The Top Five Knife Fights in Movies

Knife fights are probably the shortest fights to go down in the real world, but in the realm of movies, they are quite the bloody show. Everyone gets cut, and no one really wins because the winner usually passes out from blood loss, but someone saves him just in the nick of time. There’s a lot of choreography and skill that gets put into these fight scenes and I’m looking at the ones that have the most gallons of blood, the most gut-wrenching intensity, and the best looking choreography, to put it lightly. Movie fans with a weak stomach might want to skip out on these movies, but for the ones that can stand the sight of lots and lots of blood, let’s take a look at the top five knife fights in movies.

5. John Wick vs. Cassian (John Wick: Chapter 2)

John Wick is a man that has a lot of blood on his hands. It’s pretty rare that he comes across an assassin that has a skill set that rivals his, but one of them is Cassian, a rival assassin that had a personal vendetta against John for killing his ward. After their first fight on the street, Cassian hunts down John in a public subway train and John, already exhausted from fighting multiple assassins, is prepared to throw down. What makes this fight so pulse-pounding is the epic stare down these two have before they start trying to stab each other. While Cassian has a personal reason for being in the fight, John is just trying to survive, but his disdain for Cassian is clearly shown, even before the fight begins. These two assassins both show their exceptional skills with a knife during the fight, as well as blending John Wick’s Judo abilities, something we’ve never seen before in a Hollywood knife fight. While John eventually defeats Cassian with the use of his superior skills, he (kinda) spares him when he leaves the knife in his aorta, telling him he will bleed out and die if he pulls it out. It ends with John telling him to consider it as a professional courtesy, as Cassian gives a quick smirk to him. If only John had a pencil.

4. Jason Bourne vs. Jarda (The Bourne Supremacy)

If you want to fight like Jason Bourne, you better bring a magazine to a knife fight. The secret agent-turned-fugitive is a master of improvised weaponry, meaning he can turn anything he can get his hands on into a deadly weapon. In this knife fight, he doesn’t exactly use a knife, but a rolled up magazine, all while Marton Csokas character, Jarda, is trying to slice and dice him up with a kitchen knife. Although Bourne doesn’t use a knife, he shows us how the most common object can be used to sufficiently fight off someone with an actual knife. Of course, it’s a Hollywood knife fight, but it’s impossible to not enjoy the creativity and skills that are shown. Bourne did something similar with a towel against Desh in the sequel, but this fight shows improvised weaponry at its finest.

3. Rama vs. The Assassin (The Raid 2: Berandal)

Fans of The Raid films should be aware of how much blood is spilled during the fight scenes. The kitchen scene in the second installment is probably the messiest out of all the fight scenes in the whole series. Rama, the protagonist, has already fought several thugs and comes across a highly trained assassin, who confidently challenges him. Their fight goes from hand-to-hand, to The Assassin dual-wielding a pair of karambit knives, then to Rama disarming him of one and using it against him to become a full-fledged knife fight. This fight is a long one, but along the way, both fighters get their hits in and become a bloody mess, all while blending in their pencak silat skills. The choreography is like a kung fu movie amped up to the extreme and the use of small knives is handled perfectly. If you want to watch a knife fight that paints the whole room in blood, then this will get your attention.

2. L.T. Bonham vs. Aaron Hallam (The Hunted)

If you want a knife fight that’s very bloody like the one in The Raid 2, but without the over the top martial arts, then check out the fight between Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro in The Hunted. Jones plays the failed mentor, while Del Toro is the student that goes bad, making the fight very personal. They have one fight, where Jones narrowly cheats death, but their final duel together is quite the bloodbath. Jones and Del Toro cut each other up so much, it’s hard to believe that they didn’t drop sooner, but the fight escalates until Jones delivers the killing blow. It was a close one, but the two men delivered a great fight that showed a man who has never seen war face off against a man that has been through it. What makes it even more fun to watch is the excellent choreography, making use of the Filipino martial art known as Kali, a fighting style that emphasizes on weapons. Jones and Del Toro utilize this art perfectly, showing us a great combination of grittiness and skill. We just need to know if Jones’ character died on the way to hospital after losing so much blood.

1. Cha Tae-Sik vs. Ramrowan (The Man From Nowhere)

The number one spot goes to a South Korean action film that once again used it’s choreography from Kali and spilled enough blood to make you lose your lunch. The final fight scene in The Man From Nowhere shows knife fighting skills at its absolute peak. After clearing out a room filled with thugs, the film’s protagonist, Cha Tae-Sik, goes knife to knife with the top thug of the group, Ramrowan. The fight is gritty, bloody, and both men try to deliver a killing blow while trying to avoid being cut. The amount of realism in this fight scene blends well with the skill set these fighters have and even when one of them takes a nasty cut, they keep on fighting. What made this knife fight phenomenal is the gritty realism and the choreography mixed together, delivering a rare kind of fight scene that is in short supply. Let’s hope Hollywood takes some notes from more foreign films.

Final Thoughts

What a bloody list. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to see enough knife fights in movies, but when they are done properly with the right choreography, they are very fun to watch. This was a tough one to narrow down, given the few knife fights that are perfectly well done in certain action movies, but these movies got the moves and the blood to show it. Don’t play with knives, ever.

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