Who doesn’t love a good backward car chase like in Chuck Versus The Intersect, or Chuck being dropped off a building, or dropping 4 stories into a pool while tied to Casey. Or perhaps you’re more a fan of the more pro-active Chuck, taking down Roark’s men in Dream Job or five ring agents in Ring or again in Tic Tac. Chuck features a lot of action to get the blood pumping. We pick our favorites after the jump.
The action sequences on Chuck are a funny thing. Some are almost comic relief, like Sarah’s single-handed assault on Fulcrum headquarters in First Kill. Others really heighten the drama with only minimal action. Think of Tom Sawyer’s cuts between Chuck playing Missile Command, Casey arming a nuclear missile and Sarah assaulting a terrorist held television station. So many great sequences, but you know the rules. Now we choose the episodes that start to finish bring the action at it’s best.
I really want to pick more, but I’d usually be picking them for my favorite fight scenes. Which is all if them. Casey and Sarah squaring off in Helicopter, or Sarah and Casey taking on La Ciudad and her minions in Tango, or even Sarah kicking terrorist butt in the aforementioned Tom Sawyer. And Cougars? Fuggedaboutit. All great picks. But to me there are three episodes that really stand out as action packed.
Chuck Versus The Ring OK, can anything beat a reception hall gun and knife fight followed up by a full tactical airborne commando assault through the skylight all to the soundtrack of Jeffster? Sorry, even Chuck-Fu pales in comparison. I know it’s almost as if I’m picking one scene, but to me that scene IS Chuck Versus The Ring and defines Chuck’s action sequences at their absolute best.
Chuck Versus The First Date Is that a Crown Victoria? Did somebody order drivethrough? It’s OK, I was going for intimidating. Start to finish one of the best Chuck episodes EVER. But the stunts, the fights, and the action in this one make it one of my top picks for action. And that doesn’t even count Thunderdome. They almost make you believe Yvonne could kick Michael Clarke Duncan’s butt.
Chuck Versus The Intersect. In a way it isn’t really fair to compare a pilot to a normal episode. Budgets are bigger, shooting schedules looser, and the idea is to sell what the show can be. But come on. Bryce’s parkour escape from NSA headquarters, computer stealing ninjas and Sarah’s lethal dance moves all followed up by a backwards car chase and two, yes, two major automobile demolitions before we even get to the rooftop standoff and the last second bomb defusing heroics. Action, yep, the pilot has action.
Chuck vs. the Best Friend. It really isn’t safe in the car, especially if said car has a bomb in it. This episode had action: Sarah vs. Smooth Lau. What an epic fight. It had cool cars, car chases, and remote controls. Oh, and exploding cars. You can’t forget that! The look on Sarah’s face when she thought Chuck had been blown up was priceless (why hasn’t Yvonne won an Emmy?!). And the final scene in the Buy More when we are introduced to Jeffster singing Africa , well that is a favorite moment too.
Chuck vs. The Ring. What do paratroopers (btw, I am one), shootouts, a torn bridesmaid dress, and Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian have in common? That would have to be the Bartowski-Woodcomb wedding, part 1. Oh, and that’s only the first 10 minutes or so! We get lessons on creative ways to turn wedding gifts into weapons, how to secure a wedding location, and field expedient decorating. Then, add in a post wedding reception battle between good and evil, and you get Chuck-Fu. Sweet!
Chuck vs. la Angel de la Muerte. “You and what army?” “That would be Sarah, and her fists!” “That is some woman, bro!” “You have no idea.” Embassy dinners, awesome dance number, coupe de tat attempts, and emergency surgery. That is a pretty successful day for most spies.
I grew up with Batman (Pow!! Bop!! Bash!!). Scratch that. I grew up with Reeves as Superman. George Reeves, that is. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than… you get it. Action is where I’m at, and my great realization for the summer is that I really, really prefer Chuck standing up to Shaw saying – saved the best for last!, as opposed to “Girlish-scream Chuck”, who tends to wait for Sarah to save him and Casey to catch him when he falls. A lot.
A great action episode needs more than a great protagonist, though. It requires a great villain, too (duh!). And we’ve had ’em. Lazslo Mahnovski, Frank Mauser, Lizzy, Mitt and the Mighty Jocks… Be afraid. Be very afraid. So my favorite action episodes lean away from heavy emotional and personal conflicts, and get right to the bullets, fists and bombs.
Chuck vs. The Best Friend – I remember this episode first for Chuck and Sarah climbing to new level of understanding in their relationship, and second for Chuck telling Morgan to Grow up, Morgan Grimes. He did, too. Do you remember that Anna also learned that Sarah thought of her as a friend? Ack! All those important and poignant moments. Yet all of those are trumped by Sarah and Smooth Lau in one of the best fight scenes, ever (set to the music of Jane’s Addiction), and an exploding herder. Or was it Sarah’s heart that exploded? I’ll never know which.
Chuck vs. The Dream Job – Did I say great villains? Like Europe, Chevy Chase as Roark “is genius.” Chuck donning armor with Luisa’s Bones thrumming like a heartbeat in the background is wrenching. Stephen saying Now go, or we’ll be a little bit dead., stunning to the senses. Exciting, exciting, exciting!
Chuck vs. The Predator Oh yes, I like “action-jackson” Chuck. But sometimes it’s impossible to act. When Chuck constrains and limits himself he’s a loser. When events are tying him down and making him desperate, then you have to remember Bryce’s words, You always do the right thing, Chuck. He and Vincent are in a dark room, Casey and Sarah are nowhere to be seen, Orion has been taken away and Chuck is defeated. He has only his reputation and his past deeds to fall back on. Guess what – Vincent has heard of him. Had Chuck actually been a bumbling pretender before? In one sentence, in one moment, you forget that. Chuck is transformed from a fraud playing spy-games in the Buy More into a real spy.
This is another hard category, because there are so many good choices. I look forward to the action sequences every show, and unlike the romance, this is something I was looking for when I first tuned into the Chuck pilot 3 years ago. I have noticed the S3 picks are so far pretty light for this category, I think this is something that was really hurt by the budget cuts. There are still some excellent choices here (Angel of Death, Tic Tac, Honeymooners) but nothing quite as good as what they did before.
Chuck vs. The Undercover Lover – Great episode in every way. But Casey taking on Russian thugs with Chuck and two chairs tied to his back is a thing of beauty. Top it off with the long fall to the pool, and this is first rate action work.
Chuck vs. The First Date – Between Chuck’s five story plummet, Sarah’s heart wrenching scream, and our 130 lb. (?) heroine taking on the giant Colt this was a dynamite climax to the S2 premier. Still my favorite episode for introducing newbies to the show.
Chuck vs. The Ring – I think Mr. Roboto and airborne special forces make for the best TV wedding scene ever! Seriously, I smiled and laughed all the way through this scene. Even more remarkable when you consider I wasn’t quite over the vacation/proposal scene yet. I shudder to think what may happen when Chuck and Sarah actually get around to their own wedding!