In praise of the train fight sequence, a timeless action film classic

In praise of the train fight sequence, a timeless action film classic ...

The possibilities are endless when it comes to producing an excellent action film. Outlandish stunts, incredible heists, huge explosions... the sky is the limit. But there's one strategy to guarantee a good time for audiences: staging an action sequence on a train.

Trains are just the norm, right? In addition to being an outstanding form of mass transportation, they just look stylish inside and out (or on the top, if you are an action figure).

What better time than now that Brad Pitt's new action film Bullet Train is out in cinemas? With Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh's death-defying stunts and films entirely inspired by trains like Train to Busan (and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, which we like but unfortunately did not receive the nomination due to a lack of readily available clips), here are some of our favorite train action sequences.


Michelle Yeoh leaps a motorcycle off a hill and lands it on a moving train. According to Yeoh, Jackie Chan was so enthralled by the stunt that he felt the need to one-up her by landing on the train via parachutes. The end: This scene

The Wolverine

As far as solo Wolverine projects go, Logan may get more attention, but (hot take) I prefer The Wolverine. It's the rare modern superhero project with a contained conflict (rather than an apocalyptic one) and, most importantly to this list, the assault on a bullet train.

The Raid 2

The Raid series transformed the action world, emphasising brutal action that is intuitive to comprehend visually. The second movies are significantly more spread out in narrative approach and location. In this standout scene (spliced together by a YouTuber, you only see moments from this sequence), Julie Estelles Hammer Girl absolutely wrecks some dudes on a train with her signature hammers.

Mission: Impossible

In Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise hung himself on top of a train in a spectacular scene with Jon Voight and Jean Reno. The stunt was a mix of practical and CG effects. PV

Toy Story 3

The opening scene in Toy Story 3 has all of the elements of a legendary train fight sequence: stakes, suspense, orphans, nunchucks, backflips, etc. Truly, there is nothing more powerful than a child's imagination. Toussaint Egan

Train to Busan

This is one of those films on here that technically most of its running time might be eligible. However, we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to highlight Ma Dong-seok beating down some zombies with taped-up forearms.


If there's one thing you know about Wanted, it's probably that bullets curve in it. One of the coolest examples occurred in this train sequence, where James McAvoy curves a bullet around a civilian to strike another bullet that was surely going to strike her. Angelina Jolie crashes a car into a train also, if youre into that sort of thing.


Speed may be well-known for its switch to public transportation, but a train does a lot of the talking; after all, she's been held captive on a train by Dennis Hopper, while Keanu Reeves reaches the top of the train. We get an all-out brawl on the moving train, which culminates in a tragic death for a great 90s film villain.


In a film like Snowpiercer, where there is almost entirely of action inside a train, the blackout sequence stands out as one of the films finest, as the audience witness Curtis' (Chris Evans) rebellion being destroyed by a group of masked machete-wielding soldiers wearing night vision glasses. The final scene, which depicts a small boy hoisting a flaming torch like an Olympic marathon runner, is one of the most moving and unforgettable scenes in the entire film.

The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections are no exception; start with an RPG missile hitting a hole in a Japanese bullet train, then become a swarm of possessed blue-pills as Neo tries to regain his composure.

Spider-Man 2

It's not just one of the greatest Spider-Man movies ever made, it's one of the greatest superhero films of all time, full stop. Be it Tobey Maguire's mature portrayal of the superpowered web-slinger as he struggles with his duties as a vigilante, Alfred Molina's stunning and terrifying portrayal of a noble scientist and mentor twisted by grief and an accident, or director Sam Raimi's skilled emotional storytelling and craftsmanship, let's focus more on the train fight between

Theres so much to enjoy, like Spidey shooting like a torpedo through the grating of a tunnel overpass, the stunning moment where Peter and Doc Ock trade blows while standing on the side of a train carriage as it barrels ahead, or the shot of Spider-Man maneuvering through traffic before hoisting himself across rooftops while saving civilians. It's all of the above and more.

John Wick: Chapter 2

Wick faces off against Cassian, a Commons assassin in an intricately choreographed close-quarters knife fight from the John Wick franchise.

Dhoom 2

Hrithik Roshan plays the protagonist Mr. A as Queen Elizabeth, and Mr. A as Queen Elizabeth, complete with a Mission: Impossible-style face mask reveal. He also parachutes onto a train and sandboards behind it. A+, no notes.

