Best Of

August 21, 2017

Awesome Action Movie Opening Scenes

If an action movie doesn’t grab you from the start, then it’s failed at its job; it needs to have something spectacular happen, introduce a great villain or just have a hero kick some ass. Below are some of my favourite action movie opening scenes. Star Wars and LOTR aren’t included as they’re more Sci-Fi/Fantasy (despite having awesome opening scenes).

Furious 7

The movie opens with Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw talking to his now paralyzed brother Owen, promising revenge on the people who put him there. He then turns around and we see the nurses are cowering in fear. He walks out of the hospital which is in ruins, bodies strewn all over after Shaw has kicked everybody’s ass. This is actually the best scene of the movie but it’s also one of the greatest Statham moments of all time.

The Expendables 2

The opening 20 minutes of this film are action movie nirvana; we’ve got the greatest action heroes of all time blowing shit up, shooting bad guys and throwing out one-liners like it’s 1985… and it’s sheer bliss.

Police Story

One of Jackie Chan’s finest hours, the opening to Police Story is truly spectacular as cars race downhill destroying a shanty down; I love how everything seems to explode for no reason at all.


I always thought the opening scene to this vampire slaying classic was rather awesome with our hero introduced in badass style. It’s a big blood party and all the vampires are invited so this is the perfect night out for our daywalking hero played by Wesley Snipes.

Demolition Man

After watching this movie recently I’m still blown away by the sense of scale during the opening scene as John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) jumps out of a helicopter to capture the villainous Simon Phoenix. “Send a maniac to catch one!”


Gabe Walker (Sly Stallone) is a mountain rescue expert in The Rockies and the movie opens with him out climbing with his friend Hal Tucker and his lady Sarah. Things appear to be going well until Sarah’s harness comes loose and tragedy looms. Every time I watch this scene I want it to end differently… does anyone else note Ralph Waite’s facial expression at 3:18? It looks like he is smiling… weirdo.

Hard Boiled

John Woo’s seminal action flick opens with a bang as Chow Yun-Fat has an epic shoot-out in a tea shop. I love how right up until the last few seconds Chow Fun-fat has the toothpick in his mouth.


Mr. Cobretti is too cool to get phased by a gun-toting nutjob in a supermarket, so he calmly sips beer before pimp slapping him and sending him to Hell. Stone Cold starring Brian Bosworth essentially has the exact same scene… which is also awesome.

Casino Royale

The world is introduced to Daniel Craig’s 007 who doesn’t mince words. He beats the crap out of a bad guy in a bathroom and doesn’t even wash his hands after. It then leads into the parkour chase which remains arguably the series action highlight. Although it’s not an action sequence nothing will ever top Connery’s introduction in Dr. No though. 

The Dark Knight

The Joker is revealed for the first time in one of the coolest heists in cinema history. I would also stick The Dark Knight Rises there with Bane’s introduction and “crashing this plane!”

Mad Max: Fury Road

The movie opens with our lone hero Max Rockatansky standing next to his trusty Interceptor as he essentially narrates the story so far, then after a few quiet seconds he jumps into the car and speeds off with a horde of crazies in hot pursuit. From the gorgeous cinematography to the sound of the roaring engines the opening five minutes helps to capture how terrifying this future world is where survival itself is the ultimate goal.

Lethal Weapon 3

Riggs and Murtaugh trade witty banter while attempting to dispose of a bomb in a building. After Riggs screws it up, he calmly utters “GRAB THE CAT!” and the building explodes spectacularly.


Nothing starts a movie off better than an epic battle sequence. Russell Crowe is Roman General Maximus and he’s about to go to war. Ridley Scott directs with the usually stunning visuals and Hans Zimmer’s score is arguably a career best but this is also one of Scott’s few films that has heart to go with it.


The whole opening sequence in the airport has cop Sean Archer (John Travolta) chasing down rogue terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) and is exciting, violent and visceral. When the plane crashes into the hangar, spend a few minutes to pick your jaw up from the floor.

Die Hard With A Vengeance

This movie has the best opening scene of the series as it starts off with some cheerful summer music showing a normal day on New York city… then BOOM! An explosion sets a city street into chaos and immediately has your attention. John McClane is about to have a very bad day!

The Matrix

The Matrix came out of nowhere in the year when a new Star Wars film was meant to steal the show; the Star Wars film ended up being crap and we got some new heroes in the form of Trinity, Neo and Morpheus instead. In this classic opening scene Trinity is escaping cops and Agents as we are introduced to Bullet Time and action cinema is changed forever.

John Wick: Chapter 2

The opening of John Wick: Chapter 2 takes place 10 minutes after the ending of the first movie as John has taken revenge for the murder of his doggy but still needs his cool car back. So he punches, kicks, stabs and shoots his way through more goons. They really should have learned by now to just give him whatever he wants…

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark is pretty flawless and even after all these years the opening 10 minutes gives me chills. The music, the stunts and the flying into the sunset. Genius! For me this is easily one of the greatest opening scenes of all time.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Not only is the opening future war visually astounding, it is followed by THE greatest opening theme tune of all time. Who can forget those swings and roundabouts burning in the nuclear fire? Haunting, terrifying and spectacular all at once. 

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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