10 Best Movie Stunts of the 2010s (And Who Performed Them)


Movie stunts have been part of Hollywood from the start, as even Buster Keaton in the silent era did them, leaving a whole set with only a space for him where the door entrance should fall on him. Stunts are one of the biggest weapons that movies have to astonish and surprise their audiences. After more than 100 years of films, and with the evolution of technology, stunts have become bigger and better, sometimes being the most important reason to buy a ticket to the theater.




All those reasons help people understand why the Oscars need a Best Stunt Category, as some film’s best moments are these incredible scenes. The 2010s might’ve become the Golden Age of stunts, as the mix of digital editing, incredible stunt actors, and smaller cameras has allowed for much more creative, frightening, and impressive stunt scenes. Here are the 10 best stunts of the 2010s, and the professionals who made them possible.


10 Atomic Blonde (2017) – Stairwell Fight – Charlize Theron and Monique Ganderton

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Directed by John Wick’s co-director, David Leitch, Atomic Blonde tells the story of Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), who goes to 1980s Berlin to recover a list of all the MI6 double agents. The movie has some amazing stunts, and Theron was game to do them.


Charlize Theron Did Most of the Scene Herself

The biggest stunt scene is a stairwell fight that lasts several minutes and looks as if it were done in one single shot. Although there’s some editing and stitching together of shots, it’s still an impressive feat of action and fight choreography, showing Broughton is a master of fighting. Theron did most of the scene before leaving her stunt double, Monique Ganderton, to take the fall down the stairs in the movie’s most memorable scene. Stream Atomic Blonde on DIRECTV.

Watch Atomic Blonde‘s stairwell fight here.

9 Fast Five (2011) – Vault Theft Car Chase – Jack Gill

Fast 5

Release Date
April 20, 2011

Runtime
130


Fast Five is still the best film in the franchise, and the one that gave new life to this saga about racing-drivers-turned-spies, who always talk about family. The film has some great moments, but its apex is when they steal a vault full of money from the bad guy and drive it around Rio de Janeiro with two Dodge Chargers, while all the police in the city try to catch them.

There Were Seven Different Vaults

To get the scene right, stunt coordinator Jack Gill created seven different vaults, including two motorized and operated by stunt drivers, so the vault could do all the crazy movements asked for by the script to create the most incredible scene in the film. Even with all the safety precautions, a stunt driver fell and broke his shoulder after being hit by the vault. Stream Fast Five on Prime Video.

Watch Fast Five’s vault car chase here.

8 Inception (2010) – Hallway Fight – Joseph Gordon-Levitt

inception

Inception

Release Date
July 15, 2010

Runtime
148


The idea behind Inception, people being allowed to go to other’s dreams, was so inventive that it allowed for a lot of incredible ideas, like a 360-rotating hotel hallway fight. This movie might be the closest Christopher Nolan ever comes to directing a James Bond film, and it was a great display of his talents, even if the film’s ending is still polemic.

They Really Created a 360-Degree-Rotating Set

Nolan likes his effects done practically, so the 360-degree-rotating hotel fight was done with a set that really rotated and with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt having to learn when to move and when to fight. The set created by production designer Guy Hendrix is astonishing, and there was the need for 500 crew members to shoot the scene and make sure everything went according to plan. Even those who don’t love the film agree that it’s an impressive stunt. Stream Inception on Peacock Premium


A scene from Inception (2014) Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks on the wall of a spinning room
Warner Bros. Pictures

Watch Inception‘s hallway rotating fight here.

7 Baby Driver (2017) – Rotating Car – Jeremy Fray

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Baby Driver is one of Edgar Wright’s best films. The director matches the music and the editing perfectly, creating some vibrating, surprising action sequences together to tell why Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the greatest driver ever and his boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) won’t leave him out of his contract with him.


It Only Took the Stunt Driver Six Tries to Master the Stunt

One of the best sequences in the movie happens at the start, as it’s the first time audiences see how good the character is at driving, with all the Atlanta police trying to catch his crew after a heist has gone wrong. During their escape, there’s an impressive 180-degree turn around to avoid a truck in an alleyway. Stunt driver Jeremy Fray only needed six tries to master the stunt in what might be the best scene in the whole movie. Stream Baby Driver on DIRECTV.

Watch Baby Driver‘s rotating car stunt here. (The stunt happens at the 3:25 mark)

6 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – Polecats Jumping – Guy Norris

Mad Max: Fury Road proved to be 120 minutes of pure, gasoline-fueled, adrenaline of a movie. The movie tells the story of Max (Tom Hardy), Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and their adventure trying to rescue the wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and to do so, there are many car chases in the desert.


Even George Miller Thought He Would Need CGI for Safety Reasons

There are many impressive car chases in the film, most of them without CGI, but the scariest stunt, which even director George Miller thought would need CGI for safety reasons, had some men polecat jumping from one moving car to the next. Stunt coordinator Guy Norris and his team practiced for eight weeks to get the stunt right, and the results speak for themselves. Stream Mad Max: Fury Road on Max.

