The cinematic kitchen fight is an underutilized aspect of filmmaking. When done right, the kitchen confrontation can be a thing of beauty because there are plenty of inventive weapons — burning stove top, anyone? — with which to inflict pain. I love how cookware, like skillets, can become deadly in the hands of assassins (American Ultra, Grosse Pointe Blank) or Disney Princesses (Tangled).
The following list covers the 10 best cinematic kitchen fights, the main criteria being that the wrangle needs to take place mainly in a kitchen. The Bourne Supremacy features some solid kitchen brawling, but it cannot be considered a kitchen fight because it sprawls out all over a swanky apartment. And I really wanted to include the scrap in Wet Hot American Summer, but since it is a Netflix TV show, it will instead serve as a perfect example of the fights that will be featured.
10. The Bodyguard (1992)
The reason this fight ranks at No. 10 is because it is a one-sided beatdown. Kevin Costner makes perfect use of the kitchen utensils, and I love how he puts the bar stool on the guy and sits on it. Costner doesn’t even have to say a word as he wrecks plates, glassware and cabinetry. While the damage isn’t overly substantial, it sets a great precedent for the rest of the list, with its cookhouse backdrop.
9. Braindead/Dead Alive (1992)
Peter Jackson is a maniac. Leave it to him to feature the weirdest kitchen fight ever. Basically, a beastly baby squares off with two women, and the results are very odd. The repugnant spawn is hit with pans, chairs and other appliances. Eventually, the bub is stuffed into a blender and, in a moment of defiance, vomits all over its unsuspecting foe. Any movie that features a zombie baby leaving a facial indentation in a frying pan is cool with me.
8. Under Siege (1992)
Never attack a chef in his kingdom. The thugs in Under Siege learn a valuable lesson as they are picked apart by Steven Seagal. The kitchen is massive, so it becomes a playground for Seagal's character Casey Ryback to hunt down the villains and throw knives into their throats. I love how the clear glassware shields our hero from their eyeline, thus aiding him in his violent rebuke. I have a feeling Casey the cook knew the kitchen inside and out and how things would go down in any given circumstance.
7. You’re Next (2011)
Spoilers! I love the kitchen fight scene in this thriller flick. You're Next is brutally hilarious in its OTT violence, and features the most insane usage of a blender since, well, since Braindead. I like that director Adam Wingard incorporated a slipping gag, and once again frying pans are used as weapons of face destruction. Erin (Sharni Vinson) is a great horror heroine and her culinary skills are splendid.
6. Jurassic Park (1993)
If it wasn’t for the park's kitchen, the kids would be dino dinner and Jurassic Park would be a very depressing movie indeed. The scene took two weeks to film and director Steven Spielberg specifically wanted it to be set in a familiar location, because he knew viewers would make a connection to what is commonly seen as the heart of the home, and we also have similar items stocking our kitchens. Indeed, the stainless steel appliances were perfect for showcasing raptor breath condensation, and the raised storage areas proved perfect for capturing cool walking shots.
What I appreciate the most is how this scene makes you react intensely to ladles. I for one had always been indifferent to them, but they do play a key role in the kids' survival, so that gave me a newfound respect for the hefty soup spooners after Jurassic Park.
5. Spy (2015)
I love Spy and I think this film's kitchen beatdown perfectly encapsulates fighting amongst the edibles. Everything is used (including lettuce) and there are some great gags involving frying pans (that ol' chestnut), knives and bread. The fight was expertly choreographed, allowing for big laughs and creative violence. Kudos to stunt coordinator J.J. Perry for juggling humor, violence and weaponized wheat. Can't wait for the sequel!
4. Sudden Death (1995)
Can you believe that at the height of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s career, he battled a costumed mascot in the Die Hard ripoff Sudden Death? The fight is surprisingly competitive and I still have no clue how the suited-up woman was able to see with that giant penguin head on. The brawl is a full-on battle that features spin kicks, head-butts and even pepper used as a tool of attack. I love this fight because director Peter Hyams was obviously having fun and embracing the stupidity of the situation. You have to see it to believe it.
3. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
This oceanic sci-fi thriller is my favorite guilty pleasure, and the kitchen fight between LL Cool J and a jerky shark is just glorious. Basically, LL is stuck in a sinking laboratory, and then a shark attacks him in his kitchen. The evil predator hunts LL down, eats his beloved bird and forces him to wedge himself into an oven. LL eventually escapes the heating oven (hell, yeah!) and manages to blows up the shark. And the best part? LL's brilliant one-liner that I guarantee you will never hear again.
Let's break up the fight scenes with a delightful vid of LL rapping Deepest Bluest from the movie's soundtrack. You're welcome.
2. Gremlins (1984)
What I love about this fight is how expectations are subverted. You think Mrs. Peltzer (Frances Lee McCain) is going to take a beating, but she wipes these gremlins out with the aid of her trusty kitchen appliances. It is bloody, brutal, and we get to witness the glory that is a gremlin exploding in a microwave! I love that she didn’t back down and brought the fight to the little punks. We await patiently for the much-longed-for third installment.
1. The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)
This fight is the clear No. 1. Rama (Iko Uwais) is the best action character of the 21st century, and this six-minute melee is a marvel of choreography and dexterity. The scene took eight days to film and features 195 glorious shots of destruction. Gareth Evans is the best action director on the planet, and you know he did something right when you actually feel exhausted following the kitchen punch-up's grand conclusion.
Is there an awesome kitchen brawl from a movie that I forgot to mention? Tell me about it in the comments section below!