Following the emergence of filming techniques over the past decade, film stunts have become more and more complex as the years have gone by.
While many Hollywood studios may now be over-reliant on CGI to bring their films to life and add to the suspense the film director is trying to create, there remains a place for the odd amazing piece of stunt work.
After all, what would the James Bond series of films be without their infamous car chase scenes? Or Mission Impossible without Tom Cruise flailing hopelessly outside the side of an airplane?
With this in mind, join us as we run through some of the best action movie stunts to have been seen on the big screen in recent years. From death-defying falls to adrenaline-fuelled parkour, let’s get started.
Transformers Dark Of The Moon – The Wingsuit Leap
While the third film in the Transformers film series may not get the best reputation, that is through no fault of the stunt team.
In one of the Transformers: Dark Of The Moon’s later scenes, we see a number of the film’s stars falling through the sky wearing wingsuits – a scene many people believed was filmed in a closed-studio environment using CGI. However, this wasn’t the case.
Looking to make the shot look as realistic as possible, director Michael Bay actually hired a team of daredevils to leap off Chicago’s Sears Tower for real.
It’s difficult to deny just how awesome the shot turned out to be, following each stuntperson as they navigated through the air.
However, the film didn’t come without its issues. In fact, back at the time it was released, an on-set accident involving a stunt person and the use of a concrete barrier was widely reported, leading to a large pay-out from the film studio.
6 Underground – Ukraine Parkour Fall
In another of Michael Bay’s films, 6 Underground follows a group of six individuals from across the globe, each with a unique set of skills and a determination to reset their past to safeguard their future.
As you might have guessed with it being a Michael Bay film and all, the action movie is jam-packed with stunts – from high-speed car chases through the streets of Italy to death-defying free-running across the roofs of Florence.
However, in one of the film’s most jaw-dropping feats of stunt work, we see an insightful flashback into how Four – one of the six-team member’s – joined up with the team in the first place.
Following a team of four free-runners throughout a building in Ukraine, the scene culminates in the four parkour pros from Storror swinging mid-air from a large sign and falling from at least 100-feet high through several rooftops and obstacles along the way.
Skyfall – The Train Scene
Regarded by many as the best Bond film ever, Skyfall features one of the best stunts of all time as well.
In the film’s opening scene, we find Bond – portrayed by Daniel Craig – hot on the heels of a mercenary who has stolen a hard drive containing confidential information.
Following a series of car chases, close encounters and fight scenes, we eventually find Bond and the mercenary called Patrice battling it out on top of a moving train on a bridge based high up from a river.
Adding to the suspense even further, we also see Moneypenny readying a sniper rifle waiting for the ideal opportunity to take Patrice out. However, despite having no clear shot, she’s ordered to take the shot regardless, hitting Bond in the process and causing him to fall hundreds of metres into the water below.
Surprisingly, rather than hiring a stunt double for the scene, the film’s stunt coordinator said that Daniel Craig actually did most of the work, determined to make it look as realistic and well-coordinated as possible.
The Dark Knight Rises – Bane’s Rescue
In the final film of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the opening scene of The Dark Knight Rises sees masked villain Bane – portrayed by Tom Hardy – captured and in need of rescue from a plane.
Taking place in the skies above the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, the scene captures a group of stuntmen moving from one plane to another with ease, before blowing it up and seeing it falling fast to the ground below. Bane inevitably escapes, killing off innocent CIA agents and setting up the rest of the film in the process.
While it’s hard to imagine the seemingly-impossible scene was produced without CGI, it really was, showcasing the death-defying bravery of the stunt team involved.