Watch the Mad Max: Fury Road polecats jumping scene here.

5 The Raid: Redemption (2011) – Hallway Fight – Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian


Gareth Evans’ The Raid franchise might’ve been shot in Indonesia, but it got the attention of the whole world for its incredible fight scenes and its fighting style, Indonesian Pencak Silat. The fact that its lead actor, Iko Uwais, was a martial artist himself also helped with those action scenes. His master, Yayan Ruhian, helped him with the choreography and played the big, bad villain in the film’s climax.

A Brilliant Idea with Great Martial Artists to Execute it

The Hallway fight in The Raid: Redemption is still one of the best scenes in the whole franchise, as Rama (uwais) has to fight a never-ending group of goons who will do anything to kill him. This scene proves how to do an impressive stunt scene; there’s no need for big budgets, just a brilliant idea and some martial artists to do them in what looks almost like a musical number, as the fighting choreography is impeccable. Stream The Raid: Redemption on Netflix.

Watch The Raid: Redemption hallway fight here.

4 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – Climbing Burj Khalifa – Tom Cruise


This won’t be the last time Tom Cruise appears on this list, but his time as the only stuntman who is also a movie star is full of incredible sequences. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was the moment the stunts in the franchise became somewhat of a wonder, and it all started with Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

The Actor Was Really Dangling 1700 Feet Up in the Air

The actor was really dangling 1700 feet up in the air only, held by some very thin cables. If that wasn’t enough, the winds made him crash against the building several times, making it a better stunt to watch at the theater, but more dangerous for the actor. The height wasn’t the only problem: the cables holding him had to be at certain points of the building to not shatter the glass windows, and the harness was cutting circulation to the lower part of his body. It looks like Cruise loved the challenge, as his stunts have gotten more incredible since then. Stream Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Prime Video.


Watch the Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Burj Kalifa scene here.

3 The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Plane Hijack – Tom Struthers

The Dark Knight Rises starts with a bang, presenting the villain in Bale (Tom Hardy) by showing how crazy and unique he is. To do so, the character lets himself get captured, and his colleagues hijack the plane he’s on from another plane to get a scientist he needs. The film doesn’t deserve the hate it gets, as it has some of the best scenes in the trilogy, like the stadium explosion, or the fight in the sewers, but its first scene is still its best.


Everything Is Done for Real

Christopher Nolan always prefers real stunts, and here, it was no different. Tom Struthers and his stunt team repelled from one plane to another with cables, and once they were safe in the second plane, they destroyed the first one, as they didn’t need it anymore, falling to the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. The entire sequence was shot for real, and the director has said it’s one of the scenes he’s most proud of in his whole career. Stream The Dark Knight Rises on Max.

The Dark Knight Rises plane heist
Warner Bros. Pictures

Watch The Dark Knight Rises hijack plane scene here.

2 John Wick (2014) – The Red Circle Fight – Keanu Reeves

John Wick

John Wick

Release Date
October 22, 2014

Runtime
96


When John Wick was released, it was a surprising success for everyone involved. This was the first film by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (uncredited, for union reasons), who had been stunt actors themselves and decided to use a new style to shoot their film; since then, named Gun-fu. This is a story of revenge, where an assassin who had left the game comes back after intruders kill his dog and steal his car.

John Wick Kills Everyone on His Way

Since the first movie, the franchise has done some incredible stunts that could also be on this list, but the Red Circle fight might be the one that started everything, becoming one of the best shootouts in movies. Keanu Reeves does all the stunts in this incredible sequence where John Wick proves how lethal he is, killing everyone on his way to find Iosef (the man who killed his dog). He ends every goon he finds using guns (that he realistically reloads), knives, fists, and everything in between.


Audiences had been hearing throughout the movie how lethal Wick was, and this was the moment they understood why he’s called the Baba Yaga. This scene alone might have birthed a franchise. One that has people still hoping for more films.​​​​​​​ Stream John Wick on Netflix.

Watch John Wick‘s Red Circle fight here.

1 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – HALO Jump – Tom Cruise

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout is still the greatest Mission: Impossible film, and that’s in big part due to its incredible, surprising, thrilling stunts and action scenes. The fact that Tom Cruise is doing the stunts himself practically gives the audience a sense of wonder that wouldn’t happen with stunt doubles and CGI, and Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie know it.


He Did the Jump More Than 100 Times

The film has three different scenes that could have been part of this list: the HALO jump, the helicopter stunt, and the riding on a motorcycle around the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris. But in the end, Cruise jumping from a plane is still his craziest stunt ever.

​​​​​​​To do the stunt, the actor jumped more than 100 times to know exactly what to do, as he had to be followed by a cameraman who jumped with him and needed to keep him in focus. If that wasn’t difficult enough, they could only do one jump a day, as they wanted to shoot it during the magic hour. It’s an incredible stunt that really happened, as the only digital effects added were for the storm. Stream Mission: Impossible – Fallout on Paramount+.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt jumping out of an airplane in Mission: Impossible Fallout
Paramount Pictures


Watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘s HALO jump scene here.



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