moments of intermittent beauty and excitement. And then the last thirty minutes starts and it becomes near-brilliant for the simple reason that the last thirty minutes of the movie is occupied by the train chase. The movie is built around a mystery involving a railroad baron, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, a reptilian bandit, cursed silver and a tribe of Native Americans, and so it makes sense that the climax would take place on the rails (after a fictionalized version of the golden spike ceremony that cemented the real railroad’s transcontinental dominance). Tonto (Johnny Depp) has stolen one train, The Constitution, full of silver, while the villains (led by Tom Wilkinson) board the Jupiter, a swifter passenger train, and give chase. Verbinski constructed the chase with the full intention of creating the “greatest train chase ever,” and he’s succeeded: between the trains, which crisscross on zigzagging tracks, the fact that the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) rides a horse on top of one of the trains (and then has a gunfight between the carriages), and then that the whole thing comes to a head on a dynamited bridge… Well, it’s kind of one of those things that has to be seen to be believed. It’s exciting, it’s funny, it’s gorgeously staged (with major help from Industrial Light & Magic), and it’s so good that even those who think the film is utterly worthless have to begrudgingly agree that its last thirty minutes are something quite special.

9. The Israeli Invasion From “World War Z”
Like so many great action sequences, this heart-stopping moment from “World War Z” is constructed around a sly joke: that in this post-zombie world, Israel has remained uncontaminated because they have built a towering concrete wall to keep out the walking dead. (A similar idea is explored in “Pacific Rim,” only there it’s given the name the Wall of Life and used to keep out giant scary monsters, without the satirical edge.) Brad Pitt, as the former UN official brought in to try and untangle the mystery of how, exactly, the outbreak got started, is being taken around and told how the wall works. Israel knows a thing or two about walls, the character notes. As this is going on, there’s some kind of public prayer about to begin. The feedback from the microphone that is being used sets off the zombies outside of the wall, who start to climb up one another like a giant, horrifying nest of army ants. Pretty soon they’re over the top of the supposedly impenetrable wall and all hell is breaking loose (even more hell breaks loose on the unrated Blu-ray edition—yum!) Even though the visual effects in this sequence, mostly handled by the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic, sometimes look unrealistic, it doesn’t really matter. There’s a feeling of overwhelming, claustrophobic dread and it’s easily one of the scariest, most apocalyptic moments in the entire film. 

8. The Firefight from “Lone Survivor”
Peter Berg’s often jingoistic paean to supporting our troops is an interesting paradox. It’s not very good and not much of a movie (there’s barely a story other than capturing an event), but it’s one of the most intense movie experiences of the year. As our own Gabe Toro said, making us laugh around the water cooler, “It’s literally like being shot at for two hours”—facetious and yet totally accurate. In fact “Lone Survivor”‘s action sequence, “the firefight” as we call it, is essentially 75% of the movie. It feels like one 2-hour action sequence and it is absolutely grueling.  As elite SEAL Team members, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch go on a mission to kill a notorious Taliban leader, they are found on a ridge by a Taliban army and are shot to pieces and cut to shreds. It is brutal. The soldiers are pummeled beyond recognition, shot to bits, and TWICE have to jump off rocky cliffs to escape their foes (only to get pinned down again). It’s arguable whether the action sequences in “Lone Survivor” are elegantly shot in the way that one usually thinks of a graceful action sequence composed by say, Michael Bay. But what’s undeniable, regardless of whether you like the movie or not (and many of us didn’t), is just how excruciatingly torturous it is to watch and experience. Credit Berg, his editors, sound designers and team for making you feel like you to should run for your life and scurry for cover as bullets whiz by your face.  Not hyperbole: pound for pound for intensity, this long action sequence in “Lone Survivor” rivals the storming of Normandy in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” though obviously the main difference is that Spielberg’s film is a modern-day classic and Berg’s won’t be making any non-Red State-r’s top 10, except maybe in a list like this. It’s not particularly pretty to watch and some might argue it’s overlong, but no one said a real firefight was a walk in the park.

