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An opening sequence can be important. In sums up what we, as an audience, should expect from the rest of the movie. A drama could give us a long, emotional shot of the character in turmoil to let us now that we are watching a character piece. A love film could give us a montage of happy couple moments to let us now that we are probably watching something soppy. And as for an action movie, the first sequence is usually the make-or-break moment that lets us know if the rest of the movie is any good. Below are four movies that almost peaked far too early with these amazing opening scenes.

4 – STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

We expected a lot from Star Trek. We expected the quirky character traits shown off that we loved so much in the last film. We expected amazing visuals, maybe of a new planet. We wanted action, special effects, comedy. Maybe even a bit of drama to perhaps bring a tear to our eyes. Star Trek not only delivered all of those high expectations, but did it all in the first scene.

Tell costume department I hate them!

Tell costume department I hate them!

We are given Kirk and Bones running from a tribal alien race. Instantly, action is thrown at us, but a few great comedy moments too. The entire planet is colourful, red leaves shining out from the big screen at us. At the same time, this perilous chase is going on, Spock is being dropped into a volcano with a tight deadline to stop the eruption and save the planet. It goes wrong and his life is put at risk. Kirk ends up making a tough choice. Does he break protocol to save Spock and reveal his superior technology to a primitive race? Or does he let his best friend die in the volcano, a solution even Spock is backing? We have only just sat down and our heads are spinning.

J. J Abrams knew he had to work hard to top the first Star Trek film and he hits us from the get-go, smoothly blowing away any worries that he couldn’t pull off the same trick twice. It was a smart move and we cannot help but let a smile reach our lips. Abrams is a worthy director to take on Star Wars next year.

3 – KILL BILL

Quentin Tarantino meets martial arts. It is the kind of film that we have been waiting for. Tarantino knows how to open a film – Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction gave us a slow, amusing start before we dived into the intricate story. Inglorious Basterds gave us one of the tensest openings ever. Kill Bill tops the Tarantino openings however with pure carnage.

It is basically an awesome karate fight without any context, so we, as an audience, just got unfiltered violence. We could deal with the whys and the whos later; for now, we just settled back and watch Uma Thurman kick some ass. This is good enough, but the scene goes all Tarantino and the two fighters sit back and have a conversation about the old times, littered with the amazing dialogue Tarantino never fails to deliver. Sometimes I watch this opening scene on its own, if I do not have the time to sit down and enjoy the whole thing.

2 – AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

My main worry for Avengers Assemble was that it would fall under the biggest flaws of most superhero movies. It would take its time to explain what was going on and we would be treated to a slow origin story of the Avengers team and a final act showdown with Loki. However, I suspected that Joss Whedon was better than that, and he didn’t let me down. While setting up the scene in the opening sequence, Whedon also gives us one of the biggest, most explosive fights in the whole movie.

YES! Seven films and I finally get to fire a gun! Scoreboard!

YES! Seven films and I finally get to fire a gun! Scoreboard!

We get helicopters falling from the sky, a bridge crashing in on itself and a whole army base being sank to the ground (similar to the collapse of the Hellmouth in Buffy). It must have cost a fortune to film, yet it isn’t even the first ten minutes of the movie. Even more surprising, we don’t even get to see one of the leading four superheroes. This is just the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D fighting Loki, suggesting that Whedon has several more cards up his sleeve. Avengers Assemble is paced brilliantly and this opening scene is one of the best examples for how good the film is I can give.

1 – GOLDENEYE

Bond was, of course, going to be featured in this article. 007 movies always work on giving us the best opening sequences possible. I am choosing Goldeneye as the example to show off the Bond opening sequences, because as well as giving us an awesome action opener, it had the job of introducing Pierce Brosnan to the role of Bond. And it did a fine job.

Hey James, I have a good feeling. I might survive this movie.

Hey James, I have a good feeling. I might survive this movie.

First, we are treated to a jaw-dropping bungee job into a secret base, using the Tusker Dam. This is before we even see Pierce’s face. Then we are introduced to 007 and 006, the two principal characters of the movie. They do some spy work, involving bomb-setting and taking out Russian soldiers. Then Treveylan is murdered by villainous Ourumov. There is a fantastic tense scene, where Bond escapes the dozens of soldiers, pointing guns at him (also giving us some comic relief, which broke the tension sweetly). And to cap it off, we are given one of the most amazing stunts in Bond history, where he motorbikes off a cliff to jump into a falling plane and pilots it in the nick of time. Our heart is in our mouths the entire time. It is a fantastic piece of cinema and this is only the first twenty minutes of the film.

2 thoughts on “4 Amazing Opening Sequences to Action Movies

  1. Couldn’t agree more. This list is perfect. And that Goldeneye opening… I don’t know if I have any movie that beats it for best opening. I definitely enjoyed Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith’s opening. It opens with a huge space battle, follows our heroes aboard a ship, allows for some funny moments, then gets serious with a lightsaber duel. Oh, and then there’s a fantastic crash landing. Great opening, but still can’t beat Goldeneye.

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