The possibilities are endless when it comes to performing outstanding stunts, thrilling heists, and massive explosions. However, there's one technique to guarantee a good time for audiences: putting an action sequence on a train.
Trains are just a rule, okay? In addition to being an excellent form of mass transportation, they also look fantastic inside and out (or on the top, if you are an action figure).
What a better time than now to remember this wonderful cinematic tradition? With Jackie Chan 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 did not make the cut due to a lack of easily accessible clips), here are some of our favorite train action sequences.
Michelle Yeoh leaps off a hill and land 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 parachutist.
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, the shot on the top of a bullet train.
The Raid 2
The Raid series changed the action world by focusing on brutal action that is simple to comprehend visually. After the first films vertical approach in a high-rise apartment building, the second film is significantly more spread out in narrative approach and location.
Tom Cruise hung himself on the top of a train in a thrilling sequence with Jon Voight and Jean Reno in Rogue Nation. The stunt was a mix of practical and CG effects.
Toy Story 3
The opening scene in Toy Story 3 has all of the hallmarks 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
Here is one of those movies where the majority of its running time might be eligible. However, we cannot afford to overlook Ma Dong-seok defeating some zombies with taped-up forearms.
If there is one thing you know about Wanted, it's 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 as well.
Sandra Bullock is held hostage on a train by Dennis Hopper, while Keanu Reeves hangs onto the top of the train. We get an all-out brawl on the moving train, culminating in a tragic death for a great 90s film villain.
In a film like Snowpiercer, one train fight sequence is difficult to pick out just one scene (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 with night-vision goggles. The final scene, featuring a small boy hoisting a flaming torch like an Olympic marathon
The Matrix Resurrections
The Matrix Resurrections is no exception. Starting with an RPG missile blasting a hole in a Japanese bullet train, the scene unfolds into a cacophony of gunfire and acrobatics as Neo battles a swarm of possessed blue-pills. It's at once serious and kinetic as it is irreverently funny and brimming with personality.
The second Spider-Man film isn't just the greatest Spider-Man films ever made, it's one of the greatest superhero films of all time, either. Be it Tobey Maguire's mature portrayal of the superpowered web-slinger as he struggles with his duties as a vigilante, Alfred Molina's beautiful and tragic portrayal of a multi-armed villain, or director Sam Raimi's skillful emotional storytelling and craftsmanship, let's focus on the train fight between Spider-Man and
There's so much to appreciate, like Spidey shoving like a torpedo over a tunnel overpass, the stunning moment when 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 over rooftops while saving civilians.
John Wick: Chapter 2
Wick faces off against Cassian, an intricately choreographed close-quarters knife match in the John Wick franchise. PV
This scene from the excellent Bollywood heist franchise sequel is impossible to describe in mere words. Hrithik Roshan plays Mr. A as Queen Elizabeth, and Mr. A as Queen Elizabeth, complete with a Mission: Impossible-style face mask reveal. He parachutes onto a train and then sandboards behind it. A+, no notes.
The Legend of Drunken Master
What if you thought there would be only one Jackie Chan scene on this list? Think again.
This sprawling fight sequence starts on a train, then briefly rises on top of it, then moves under the train and finally away from it.
As an aside: Both this film and the 1978 Drunken Master are stone-cold classics, packed to the brim with charming scenes like this one. PV
Taking of Pelham 123
This is another example of a film where the majority of the running time could be considered (and that was true for both the 1974 and 2009 versions). The above scene from the 2009 version, where the train is first overtaken, is because 1. it rules, and 2. I admire late-period Tony Scott, and this is a fantastic example of the type of tension he was able to maintain.
This excellent blue-collar thriller based on a train takes us down the late-period Tony Scott track (train reference) in one of the directors finest films and one of the finest 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 excellent all the same. Lakeith Stanfields theatrical debut as Cherokee Bill, along with some superb knife-play, steals the show before a single shot is fired.
OK, so the action may not be on a train, but it sure does involve a train. Scott Lang fights Yellowjacket on a miniature train set in this delightful little action comedy sequence from the first Ant-Man film. The final cut to an angle that depicts the actual scale of the encounter is a lovely way to conclude the film. PV
The Good, the Bad, the Weird
Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil) directs this Korean western that features Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun. As he navigates the compartments, we get a swooping introduction to a train and Song Kang-hos dual-wielding Yoon Tae-goo (aka The Weird).
Action sequences in virtually every type of automobile have been included in the Fast & Furious franchise, so of course one of the films should be included on this list. This sequence begins with Paul Walker jumping from a moving truck attached to a moving train onto a moving car driven by Vin Diesel, before they dive off a cliff into the ocean below.
Furie is a legend. On this revenge thriller about a reformed gangster who must resort to her old ways when her daughter is kidnapped, Le-Van Kiet (The Princess) previously worked with the incomparable Veronica Ngo.
In Daniel Craig's Bond films, we got not just one, but two banger train sequences. The first, the cold open to Skyfall, features your familiar fight on top of the train scene, followed by one of the most shocking closings for any Bond cold open. The second sees Bond brawl it out against Dave Bautista, playing one of the most memorable Craig characters. PV
Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen's Ip Man series is our favorite, but beware of the legendary Wong Kar-wais interpretation of the legendary martial artist. Yuen Woo-ping, who directed the spinoff Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, was also included in this fight scene.
The Fugitive is one of the original 1990's thrillers, following Harrison Ford's Dr. Richard Kimble on the run from false charges of the murder of his wife. In this moment on the L train, Kimble is identified by another passenger (who informs a police officer) before the real killer attempts to take him out. PV
If there isn't at least one John Woo clip included, you can't declare a list related to action complete. In this scene, Christian Slater kicks former NFL player Howie Long straight off the train (and the bridge it is going 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 Resident Evil is a superb action sequence that feels like an enthusiastic tribute to Ridley Scotts Alien and an ode to the train boss fight at the end of Resident Evil 2.
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory
This video has all you need to know about Steven Seagal's movies.
A guy gets kicked off a train only to be run over by it. A slew of bad guys and henchmen played by a litany of character actors (Eric Bogosian! Jonathan Banks! Kurtwood Smith!). Katherine Heigl is a potential star in this action packed train.
The Equalizer 2
This tense moment on a train is the second entry in the underrated Denzel action series, which evolves from a calm conversation to brutal combat with a quickness.
Robert McCall is always in command of his situation, but able to increase from zero to 60 on a moments notice... That's good stuff, right there.
The Wrong Trousers
Nick Parks' stop-motion classic from 1993, with a lovely oaf Wallace and his cucumber-cool dog Gromit, is an impeccable half-hour heist thriller as well as an extraordinary piece of animated slapstick. It culminates in an astonishingly clever and sharply edited chase around Wallace's suburban home on a model railway set that is no less epic, suspenseful, or hilarious a set-piece for being miniaturized.
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