7. The Hong Kong Attack From “Pacific Rim”
Guillermo del Toro‘s candy-colored monster mash “Pacific Rim” is a beautiful pop art smorgasbord and its riotous centerpiece is a prolonged sequence known as the Hong Kong attack. There are multiple “prongs” to the sequence—the initial attack against the giant robotic “jaegers” (two are destroyed, one is incapacitated), a brief sea battle and then a much longer land battle (through the urban canyons of the city itself). Improbably, it ends with an air battle, after fearsome kaiju Otachi sprouts wings. All the while, one of the movie’s main characters, played by Charlie Day, is being stalked by the kaiju. There’s so much wild visual inventiveness and playfully choreographed destruction packed into this sequence that it probably made Michael Bay want to hang himself with a noose made of million dollar bills. Del Toro knows a thing or two about giant monster movies, and stages the action as both a loving homage and an impossibly next level feat, like a Godzilla movie amplified and adrenalized and multiplied a thousand fold. In terms of how the sequence is “shot,” even though it’s mostly computer generated, del Toro has kept it pretty square – not only are there no impossible angles, but del Toro keeps cutting back to the same angles, like there are actual cameras in specific locations as these robots and monsters are marauding around Hong Kong (he also uses the helicopters tracking these beasts as makeshift spotlights). In the special features on the home video release of “Pacific Rim,” del Toro talks about how visual effects are a lie and to make a really convincing lie you have to add detail. He and the illustrators and animators at Industrial Light & Magic have created a lie so convincing, packed with so much insane detail, you’d swear it was real.

6. The Satellite Avalanche From “Gravity”
It could be argued that all of “Gravity” is one extended action set piece, one that builds and plateaus like a piece of classical music. But if there’s one action movie moment that sets the entire thing in motion, it’s the “satellite avalanche” that kicks off the film. Apparently triggered by a missile the Russians have sent up to destroy a spy satellite, it’s a theoretical event that scientists believe could actually happen (and cripple telecommunications for some ungodly percentage of the earth’s population). Alfonso Cuaron‘s holy-shit, you-are-there approach to shooting “Gravity,” alongside Steven Price‘s momentous score, builds the tension in a singularly unbearable way and the fact that our protagonist (played with gusto by Sandra Bullock) isn’t some hot shot astronaut but a relatively inexperienced civilian, only adds to the sense of dread that hovers in all three dimensions like derelict space junk. (Unlike most of the movies on this list, which were hastily post-converted to 3D to milk a few extra bucks out of the movie-going public, the 3D in “Gravity” adds to the experience, tremendously.) The satellite avalanche sequence also acts as a bold opening statement, letting the audience know that anything can (and indeed will) happen, so don’t get too comfortable. On that count, “Gravity” definitely follows through.

5. The Final Shootout From “Captain Phillips
Calling this brief moment at the end of “Captain Phillips” an action sequence is generous, but there’s an obvious, punchy power to it that puts it above sequences that last ten times as long and expend ten times the amount of firepower. It’s the moment when the NAVY Seals (led by Max Martini) have to make the decision to take out the Somali pirates who have taken Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) hostage in a small lifeboat. There’s a flash of gunfire and then all three of the pirates are dead and Hanks is covered in their blood. It’s not a triumphant moment, exactly. Paul Greengrass doesn’t linger on the men, exploding into bits under American fire, and it is hard to imagine anyone feeling happy when it happened (many times you’ll wish that there was some other solution, any other solution). But it is a brilliant moment of release, something that we’d been waiting for since the movie began, practically. The sequence is followed by concussive silence and Hanks’ shocked expression. He doesn’t have to say anything; his face says it all.

