Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots In Action Movies

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Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots In Action Movies

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
These scenes are smoother than butter. For this list, we'll be looking at the best long takes found in action films. Our countdown includes “Spectre”, “Mission: Impossible - Fallout", “The Protector”, and more!
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Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Action Movies


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Action Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best long takes found in action films. We won’t be including scenes that seem like uninterrupted shots, but have well-hidden cuts like in “Kingsman.”

Which of these continuous shots impressed you the most? Did we leave off your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: Day of the Dead

“Spectre” (2015)
“Spectre” may not be anyone’s favorite Bond film, but it does have a terrific opening. We follow Bond through a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City as he tracks an assassin. For a little over 4 minutes, the beautiful tracking shot leads us through the festivities, up a hotel, and out on the roof as Bond stalks his prey. Director Sam Mendes and his team used 1,500 extras, many extravagantly dressed, and had to close down the city’s main avenue. Adding a 50-foot crane to the mix for the rooftop shots must have made things exceedingly complex. But the result is one of the best openings in any Bond film.


#9: Opening Scene

“Breaking News” (2004)
An uninterrupted tracking shot can be just as impressive without the theatricality of “Spectre.” Although, buckets of bullets being sprayed everywhere also help. This Hong Kong action film opens with undercover police officers staking out a group of bank robbers. At first calm and unassuming, the scene erupts into an all-out firefight when two uniformed officers blow the sting. Despite multiple gunmen, the scene doesn’t cut. We glide from innocent bystanders to the officers to the robbers, all while bullets shred through the set. The entire sequence is nearly 7 minutes long and it’s an absolutely thrilling way to kick off a film.

#8: Katana Bike Fight

“The Villainess” (2017)
There are several memorable action scenes that earned this revenge thriller a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. One of them sees our heroine chased down by bikers with katanas in a close-quarters tunnel. Although the shot is only about a minute long, it’s one of the most riveting minutes ever seen in an action film. The camera moves at breakneck speed, through the wheels as the bikers get ever closer. Our jaws were already on the floor before they pulled out their weapons. The sound design is incredible; every sword clang rings out clearly. But the real hero is the camera operator because this is genuinely remarkable.


#7: The Subway Fight

“Hanna” (2011)

If a father trains his only daughter to be an assassin from the age of two, you better believe he’s got some seriously deadly moves. Some find out just how deadly in this short but sweet fight in a subway station. Building tension is the name of the game here. Erik, played by Eric Bana, immediately notices he’s being followed and leads his pursuers to a secluded place to dispose of them. The fight makes great use of the space; a pillar hides Erik from the viewer before he lashes out at his attackers alongside a killer electronic soundtrack. Although the scene is only about 2 ½ minutes long, it uses its time incredibly well.


#6: Creed vs. The Lion

“Creed” (2015)
As Adonis Creed begins to rise in the boxing world, he faces his first major challenger in Leo “The Lion” Sporino. As this fight is vital to the character’s arc, director Ryan Coogler and cinematographer Maryse Alberti made it stand out. The 4 ½-minute long uninterrupted bout puts the viewer up close and personal with the fighters. The camera purposefully rotates around them, showcasing every important blow as the fighters go at it. It’s a tense sequence that makes us feel like our hearts are in our throats. We’re grateful for the crew’s hard work; it reportedly took them 13 takes to get it right with only two being actually usable for editing.


#5: A Long Way Down

“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” (2018)
There are many moments that make “Fallout” one of the best entries in the franchise. Sitting near the top is the undeniably awesome Halo jump. Standing for ‘High Altitude, Low Open,’ the jump requires opening your parachute at a low altitude. It’s difficult to pull off even when you’re not trying to film it. It took more effort than many other scenes in the movie. Not only did it take extensive planning and training in a wind tunnel, but it could also only be attempted once per day due to shooting right at sunset. Special helmets were created and everyone had to breathe straight oxygen for 20 minutes so as not to get decompression sickness. But the jaw-dropping shot was more than worth the effort.

#4: Beat ‘Em Up

“Oldboy” (2003)
This South Korean action thriller features one of the most awe-inspiring long takes in all of film. “Oldboy” follows a man imprisoned for 15 years, seeking vengeance on his mysterious captors once he’s free. Its stand-out scene, iconic even to those who have never seen the film, is a nearly 3-minute long corridor brawl. Requiring 17 takes over the course of three days, it pits protagonist Oh Dae-su against a horde of goons with only a hammer to defend himself with. Though it doesn’t have any flashy moves, the commitment is certainly stunning. The actors breathlessly fall over each other as the fight continues. And our hero’s refusal to give up despite their numbers makes us root for him even more.


#3: Hospital Shootout

“Hard Boiled” (1992)
Director John Woo is an action legend and he’s got films like “Hard Boiled” to thank for that legacy. The entire film is a non-stop, cops vs. gun smugglers thrillride. At the peak of its thrilling scenes is the roughly three-minute-long hospital shootout. We follow two officers through two floors and a whole lot of goons. With bullets blasting chunks from the scenery and a seemingly endless supply of stuntmen, the scene is a magnificent feat. But it took more effort than standard planning and practicing. Some cast and crew members stayed in the studio for days on end, leaving them feeling drained. The sequence was clearly very difficult to get right, but it’s a study in groundbreaking stunts and effects work.

#2: Going Up

“The Protector” (2005)
Tony Jaa is one of the most breathtaking modern martial arts film stars. One of the best examples of his skill comes in the four-minute-long steadicam sequence from “The Protector.” Set in a Thai restaurant with multiple floors, Jaa’s character Kham fights his way up a winding staircase. As the fight kicks into high gear, the camera chases Kham and pulls us along with it. The scene required an abundance of extras, a multitude of stuntmen, and features more than a few broken pieces of scenery. We struggle to catch our breath just watching it, so it’s hard to imagine what the crew and actors went through to film it.


#1: The Warzone

“Children of Men” (2006)
Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” features several extraordinary long takes courtesy of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. But the absolute best in our book is the 6-minute long warzone sequence during the film’s climax. With Kee and her child in danger, Theo braves the dangerous landscape with no weapon to defend himself. Surrounded by gunfire and explosions, we move from the peril-ridden streets to bombed-out buses to an immigrant-filled apartment building, all without cutting once. It’s entirely visceral; the viewer is positioned with the hero as bodies rapidly drop and blood and glass spray the camera. Few scenes simulate the chaos and sorrow of a warzone as successfully as “Children of Men.”
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