Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Fight Scenes Set the Bar High for 2022’s Films

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Everything Everywhere All at Once, now playing in theaters.Evelyn's (Michelle Yeoh) journey of internal exploration in Everything Everywhere All at Once is at the heart of the film, driving the emotional storylines she shares with other characters. But in addition to a heart-wrenching story, the movie also has some of the best action-combat sequences from any film in recent memory. In fact, the bizarre hilarity of the brawls helps elevate them even further, ensuring the film is an action highlight of 2022, even if it's being released only three months into the year.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a multiversal sci-fi story that embraces plenty of genres and styles, ranging from absurdly hilarious to heartbreakingly tragic in seconds. But throughout, there's a masterful amount of martial arts on display. Thanks to the multiverse of skills made available to Evelyn, she's able to derive amazing abilities, including drawing on the skills of a version of her who became a world-renowned martial arts film star. This allows Evelyn to access Michelle Yeoh's formidable wealth of combat skills and fight back against the controlled version of Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). And their fight scenes are impressive, with even Curtis showcasing some impressive wrestling moves.

But there are two other elements that elevate Everything Everywhere All at Once even beyond other well-crafted action films. First is the sheer creativity of the combat. There's a keen awareness of surroundings and tools in the fight, allowing the filmmakers to highlight their combat skills with unlikely tools. Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) utilizes a fanny pack as a weapon, turning the simple dorky pack into a weapon to grant him range in a fight -- and he only becomes more dangerous with it once he fills it with pebbles from a nearby aquarium. Evelyn later uses a riot shield as the perfect defense, harkening to her alternate-reality variant who has experience twirling a sign on the side of the road. It's a kinetic and creative application of martial arts, even introducing an entire combat form focused on pinky strikes.

The other element of Everything Everywhere All at Once is that the fight scenes are hilarious. Fitting with the overall absurd nature of the film as a whole, the fight scenes often employ bizarre tactics or details that make them pop visually and stand out from anything before. There are small moments, like Evelyn using her abilities to correct someone's spinal problems mid-fight, leaving them to fall down with a thumbs up and smile, and there are bigger beats, such as her controlling someone ala Remy the rat from Ratatouille. However, nothing quite reaches the ridiculousness of the trophy fight, a tightly choreographed dance of fists, kicks and dodges predicated around Eveyln trying to stop an enemy from shoving a trophy up his butt, only for a second fighter with an even bigger trophy already up his butt to enter the fray.

It's purposefully ridiculous and bizarre and doesn't detract from the natural tension of the well-constructed fight scene. It's also instantly memorable in a perfectly goofy way, the tight fight sequences gaining a comic edge thanks to the fact that the trophies are literally hanging from the men as they fight Evelyn. Not even Big Nose (Jenny Slate) and her eventual use of a pomeranian as a mace can top it. There are few movies as well-crafted in their combat as Everything Everywhere All at Once, but none perhaps since Kung-Fu Hustle that so perfectly melded comedy this funny with action this tight. Even though it's still the first quarter of 2022, it's going to be tough for any movie to top the kind of action Everything Everywhere All at Once throws around.

To see the best fight scenes of the year, check out Everything Everywhere All at Once, now playing in theaters.

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