Top 10 Sci-Fi Martial Arts Movie Fights

Science fiction movies and TV shows take their audience on wild adventures and explore new ideas and concepts about humanity, technology, and life itself.

When one thinks of sci-fi movies, the kinds of stories that spring to mind are trips across the galaxy, time-travel, exploring the multiverse, sentient machines, and alien invaders.

Because of wild stories like these, sci-fi movies often have a hook to pull action fans on-board, and some of the best ones around have an abundance of martial arts action.

Sci-fi movies incorporating martial arts into their stories are often a genre-combo that’s impossible not to get fascinated about, with some of the most unique and inventive martial arts movie fights to be found in sci-fi movies.

And that, of course, means it’s time to strap in for another epic – and this time galactic – KFK rundown list, followers, as here, in descending order, are the Top 10 Sci-Fi Martial Arts Movie Fight Scenes!

10. Zhi vs. Owens – “Skylines”

Liam O’Donnell’s 2017 movie “Beyond Skyline” set the precedent of human martial arts warriors battling alien invaders, and while there’s plenty of that in the 2020 sequel “Skylines”, there’s also some superb human vs. human action in the third installment of the “Skyline” franchise.

Case in point – the pitched battle of Cha Lee-yoon’s Zhi against Daniel Bernhardt’s Owens.

While both Cha and Daniel bring their Taekwondo bonafides with their kicking skills into the fight, the addition of plenty of scalpel-wielding, kung fu-trapping close quarters action adds more diversity to the fast-paced fight choreography at work.

With fight scenes like this in “Skylines”, the “Skyline” franchise continues to be the most dynamic and fun blend of sci-fi and martial arts on the current cinematic landscape.

9. Jake Barnes vs. Brax – “Jiu Jitsu”

Jake Barnes vs. Brax – “Jiu Jitsu”

Okay, so the title of 2020’s “Jiu Jitsu” might be akin to the 2010 remake of “The Karate Kid” in terms martial arts identification, but really, with fight scenes as splendid as the showdown of Alain Moussi’s Jake Barnes against the alien warrior Brax, the viewer’s priority is on the stellar fight choreography on display.

“Jiu Jitsu” itself is quite the martial arts movie ensemble of Alain Moussi, JuJu Chan Szeto, Tony Jaa, Marrese Crump, Frank Grillo, and Nicolas Cage, with the movie’s plentiful martial arts battles culminating in Jake’s battle to fulfill Brax’s galactically obligated human vs. alien showdown every six years.

Alain Moussi’s Van Damme-style jump-spinning kicks pit up against Brax’s sword slashes make for an exhilarating sci-fi showdown, and per the built in rules of “Jiu Jitsu”, Brax could very well be back for round two six years later.

8. John vs. Luc Deveraux – “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning”

The “Universal Soldier” franchise has been retconned, revamped, and semi-rebooted three times throughout its run.

One constant has always been its outstanding martial arts battles, eventually culminating in the best one of all in Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s climactic smackdown in “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning”.

The movie’s series of dark twists and turns make a full rundown of how John and Luc Deveraux come head-to-head next to impossible to give a cliff notes version of, so just suffice it to say that Scott and Van Damme’s showdown is a bloody and gripping battle of UniSols past and present.

Fight choreographer extraordinaire Larnell Stovall hits another home run with the finale of “Day of Reckoning”, adding a nice gimmick of a machete constantly being disarmed and retrieved between John and Devreaux.

Scott Adkins even pulled this fight scene off on a knee injury that he later underwent surgery to fix, testimony to his true action star’s tenacity!

7. Neo and Smith’s Final Showdown – “The Matrix Revolutions”

After the 1999 original, “The Matrix” franchise became increasingly polarizing, but over twenty years after the release of “The Matrix Revolutions”, Neo’s final showdown with Agent Smith is still one of the most epic sci-fi martial arts fights of all time.

With Yuen Woo-ping’s always stellar fight choreography, the fight’s use of wire-fu and CGI is more extensive and explosive than ever, which are the exact traits that any final battle for the fate of the world must have.

Aside from its own merits as Neo and Smith’s final martial arts duel (before 2021’s “The Matrix Resurrections”, that is), the finale of “The Matrix Revolutions” also clearly proved to be highly influential on fight scenes in the modern superhero movie boom – watch Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” if you have any doubts about that!

6. Neo vs. 100 Agent Smiths – “The Matrix Reloaded”

2003’s “The Matrix Reloaded” helped push the popularity of Hong Kong style action in Western action movies with Yuen Woo-ping’s always amazing fight choreography.

For “The Matrix Reloaded”, Woo-ping stepped Neo’s rivalry with Agent Smith up several notches by pitting against not one but one hundred Agent Smith’s in the movie’s famed “Burly Brawl”.

Even with his infinite knowledge of all martial arts and near omnipotent power, Neo finds that Smith might be too much for even The One to handle after his transformation into an anthropomorphic computer virus who can take over anyone in the Matrix.

The burly brawl is still an amazingly flurry of action with all the necessary wire-fu and CGI augmentation to capture both Neo and all the Smith’s power.

Additionally, with Chad Stahelski returning as Keanu Reeves’ stunt man for “The Matrix Reloaded”, the burly brawl plants a few more seeds for the action-packed magic both would later bring as director and star of the “John Wick” franchise!

