The possibilities for creating a memorable action film are endless. Outlandish stunts, thrilling heists, enormous explosions... the sky is the limit. Yet there is one technique to guarantee a good time for participants: putting an action sequence on a train.
Trains are just the norm, right? In addition to being a wonderful form of mass transportation, they just look cool inside and out (or on top, if you are an action star).
What better time than now that Brad Pitt's new action film Bullet Train is out in cinemas? With Jackie Chan's and Michelle Yeoh's death-defying stunts and films entirely set on trains like Train to Busan (and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, which we love 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 jumps 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 a parachute. The outcome: This scene
As far as solo Wolverine projects go, Logan might get more attention, but (hot take) I prefer The Wolverine. It's the rare modern modern superhero project with a contained conflict (rather than an apocalyptic one), and, most importantly to this list, the bullet train's scuffle
The Raid 2
The Raid series changed the action world, emphasising brutal action that is easy to visualize. The second film is significantly more spread out in narrative approach and location. In this standout scene (spliced together by a YouTuber), Julie Estelles Hammer Girl absolutely wrecks some dudes on a train with her signature hammers.
In Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise jumped on top of a train in a thrilling sequence with Jon Voight and Jean Reno. The stunt was a mix of practical and CG effects. PV
Toy Story 3
The opening sequence 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 movies on here where the majority of its running time might be considered. However, we cant afford to miss the chance to highlight Ma Dong-seok defeating some zombies with taped-up forearms. PV
If there's one thing you know about Wanted, it's likely that bullets curve in it. One of the coolest examples happened in this train sequence, where James McAvoy curves a bullet around a civilian to hit another bullet that was surely going to strike her. Angelina Jolie also crashes a car into a train, if youre into that sort of thing.
Sandra Bullock is held captive on a train by Dennis Hopper, while Keanu Reeves hangs onto the top of the moving train. We get an all-out brawl on the moving train, which culminates in a tragic death for a great 90s movie villain.
In a film like Snowpiercer, you can't pick out just one train fight sequence, which is almost entirely composed of scenes (many of them fight scenes) inside a train. The blackout sequence, however, stands out as one of the films finest, as the audience witnesses Curtis (Chris Evans) rebellion being destroyed by a cadre of masked machete-wielding soldiers wearing night vision glasses. The final scene, which is one of the most moving and memorable images in the entire
The Matrix Resurrections
The Matrix series is well-known for its stunning ensemble action sequences, and the train fight in The Matrix Resurrections is no exception. The scene begins with a RPG missile tearing a hole in a Japanese bullet train, then escalates into a cacophony of gunfire and acrobatics as Bugs, the Mnemosyne's crew, and an alternate version of Morpheus fend off a swarm of possessed
Tobey Maguire's mature portrayal of a powerful web-slinger who is transformed by grief and a freak accident into a multi-armed villain, or Director Sam Raimi's skillful emotional storytelling and craftsmanship, all of which are excellent examples of superhero films.
There's so much to enjoy, from Spidey shooting like a torpedo through the grating of a tunnel overpass, to the stunning moment when Peter and Doc Ock trade blows while standing on the side of a train carriage as it barrels ahead, to the shot of Spider-Man maneuvering through traffic before hoisting himself across rooftops while saving civilians.
John Wick: Chapter 2
As Wick confronts Cassian, a Commons assassin in an intricately choreographed close-quarters knife fight, the John Wick franchise delivers one of the most low-key train fights on this list. PV
Hrithik Roshan plays Mr. A, Queen Elizabeth, and Mr. A as Queen Elizabeth in the superb Bollywood heist franchise sequel. He also parachutes onto a train and sandboards behind it. A+, no notes.
The Legend of Drunken Master
What you assumed there would be just one Jackie Chan scene on this list? Rethink.
This sprawling fight sequence starts on a train, then briefly rises on top of it, then moves beneath the train and finally away from it.
As an aside, both this film and the original 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 example of the sort of tension that Tony Scott was able to maintain in both the 1974 and 2009 versions.
This excellent blue-collar thriller set almost entirely on a train continues our journey down the late-period Tony Scott track (train reference) with a veteran railroad engineer (Denzel Washington) and 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 may be brief, but its execution is outstanding all the same. Lakeith Stanfields theatrical introduction as Cherokee Bill, along with some impressive knife-play, steals the show before a single shot is fired.
Ok, so it might not be on a train, but it certainly involves a train. Scott Lang fights Yellowjacket on a miniature train set in this delightful little action comedy from the first Ant-Man film. The last shot to an angle that illustrates the actual scale of the encounter is a lovely note to close it on.
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 through the passenger compartments. PV
This sequence is from one of the series' strongest entries, and sees Paul Walker leap from a moving truck attached to a moving train onto a moving vehicle driven by Vin Diesel, before they saunter off a cliff into the sea below.
Furie is a force to be reckoned with, and he has previously directed with Veronica Ngo's incredible reformed gangster who must resort to her old ways when her daughter is kidnapped. PV is a bone-crunching blast with some great action sequences, including the neon-soaked train fight above.
The first, the cold open to Skyfall, has your traditional fight on the train scene followed by one of the most shocking endings to any Bond cold open. The second sees Bond brawl it out with Dave Bautista, playing one of the more memorable Craig henchmen.
Tony Leung plays Ip Man in this version, along with Zhang Ziyi as Gong Ruo Mei (seen in the clip) and Yuen Woo-ping as the action director for Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (starring Grandmaster co-star Max Zhang).
The Fugitive is one of the most famous 1990s thrillers, following Harrison Ford's Dr. Richard Kimble on the run from false charges of the murder of his wife. In this scene, on the L train, Kimble is identified by another passenger (who informs a police officer) before the real culprit attempts to take him out. PV
If there isnt at least one John Woo clip included, you cant say that any list related to action is complete. In this scene, Christian Slater kicks 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's epic battle between Alice (Milla Jovovich) and the mutant Licker at the end of 2002's is a terrific action set-piece that feels like both an homage to Ridley Scott's Alien and a passionate tribute to the train boss fight at the end of Resident Evil 2.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory
This scene is everything you could want from a Steven Seagal film.
A guy gets kicked off a train, only to be run over by it. A litany of character actors play a variety of bad guys and henchmen (Eric Bogosian, Jonathan Banks, Kurtwood Smith! ), and a future star in Katherine Heigl. A huge gun battle both on top and inside of the train. Seagal wearing all black. A hard-to-believe stunt under a moving train. PV
The Equalizer 2
This tense train encounter, which transforms from a gentle conversation to brutal combat with a quickness, is the second entry in the underrated Denzel action series.
Robert McCall is always in command of his situation, but able to boost from zero to 60 on a moments notice... That's all of Denzels' skillet.
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 masterful piece of animated slapstick. It culminates in an astonishingly clever and sharply edited chase around Wallaces suburban house on a model railway set that is no less epic, suspenseful, or hilarious a set-piece for being miniaturized.
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