4. The Runway Chase From “Fast & Furious 6”
The Fast and the Furious” franchise has never been known for its, ahem, attention to the laws of physics, nature, and in this case, man-made structures. Just when you thought Vin Diesel launching himself off a speeding car and over a freeway overpass to catch Michelle Rodriguez midair after she was thrown off a speeding TANK was the most insane thing you saw in “Fast & Furious 6,” director Justin Lin goes and throws the plane runway sequence in as the grand, operatic, totally batshit climax to the film. First of all, many mathematically inclined movie fans calculated that based on the assumed speed of the plane and length of the 12 and half minute sequence, this particular runway would be 27 miles long, which is oh, 25 miles longer than the longest plane runway in existence. Okay, now that we’ve got that suspension of disbelief out of the way, let’s get to the facts at hand in this scene, which is the equivalent of an action sequence Turducken. Inside the plane, The Rock and Danish body builder Kim Kold (who is excellent in a dramatic performance in 2012’s “Teddy Bear,” by the way, though he’s demonstrating a different set of skills in this movie, namely the face punching kind) are just beating the everloving shit out of each other. It’s quite satisfying to see The Rock pick on someone his own size, and in fact, Kold manages to out-hulk the insanely proportioned Mr. Johnson. Also, Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano are kicking each other’s asses, which, very nice, can we please have 90 minutes of that, thank you. Outside on the runway, the rest of the F&F (Tyrese, Paul Walker, Ludacris, Sun Kang, Gal Gadot) crew are speeding alongside, shooting giant rocket launcher arrows at the plane in order to prevent it from taking off (honestly, who can even remember what’s inside the plane—the bad guys and whatever they’re trying to steal, a microchip or something) Paul Walker saves kidnapped Jordana Brewster from inside the plane by driving one of the cars in cargo out of the open door. We’ve got cars dangling off the wings, cars driving in and out of the damn plane, cars outside, and the pilots who are totally freaking out, and Luke Evans yelling at them to take off. THE PLANE IS STILL SPEEDING DOWN THE RUNWAY AND TRYING TO TAKE OFF. Sun Kang is fighting a bad guy on the outside of the plane, and his girlfriend, Gal Gadot pulls out a gun to save him, but also sacrifices herself in the process. Sad :(. The plane crashes and Vin Diesel drives a sports car through the nose of the exploding plane, as he should, because this is a goddamn “Fast and Furious” movie and if you were expecting anything else, well then… you are dumb. Family, cars, and Coronas, that’s what this is all about. Also explosions. And awesomeness. 

3. The Barrel Ride From “The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug”
The cynic in us half believes the the barrel ride sequence in “The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug” was designed to produce a theme park ride down the road (keep an eye on this one, we won’t be shocked if it happens; Warner Bros. & Disney deals are already rumored). After all, the sequence is one rollicking, slam bam waterslide extravaganza built as a thrilling adventure ride. It begins with formerly incarcerated Bilbo and the band of thirteen dwarves escaping the Elvenking’s Great Hall in wine barrels floating down the Forest River until they hit Lake Town. But not only are they rushing down a perilous river akin to extreme white-water rafting, a pack of Orcs are waiting to pick them midstream. Oh, and then there are the angry Woodland elves led by Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), miffed that the dwarves have escaped but even more vexed to find evil orcs brazen enough to enter the realm of Mirkwood. So 14 members of this new fellowship whooshing downstream at dangerous velocity, murderous Orcs playing fish in a barrel and peeved elves trying to cut them off at the pass. It goes by so lightning fast that it’s hard to tell what’s animated and what’s real but it doesn’t make a lick of difference really. Balletic and turbulent, the camera pirouettes downstream as elves pull off their astonishing action aerobatics, killing off orcs a dime a dozen in the most insanely absurd and yet completely entertaining manner.  Even the Dwarves get in on the action, fighting back with timely precision as they tumble down the river. The speed, pace and tension of this dance is really breathtaking and when Legolas begins to fight the Orcs while balancing on the heads of dwarves racing downwards, it’s the pièce de résistance of action chutzpah. Whatever your thoughts are on “The Desolation of Smaug”’s  middle chapter (and our review wasn’t that kind), the film’s center set piece barrel sequence is virtuosic in its delivery of roller coaster-like thrills, tumult and ruckus. Conceived of to essentially compel audiences to high-five and cheer at its conclusion, the impressive sequence does just that.

