10 Moments That Literally Stopped Action Movies

Hedgehog halting, mid-duel breathers, and other moments that stopped action movies dead.

Free Guy Chris Evans
20th Century Studios

When sitting down to enjoy everything from super-powered sugar rushes to glorious chunks of explosive comedy, being catapulted right into everything from edge-of-your-seat personal battles to city-levelling set-pieces is to be expected.

And that's what makes the sight of the action in this sort of adrenaline-fuelled flick being brought to a screeching halt out of the blue so damn impactful.

As this list will also highlight, said act of suddenly stopping the breathless narrative can be executed in a whole host of ways, too.

When done well, these momentum-derailing moments can leave you unleashing an uncontrollable giggle at the surreal visuals on show. They can also catch you brilliantly off-guard early on, advising you out of the gates to expect the unexpected from what initially appeared to be little more than another run-of-the-mill, CGI-stuffed action adventure.

Simply put, sometimes the most effective and memorable sequences to tumble out of a marvellously vicious or brilliantly noisy action delight are those that briefly press pause on all that big-screen chaos, madness, and destruction.

So, from fourth-wall shattering monologues that kick off a complete narrative shift, to utterly ridiculous developments forcing the relentless excitement to unexpectedly come to a standstill, these are those action movie moments that stopped said flicks dead in their tracks.

10. A Polite Reload - Hard Target

Free Guy Chris Evans
Universal Pictures

The mighty Jean-Claude Van Damme can always be counted on to deliver the mesmerising action goods whenever his sweaty torso swaggers onto the scene.

And that was certainly the case during John Woo's thrilling 1993 action classic Hard Target, as Van Damme's former Force Recon Marine Chance Boudreaux went about taking out a group of doomed fools during the film's latter stages.

After largely kicking, blasting, and exploding his way through Emil Fouchon's hunting party, though, something rather magical happens.

With Arnold Vosloo's also brilliantly named Pik Van Cleef closing in on our leading man within a warehouse, the two suddenly find themselves back to back, with only a thin wall separating either man from imminent death.

There's only one problem: they've both ran out of bullets, the silly gooses.

What follows is a hilarious halt in the action as the adversaries share a bit of small talk whilst cramming bullets into their chosen weapon.

Then, in a bizarrely polite turn of events, both men refuse to resume fire until the other one has fully loaded up their pistols. But once the bullets are finally unleashed again, it's Van Damme who inevitably walks out of this one alive thanks to a rather unique pistol shuffling manoeuvre.


Lifts rubber and metal. Watches people flip in spandex and pretends to be other individuals from time to time...