5 Movies With Action-Packed BJJ Fight Scenes

During the stay-home circuit breaker period brought on by COVID-19, Singapore BJJ gyms have had to temporarily close. And while we can’t get rolling with our favorite training partners, it doesn’t mean we have to put BJJ on the shelf entirely. We can continue to train at home via online classes and, if you’re craving even more BJJ in your life, you can watch BJJ related movies!

Action movies have a way of captivating audiences with surreal fight sequences. They feature acrobatic stunts that are hard to believe but play out so cinematically on the big screen.

Of course, a lot of the fight sequences feature elements of different martial arts such as kung fu, aikido, Muay Thai, boxing, karate, and the like. It certainly comes as no surprise then, that many if not all fight sequences are choreographed by real martial artists.

Yet aside from the usual striking martial arts, fans of action movies should know that many of their favorite films actually contain elements of the grappling arts, particularly BJJ. Yes, you may not have known it, but BJJ has shown up quite often in action movies.

From the very subtle transitions and takedowns, to very obvious joint locks, chokeholds, and other submissions, BJJ is prominently featured in some of the most memorable fight sequences in a handful of popular films.

Let’s take a quick look at some amazing BJJ techniques that made it to the movies. Today, Evolve Daily shares five action movies that feature BJJ fight scenes.

1) John Wick: Chapter 2

You can never count Keanu Reeves out of any situation, especially since the veteran actor is known for his portrayal of the ultra-dangerous hitman-for-hire, John Wick.

In the second installment of the popular franchise, “John Wick: Chapter 2”, Reeves exacts vengeance for his dog, who was killed when he was ambushed in his home by a former acquaintance. Reeves then returns to the criminal underworld and goes on a mission to take out the very man who has put an enormous bounty on his life.

A lot of the action sequences are well-thought-out, and Reeves is seen executing a host of different martial arts techniques, including judo and aikido, in addition to BJJ. In this collection of highlights, fans can clearly discern a handful of BJJ submissions such as the kimura and rear naked choke executed by Reeves’ foes.

It should come as no surprise to fans, as Reeves has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts disciplines throughout his acting career, including BJJ, boxing, judo, karate, and Krav Maga.


2) Warrior

The 2011 MMA-centric film “Warrior”, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and veteran actor Nick Nolte, was a movie that featured a very heavy mixed martial arts theme.

An ex-US Marine (Hardy) returns home to train in mixed martial arts by his alcoholic former boxer of a father (Nolte). This leads him down the path of competing in a high-profile mixed martial arts tournament where he soon meets his estranged older brother (Edgerton) in the final round to compete for the cash prize.

It’s a family drama that draws themes of honor, respect, and courage, as well as betrayal and forgiveness.

Since there’s a load of MMA fight scenes, though, naturally, BJJ is very prominent. In this particular scene, the two brothers face off in the tournament finals, and Edgerton gets Hardy in an armbar first, before transitioning to a modified kimura, effectively dislocating Hardy’s shoulder.

If you’ve never seen this movie, you should. It’s one of the best MMA movies ever made — a definite must-watch.


3) Haywire

One of the very first women to transition from the cage to the silver screen is former Strikeforce Champion Gina “Conviction” Carano. Carano is a pioneer of women’s mixed martial arts and is a legend in the sport.

When she retired from professional competition, Carano pursued an acting career in Hollywood where she would go on to star in films such as Fast and Furious 6, Deadpool, and Kickboxer: Vengeance.

Playing the role of black ops super soldier Mallory Kane in the 2011 film “Haywire”, Carano showcased her awesome fighting skills against multiple assailants, including executing the perfect rear naked choke.

Carano began her mixed martial arts career in 2006, going on to win seven fights in a row. In 2009, she lost her first match and was knocked out by Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in the first round. Carano has never returned to professional competition since.


4) Entourage

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey made a brief appearance in the 2015 TV-to-film transition of “Entourage”. Rousey, then undefeated and the reigning champion, was widely received as one of the most dangerous women on the planet when this movie was launched.

In this scene, Rousey plays herself, as Turtle (played by Jerry Ferrara) tries to ask her out on a date. Rousey challenged Turtle to last just 30 seconds with her in the cage. If he could do that, then she would agree to go out with him. Luckily for Turtle, he got through the half-minute, but not before Rousey would catch him in her infamous armbar.

At the height of her powers, Rousey became famous for her use of the armbar and was an absolute force to be reckoned with. She was nicknamed “The Arm Collector” because although opponents knew the armbar was coming, they could do very little to stop it from happening. Rousey effortlessly combined her Olympic-grade judo with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing to supplement her effective skill set.


5) Oblivion

In the 2013 sci-fi action film set on a dystopian Earth, veteran actor Tom Cruise is assigned to extract the planet’s remaining resources before humanity departs and moves to another planet for good. Co-starring Morgan Freeman and Andrea Riseborough, Cruise embarks on a journey of self-discovery and soon realizes that not everything he knows is true.

In this incredible scene from the movie, Cruise squares off with a clone of himself, and proceeds to do battle featuring an array of striking combinations and throws. Once action hits the ground however, Cruise is able to throw up a triangle choke, and eventually defeat a version of himself.

The triangle choke is one of the most prolific submissions in BJJ, and quite often used in mixed martial arts competition. It’s an effective maneuver to incapacitate any opponent quickly on the ground.

That he’s able to pull off such a technique should come as no surprise to long-time fans of Cruise. As a 15-year old, Cruise wrestled for the Glen Ridge High Wrestling Team.

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