The Legend of Drunken Master

What if you thought there would only be one Jackie Chan scene on this list? Think again.

This huge fight sequence begins on a train, then briefly rises on top of it, then moves under the train and eventually away from it.

Both this film and the 1978 Drunken Master are stone-cold classics filled to the brim with delightful sequences, like this one. PV

Taking of Pelham 123

This is another one of those movies that could pass most of its running time (and thats true for both the 1974 and 2009 versions) because 1. it is the train that rules and 2. I love Tony Scott's late-period acting. This is an excellent example of the sort of tension he was able to create.


This excellent blue-collar thriller set almost entirely on a train continues our journey down the late-period Tony Scott track (train reference). A veteran railroad engineer (Denzel Washington) must work with a rookie conductor (Chris Pine) in one of the directors' best films and one of the best thrillers you can watch at home.

The Harder They Fall

The train shootout in Jeymes Samuels The Harder They Fall is brief, but its execution is excellent all the same. Lakeith Stanfields theatrical introduction as Cherokee Bill, along with some amazing knife play, steals the show before a single shot is fired.


Scott Lang fights Yellowjacket on a miniature train set in this okay action comedy sequence from the first Ant-Man film. The final cut to an angle that demonstrates the actual scale of the encounter is a lovely ending. PV

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil) directed this Korean Western that features Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun as he navigates the compartments. PV

Fast Five

This sequence is from one of the more powerful entries in the Fast & Furious franchise, which culminates in Paul Walker jumping from a moving truck attached to a moving train onto a moving automobile driven by Vin Diesel, before they tumble off a cliff into the water below.


Furie is a legend. On this revenge thriller about a reformed gangster who must resort to her old ways after her daughter is kidnapped, Le-Van Kiet (The Princess) previously worked with the incomparable Veronica Ngo.


Daniel Craig's Bond movies feature not just one, but two banger train sequences. The first, the cold open to Skyfall, features your typical fight on the train backdrop followed by one of the most shocking closing scenes of any Bond cold open. The second sees Bond brawl it out against Dave Bautista, playing one of the more memorable Craig henchmen.

The Grandmaster

We love Wilson Yip and Donnie Yens Ip Man series, but we should also mention the legendary Wong Kar-wais take on the legendary martial artist. Yuen Woo-ping, who directed the next two Ip Man movies, is a legend.

The Fugitive

The Fugitive is one of the greatest thrillers of the 1990s, following Harrison Ford's Dr. Richard Kimble on the run from false accusations of the death of his wife. In this moment, on the L train, Kimble is identified by another passenger (who informs a police officer) before the real culprit attempts to take him out.

Broken Arrow

If there isn't at least one John Woo clip included, a list related to action will almost certainly be incomplete. In this scene, Christian Slater jumps from on top of a train into it, punching former NFL star Howie Long straight off the train (and the bridge it is crossing over), before facing off with John Travolta in a classic Woo gun battle.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil's climactic confrontation between Alice (Milla Jovovich) and the mutant Licker at the end of 2002 is a terrific action sequence that serves as both an ode to Ridley Scott's Alien and an enthusiastic homage to the train boss fight at the end of Resident Evil 2.

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

This is everything you'd want from a Steven Seagal film.

A guy gets kicked off a train only to be struck by it. A slew of bad guys and henchmen played by a litany of character actors (Eric Bogosian! Jonathan Banks! Kurtwood Smith! ). Katherine Heigl. A huge gun battle both on top and inside of the train. Seagal wearing all black. A hard-to-believe stunt underneath a moving train. PV

The Equalizer 2

This tense moment on a train is the second entry in the underrated Denzel action series, which quickly progresses from a peaceful conversation to brutal combat.

Denzels skillet is demonstrated in this video. He is calm, collected, and reserved, always in command of his situation, but able to turn on a moments notice, finally letting the audience know whats going on... That's the good stuff, right there.

The Wrong Trousers

Nick Parks' stop-motion classic from 1993, with oaf Wallace and his cucumber-cool dog Gromit, is an impeccable half-hour heist thriller as well as a masterpiece of animated slapstick. It culminates in an astonishingly detailed and beautifully edited chase around Wallaces suburban home on a model railway set that is no less epic, suspenseful, or hilarious a set-piece for being miniatureized.

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