With the all-action The Last Witch Hunter being released on Digital download, we take a look at some of the greatest battles ever to hit celluloid…
Apocalypse Now: The Flight of the Valkyries (1979)
This is arguably the most epic movie battle scene to have been shot. It’s the American soldier’s Vs. the Vietcong; huge squadrons of helicopters fill the Asian skyline, outweighing and outmuscling the basic defenses of the Vietnamese villagers. Ammunition rains down on the coastline as local school children and farmers scurry to find cover. While the battle is of epic proportions, it is equally unsettling. Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyrie” booms away in the background as the napalm rips apart everything in its path.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
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.
Saving Private Ryan: The Storming of Omaha Beach (1998)
This battle scene does an incredible job at capturing the reality of warfare. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the opening scene showing the US Army invading Omaha Beach is a frighteningly real portrayal of the invasion in 1944. Spielberg was advised by Hollywood’s combat specialists Captain Dale Dye which resulted in a World War II re-enactment like never before. As the soldier’s are released onto the beach from their landing crafts, many of them are gunned down immediately. Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) still manages to organise an effective attack against the enemy’s machine guns.
Gladiator: Battle for Germania (2000)
There is something slightly different about the nature of this amazing battle sequence; it takes place in the opening scene. The leader of the Roman Army eventually loses out and is taken slave by the enemy but still shows some high level military tactics that are a wonder to see. It’s the Roman legion Vs. the Germanic tribes and is some of the best battle cinema to be seen. Although it removes some of the reality of a Roman battle formation, as they would never break ranks as they do in the film, the battle portrayal covers all bases and gives the viewer some intense one-on-one duels.
Lord Of The Rings, The Two Towers: The Battle for Helms Deep (2002)
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. 10,000 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.
Kill Bill Vol. 1: The Bride Vs. the Crazy 88s (2003)
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.
300: Battle of Thermopylae (2006)
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 Last Witch Hunter (2015)
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 now on Digital DOWNLOAD on the 29th february, courtesy of Entertainment One