If two action movie characters come to a disagreement, it's more than likely they'll settle their differences in a good ol' slugfest. And the most honourable way to do so is laying their holsters and scabbards aside to work their legs and mitts into each other's bruised bodies.
Fistfights are a gritty staple in action films but can be so much more than mindless violence. Bare-knuckled showdowns can deliver subtle narratives, powerful feats of the human body, or the sheer pleasure of watching acting legends square it off.
There isn't anything wrong enjoying some satisfying cinema beatdowns, especially when fight choreographers, editors, directors, and actors put their blood, sweat and tears into crafting them - quite literally. So be prepared for cinema's most grisly, awe-inspiring, and visually stunning fight scenes ever put to screen.
To be clear, these fights use fists and kicks alone; you'll see no knives, bats, or guns in this list, although the quick use of an improvised weapon, or gunplay prelude, may be overlooked so long as the main focus is on flurrying fists. Let's get ready to throw down!
10. Mission Impossible: Fallout - Hunt And Walker Vs. "John Lark"
Let's start with some espionage elbow exchanges in the Mission Impossible franchise. CIA operative Walker (Henry Cavill) and our favourite IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) have tracked a suspected arms dealer to a Paris nightclub. After Walker takes him out with surprising ease, the mission seems to be going surprisingly well. However, since Hunt lost the anaesthetic to keep Lark subdued in the initial scuffle, he wakes up to wreak havoc on his kidnappers and the bathroom's drywall.
It turns out Lark is more than capable of holding his own once on his feet. Despite coming back from consciousness and being thrown through a mirror, Lark manages to keep both Walker and Hunt at bay with some impressive martial arts and inventive use of a sink pipe.
The star power alone makes this scene iconic. Cruise's elbows strikes are as quick as they are devastating, while Cavill's iconic pumping fist motion preface a whirlwind of destructive punches.
It's almost a shame that Lark is unceremoniously executed by former MI6 agent Isla Faust. Stuntman Liang Yang has had his fair share of action in Skyfall, Kingsman, and the Star Wars sequels, so it would have been great to see him return as a regular antagonist for the Mission Impossible series.