2. The World’s Longest Train in “The Grandmaster”
If overall “The Grandmaster” proved one of our bigger disappointments this year, then there are scenes and moments in it that kept on bringing us back in, and one of those has to be the fight between Zhang Ziyi’s Gong Er and her father’s old protégé/nemesis that takes place on a snowy train platform at night, as a neverending train whistles past. Director Wong Kar Wai is clearly a fan of making the very air visible in some way—elsewhere in the film sheets of rain shear up from flailing limbs, or tiny puffs of dust are sent up with every movement—and here is no exception, with the snow that begins to fall giving an added hazy beauty to the balletic movements that make up the fight, and tiny drifts of it mounting up underfoot as the two dance round each other, nimble as cats. But there is also something deeply anti-action about this sequence (and many of the others); the beauty of Zhang’s movements, for example, her emotionless face and the swish of her clothing, her feet stepping lightly through the snow are all fetishized to the point that it seems clear that the thrust of Wong and Philippe Le Sourd’s cinematography is not to communicate force, but grace. And a sense of near-airlessness, of this fight existing in the idea of a train station rather than a physical space, and also of it taking place somehow outside time (it is shown in flashback, after all) is compounded by the unusual use of sound, which occasionally dials the ambient noise down to silence, or effects a kind of aural close up on a tiny slo-mo detail—a cuff ruffling, a bolt working itself free, a foot sliding to a stop in snow. In actual technique, there may not be a huge amount to choose between it and several of the other fights Wong stages in the course of the film, but this is Gong Er’s biggest moment, and if you are going to render your action sequences as tone poems, Zhang Ziyi, as a muse, is perfection itself.

1. The Free Fall From “Iron Man 3”
For some reason, in the weeks that followed the release of the exemplary “Iron Man 3,” it got the reputation that it was somehow “light on action.” Maybe because Shane Black and Drew Pearce‘s script actually had people talking a lot and solving mysteries instead of simply blasting beams of light at each other? (There was plenty of beam-blasting, too.) Unlike in most superhero movies the action really meant something here— each set piece felt hefty and momentous. The best of these sequences was, of course, an attack on Air Force One that culminated in a group of passengers being tossed out of the crippled aircraft. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is faced with an impossible problem: wrangling all of these falling survivors to safety, even though his suit can only carry so many. The solution: to daisy-chain the survivors together (he zaps them to make sure they hold) and drop them into the ocean. What makes the sequence so much fun is how much of it was practical – there were really skydivers jumping out of planes for this thing – and how director Black always has a way of upping the ante and letting you know how real the stakes are (the best shot is one from below, where you watch the remains of Air Force One burst into flame and start to plummet downwards). Black, who also is a huge fan of smart-ass twists, also has the sense to end the sequence on a wonderful shock—as Iron Man starts to fly away from the happy (if somewhat wet) survivors, he’s hit by a train (again! a train!) and it’s revealed that he was never in the suit, for the entire sequence, but was controlling his Iron Man get-up from afar. So many emotions! At the end of it, though, you’re left with a smile on your face, which is really what all of the best action sequences should do. This is pure movie magic, breathlessly told and wonderfully fun. Also: when Disney finally gets around to putting the superheroes in the theme parks… they have a pretty good place to start, at least after construction on Thor’s Asgardian Ale House is complete.

