5 Best Action Scenes In The Indiana Jones Franchise

5 Best Action Scenes In The Indiana Jones Franchise
5 Best Action Scenes In The Indiana Jones Franchise

With Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny arriving this month, it’s nice to see an old-school adventure still has its place in today’s Hollywood. The Indiana Jones franchise has been around since 1981, beginning with the rousing Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Subsequent follow-ups may have met with mixed-to-good critical and financial responses. But the franchise remains among the most beloved ones ever made until today.

The Indiana Jones franchise may have been known for Harrison Ford’s signature titular role and intriguing action-adventure storytelling. Still, let’s not forget about the action scenes. Scenes that Indy has successfully endured close calls and all kinds of perils throughout his globetrotting adventures. That said, let’s take a look at five of the best action scenes in the Indiana Jones franchise.

1. The Opening Boulder Scene From Raiders of the Lost Ark

The iconic opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

All it takes is nine minutes to turn Raiders of the Lost Ark into one of the most iconic opening scenes ever seen in the history of Hollywood cinema. Indy and his guide, Satipo (a young Alfred Molina), make their way to the ancient temple. They encounter creepy crawlies and outsmart booby traps after entered the temple. After Indy successfully replaces the golden idol with a bag of sand that carries approximately the same weight, it’s all hell breaks loose.

The temple starts crumbling down, and flying arrows are shooting left and right. This leads to a gripping chase scene as Indy must outrun the giant rolling boulder behind him. The opening scene not only showcased Steven Spielberg’s masterful flair for action and suspense but also quickly establishes Indy’s quick-witted charm and daredevil personality.

2. The Mine Cart Chase From Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

The mine cart chase in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The second movie may have been deemed too dark and violent at the time of its release in 1984. As much as the sequel (actually a prequel) divided fans and audiences alike, Spielberg chose not to repeat himself. Besides, a rehash of Raiders of the Lost Ark would have been easily dismissed as being creatively bankrupt.

One of the most memorable action scenes takes place in the climactic third act. A mine cart chase that is thrillingly staged like a rollercoaster ride, complete with some POV shots. The exhilarating moment sees Indy, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), and Willie (Kate Capshaw) riding in the cart while being pursued by cult members shooting their guns. At one point, there’s even a cart jump over the long, empty gap between the two broken rails.

3. The Rope Bridge Scene From Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

The rope bridge scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Right after surviving the mine cart chase, the trio – Indy, Short Round, and Willie – face another ordeal. Mola Ram (Amrish Puri), the movie’s main antagonist, captured Short Round and Willie. Indy, in the meantime, finds himself surrounded by Mola Ram’s men on both sides of the rope bridge.

Indy takes the chance by chopping off the ropes with a sword. This causes the bridge to snap and swing violently across the side of the cliff. The rope bridge was real and specially built just for the scene across 300 feet (approx. 91 meters) deep gorge downriver from the Victoria Dam, Sri Lanka. The practical approach makes the rope bridge scene all the more palpable and visceral to watch.

4. The Tank Chase From Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The tank chase in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The climactic tank chase has everything a grand set piece should be in an Indiana Jones film. There is action, suspense, thrills, and a dash of comedy seamlessly integrated together. The scene sees Indy on horseback attempting to rescue his father (Sean Connery) and friend (Denholm Elliott) in the tank. It was an exhilarating moment that culminated with the tank veering off the cliff. Spielberg gets crafty here, making the audience believes Indy is going down together with the SS Colonel Vogel (Michael Byrne) to their impending doom. It was the right comic timing that capped off one of the best scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

5. The Jungle Chase From Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The jungle chase in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

The nuke-the-fridge moment, the convoluted story about aliens, and Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) swinging like Tarzan. These are some of the moments that nearly derailed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Not to mention Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s ill-advised decision to overuse CGI for the action scenes. But even so, the jungle chase proved Spielberg has what it takes to ramp up the fun and excitement. This includes scenes like Indy jumping from one vehicle to another and a sword fight between Mutt and Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) atop the moving vehicles.

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