This is one of the most iconic battle scenes to date. As the Death Star nears completion, a huge attack against the Galactic Empire is launched by the Rebel Alliance. Unbeknownst to them, the Death Star is already functioning as the Emperor has simply been waiting for them to arrive. This battle has an underdog, non-stop action and multi story threads. The final moments are the most intense as Luke Skywalker battles his father, Darth Vader, on board the Death Star.
While the final chapter in the Lord of the Rings trilogy boasts larger scale battles, it is the Battle for Helms Deep in the second instalment that really stands out. Ten thousand of Saruman’s Uruk-hai descend on Helms Deep intent on killing every man, woman and child they cross. Again this is an unfair fight at first glance, with the defending men of Rohan and elves outnumbered. While the Uruk-hai manage to break through the fortress walls and enter, a heroic fight from those inside manages to hold the city.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) is trying to find O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) to avenge her fiancé and unborn child’s murder. In her way stand the Crazy 88s. She is outnumbered at every turn but equipped with nothing but her sword and her moves, she manages to defeat every one of her foes. The original cut of this scene was too much for the MPAA and Quentin Tarantino was forced to change it in order to tone down the sheer amount of blood. This only contributes to the style and epic nature of this already remarkable fight sequence.
The portrayal of the contest between King Leonidas’ 300 Spartans and the Persian army’s one million strong soldiers goes down as one of the most epic movie sequences in recent memory. 300 vs. one million is the opposite of a fair fight and it is this imbalance that provides the ultimate satisfaction. Persian forces approach and demand a Spartan surrender and submission. After the Spartans announce a “come and get them” denial, an incredible battle follows; visually striking graphics, immense gore and slow-motion action manages to give some style to a battle drowning in chaos.
The conflict between Admiral James T. Kirk’s Enterprise and the USS Reliant, piloted by renegade superman Khan Noonien Singh is one of the great space battles of our time—a piece of submarine warfare brilliantly translated to the future by Nicholas Meyer (who’s just come on board the new Star Trek TV series out next year). Some of the effects may have dated by now, but it’s still one of the tensest confrontations of the last four decades.
The Last Witch Hunter starts with a fiery battle between the witch hunter Kaulder (Vin Diesel) and the witches. Haunted by thoughts of his dead family, the warrior takes on and slays a horde of shape-shifting witches. The fight, caught up in the bowels of a blazing tree, pushes Kaulder to his limits against his main target, the Witch Queen. In an intense scene, he tries to destroy the Witch Queen with his burning blade, ready to die himself. At the point of her death, the Queen curses Kaulder with immortality, a never end to his pain and suffering.
At the end of The Last Witch Hunter, Kaulder faces another blistering battle with the Witch Queen. As the Queen uses her powers against him; she releases a plague throughout the city, black ash violently smashes through windows ready to kill on the Queen’s demand. Kaulder continuously strikes his sword at her, causing electric slashes to run over her body. As the plague continues to spread, Kaulder grabs his fiery sword and hurls it into the Queen’s chest, where it combines with lightning bolts to destroy the Queen once again as her body explodes into ashes. Kaulder is ready to permanently get rid of her and himself, but Chloe, his witch girlfriend, stops him. They realise they both have a new reason to keep living.
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER is out on digital download from February 29th, courtesy of Entertainment One, and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 7th.