5. Evelyn vs. Two Enemies – “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

The fate of the entire multiverse comes down to one laundromat owner becoming a kung fu warrior in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, and Michelle Yeoh‘s Evelyn Wang rises to the occasion against two highly formidable opponents in one of the movie’s stand-out fight scenes.

Andy and Brian Le of YouTube Martial Club fame play Evelyn’s enemies here as well as serving as the movie’s fight choreographers, and bring a blast of Hong Kong-style flair and some very wacky physical comedy to their smackdown with Michelle.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” not only became a box office hit, but swept the 2023 Oscars, even taking home the Best Picture win.

When you’re a multiverse sci-fi comedy martial arts flick, that’s only possible with fight sequences of a Hong Kong-level caliber, and Evelyn’s two-on-one fight most definitely delivers that standard in spades!

4. The Temple Showdown – “Beyond Skyline”

Before 2017, humans fighting alien invaders with the art of Pencak Silat wasn’t on the radar of anyone but Liam O’Donnell.

Fortunately, “Beyond Skyline” dropped just in time for Christmas that year to deliver in spades on just that idea.

While there are plenty of great action scenes throughout “Beyond Skyline”, the last stand of the human resistance fighters led by Frank Grillo, Iko Uwais, and Yayan Ruhian in a Loatian temple simply takes the cake of bringing armed and unarmed Silat combat to a showdown with alien invaders in an ancient setting.

It culminates in Iko’s Sua deploying the “Power Claw” with all the impact its name implies!

Don’t worry about Yayan Ruhian’s Huana losing both arms and a leg in the finale of “Beyond Skyline”, by the way – “Skylines” takes care of that minor issue in the most “Skyline” manner possible!

3. Gabe vs. Yulaw – “The One”

The multiverse has become more mainstream than ever in the last few years, but 2001’s “The One” got ahead of the game with its story of Gabriel Yulaw teleporting throughout the multiverse to assassinate his alternate selves and absorb their energy to become “The One”.

Originally conceived as a vehicle for The Rock in the infancy of his movie stardom, Jet Li assumes the roles of Yulaw and all his alternate selves, including the last one left, Gabe Law, which leads all the way up to the historic Jet Li vs. Jet Li showdown that is the centerpiece of “The One”.

Jet Li in his prime always knew how to amaze with his speed and fluidity, and viewers get that twice over with two Jet Li’s in the movie’s finale.

Even better, “The One” differentiates them by having Gabe and Yulaw utilize distinctly different forms of kung fu – specifically Baguazhang and Xingyiquan – to reflect their personalities and add even more dimensions to one of Jet Li’s most unique fight scenes.

One additional bit of trivia – Ke Huy Quan worked as a stunt coordinator on “The One” (alongside the movie’s fight choreographer, the great Corey Yuen), and would later go onto to appear alongside Michelle Yeoh in the 2022 multiverse martial arts flick “Everything Everywhere All At Once”!

2. Alita vs. Grewishka – “Alita: Battle Angel”

It may have taken James Cameron 22 years to bring his passion project “Alita: Battle Angel” from the pages of Japanese manga to cinema screens, but with Cameron’s track record of blockbuster gold, good things always come to those who wait.

With the invaluable help of director Robert Rodriguez and fight choreographer Garrett Warren, “Alita: Battle Angel” is no different, especially with Alita’s astonishing performance capture-enhanced fight scenes with her fellow cyborg’s including Jackie Earle Haley’s sadistic Grewishka.

The movie’s Alita vs. Grewishka showdown amazingly recreates one of her most famed manga battles (albeit with another hulking cyborg, Makaku), with Alita fighting valiantly and seemingly on the verge of defeat after being chopped apart.

Of course, Alita’s never been one to accept defeat, and seldom has a sci-fi fight scene, money shot or one-liner hit as hard as Alita’s one-armed rebuttal to Grewishka’s mocking desire to hear her beg for mercy.

It obviously goes without saying, but Alita’s battle with Grewihska is one of countless factors making “Alita: Battle Angel” a cult classic that fans around the world are eagerly waiting for the long-promised sequel news for.

…and in at no.1 is…

Neo vs. Agent Smith – “The Matrix”

While there were plenty of examples of martial arts/sci-fi hybrids before “The Matrix”, the Wachowski’s 1999 magnum opus arguably introduced and even defined that concept for much of modern culture.

Neo’s climactic subway station duel with Agent Smith in “The Matrix” is a fully harmonious symphony of two different character arcs working together in tandem – Agent Smith revealing himself for the humanized A.I. villain that he is, Neo coming to accept that he indeed is The One.

At the same time, the final fight of “The Matrix” cemented bullet time, wire-fu, and Hong Kong-style martial arts firmly into the minds of Western audiences.

Yuen Woo-ping’s fight choreography was a completely new revelation for Western moviegoers in 1999, and the superhuman levels Neo and Smith are able to take their fighting skills too just made it even more mind-blowing.

And talk about a crowd-pleasing action hero one-liner when Neo rebuts Smith constantly referring to him as Mr. Anderson with “My name…IS NEO!”

Neo and Smith would go on to fight many more martial arts battles throughout “The Matrix” franchise, but the first Neo vs. Smith showdown in “The Matrix” remains both their best, and stands as the best sci-fi martial arts movie fight scene!

So there we have it folks, KFK’s shortlist of the Top 10 Sci-Fi Martial Arts Movie Fights!

Did any of your picks make the list? What are some of your favorite combat sequences from sci-fi martial arts films? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation/share this on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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