Additionally, there were some awesome action sequences this year that we simply didn’t have time to squeeze into our list. The Chinese restaurant hold up in “Spring Breakers,” conveyed simply with a single, super-long shot, not only set the tone and character but was an ominous foreshadow of the chaos to come. While something of a retread of the original film’s platform jump, the ship-to-ship sequence from “Star Trek Into Darkness” remains one of the film’s most noteworthy highlights. The axe fight in “Bullet to the Head” enlivened a mostly dreary Sylvester Stallone vehicle, while the cornfield chase in “The Last Stand,” starring Sly’s BFF Arnold Schwarzenegger was easily the best part of that movie, and one of the only indications that South Korean visionary Kim Ji-woon actually directed this movie. Keanu Reeves and Chen Hu facing off at the end of “Man of Tai Chi” was a whole lot of fun. And the Ryan Gosling beat-down in “Only God Forgives” is notable, if only for the amount of blood spilled and the fact that Gosling, easily one of the biggest (and prettiest) actors in Hollywood, allowed himself to get beaten to a bloody pulp.  — Drew Taylor, Katie Walsh, Gabe Toro, Oliver Lyttleton, Rodrigo Perez, Jessica Kiang

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Comments

Kevin

What the F*ck !! Come on if you gonna put Iron Man 3 on this list put the last action sequences between the suits and the extremis-persons. And with that scene it shouldn't be on the first place. And I believe that Man of Steel shoud have 2 of 3 action sequences on this list. (Krypton, Smallville and Metropolis). The Wolverine scene that you have chosen should be replaced with "Wolverine vs Ninjas" especiallyon the extended version. That scene was just awesome.

Gunjan

I could not take this list seriously the moment I realised that the Smallville action sequence from Man of Steel had not been included.

Jon

I think it's insane to exclude Johnnie To's "Drug War" from this list. To might be the best action director around.

joseph

Those are fantastic movies

ET

"fatal wombs" lol

cineman

The mediocrity of most of that list really highlights what a disappointing year it's been

Grego

I suggest anyone who finds The Grandmaster disappointing should watch it a second, and then a third time. And also see every version of it. I know the need to see every version of it (Hong Kong 130 minute cut, Internation 123 minute cut, and US 108 minute cut) by definition may prove that any single version is a disappointment, but I believe this movie is an exception. Wong edited the Hong Kong cut based on TIME, and the US cut based on CHARACTER, and once you see both its impossible to not have one in your head while you're watching the other. There are a few sequences in the US cut that, if inserted into the Hong Kong or International cut, would make for a perfect film. I'm still holding out hope for an edit resembling Wong's original 4- hour cut. The film is a masterpiece in some (possibly as yet unseen) form. At any rate, it's the most underrated movie of the year and the one that I've found most repays repeat viewings.

Alberto

Sorry, but The Grandmaster –just focusing on the films I found, or wanted to find, relevant in the list– didn't make it as a movie or in the action scenes, that remembered me of Alice In Chain's "Man In The Box" video, chopped, blurred, kitsch and with a 4 fps slow mo with an escenario made up of overtly drawn CGI.

swell

Yeah, not bad… The second fight in World's End and 2 or 3 sequences from Gravity were the standouts for me. Would have liked to see some love for the Thor finale. Felt fresh and relatively inventive but nothing was exactly The Raid or anything this year…

Jake17

Am I the only one who thought that sequence in Iron Man 3 was terrible? Then again, I was so bored with the film at that point, it was hard for me to care.

Kevin Klawitter

"Man of Steel" is a 'a terrible, inert, ridiculous mess', but "The Lone Ranger" is 'incredibly strange, darkly comic, and hugely expensive western that had moments of intermittent beauty and excitement'? MoS wasn't perfect or even great by any means, but it was miles better than "The Lone Ranger" (even factoring in the fantastic final set piece).

I know you guys pride yourselves on being self-consciously against the grain, but this is seriously trying too hard.

NewYorker

my 10 favorite movies with cool action sequences are defently(don't feel like to name the action sequence lol)
1-Fast and Furious 6
2-Man Of Steel
3-Gangster Squad
4-Iron Man 3
5-G.I. Joe: Retaliation
6-Bullet To The Head
7-2 Guns
8-Oldboy
9-Empire State
10-The Wolverine

David I.

Where's/why no Man of Steel? :/

Rick

I feel like the Iron Man series in general has always been kind of light on action.

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