The first of my “scene based awards” will be the category for the year’s best fight scene. Pretty much any scene that focuses on melee combat between a limited number of individuals is eligible. The fights can involve knives, swords, or other weaponry, but this year the nominated scenes all seem to revolve around fights that only involve people’s hands and feet. The scenes will be judged not only for their fight choreography but for their overall impact.
- Batman Vs. Bane – The Dark Knight Rises: Hans Zimmer’s score is omnipresent in The Dark Knight Rises, but the music goes quiet for this scene in which batman finally meets his match. In this scene bane robs Batman of all his usual tricks and forces him into a straightforward fists fight. Needless to say it doesn’t go well for Mr. Wayne. Bane outmatches and humiliates batman and clears the way for his evil scheme.
- Jack Vs. Rakes – Lawless: Have you ever wanted to see Shia LaBeouf get the crap beaten out of him? If the answer is “yes” then I’ve got the perfect scene for you. In this scene the hilariously evil federal agent played by Guy Pierce shows a couple of hillbilly moonshiners who’s boss by savagely punching and stomping the youngest brother of the Bondurant clan. It’s not the most exciting scene here, but it’s certainly the most brutal.
- Freddie Vs. Guy in Department Store – The Master: Proving that this category is not just the domain of large scale action films, this early scene in The Master is both hilarious and expertly shot even if it isn’t exactly what you’d traditionally think of as a fight scene. Further establishing Freddie’s unpredictable volatility this scene shows him snap on a slightly rude guy at a department store. What really makes the scene memorable is the way Anderson films it in a long shot and seems to have the camera at just the right level from the ground.
- Rama and Andi vs. Mad Dog – The Raid: Picking a single fight scene from The Raid is hard because the whole film is almost a long series of mini-fights, but this climactic showdown seems like the logical choices. Judged strictly on fight choreography, this is clearly the best of these five fights. It’s an elaborate martial arts showdown between our two heroes and a vicious bastard who holds his own despite being outnumbered. It also ends with gloriously gory death.
- Silhouette Fight – Skyfall: Most of Skyfall’s derivative elements are stolen from The Dark Knight, but for this memorable moment Sam Mendes has looked toward the king of re-appropriation: Quentin Tarentino. Shot almost entirely in silhouette, this scene shows James Bond take down a rifle toting assassin in front of a window high up in a skyscraper. It’s a short scene which lasts less than a single minute, but it is a memorable moment that shows off Roger Deakin’s cinematography well.