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17 'Arrow' Action Sequences That Are Better Than Any Movie

These stunts have not failed this TV show.

From the beginning, "Arrow" has set itself apart as an action-adventure TV show able to consistently wow us with its stunt and fight sequences. On a week-to-week basis, The CW's superhero drama pulls off action scenes with creativity, character development, and sheer cool-ness that are better than most of what we see on the big screen -- and on a much smaller budget, to boot!

With "Arrow" getting ready to embark on its fourth season, let's take the time to recognize some of our favorite vigilante stunts from the past three seasons. Here are 17 of the many action-oriented moments that make "Arrow" that have definitely not failed this city (or the viewers).

  1. We learn Oliver's secret.
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    Hey, remember that time we first met Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and he introduced himself to us by escaping from being bound to a chair, stabbing some guy in the heart with a wooden slat, then chasing his last kidnapper across a warehouse to snap his neck with a creepily resolute: "Nobody can know my secret"? Because we do. With the demonstration of star Stephen Amell's physicality, the creativity of the "Arrow" stunt department, and the relative ruthlessness of Oliver's character, this action scene immediately cemented "Arrow" as a must-watch addition to our TV schedule — not only because of its ability to entertain, but for the way it understood that action scenes and character development do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, it's better if they're not.

  2. Oliver faces off against China White.

    Actually, all of the showdowns between The Arrow and China White (Kelly Hu) have been pretty epic, but this first one, which sees Oliver storming the docks to take out a criminal with close ties to the Chinese Triad, only to be interrupted by Chien Na Wei herself, reinforced the show's commitment to solid action sequences that "Arrow" made in its pilot. Everyone knows that pilots are not always indicative of what will follow if one is ordered to series. In the case of "Arrow," the strength of the David Nutter-helmed pilot was not a fluke.

  3. Oliver runs the Starling City rooftops.
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    Early "Arrow" stunts in particular were characterized by a parkour style that has since been delegated mostly to Roy's (Colton Haynes) arsenal of moves. Back in season one, however, Oliver was all about the free running and climbing. In "Salvation," he used the style to try to find an imposter vigilante with visually stunning results.

  4. Slade takes on Bill Wintergreen.

    Back in season one, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) was just a slightly-curmudgeonly and completely bad-ass mentor to Oliver in the flashbacks to Lian Yu. In this climactic scene, he faces off against his former friend Bill Wintergreen to save Oliver's life. Slade enters the camp in a blaze of glory before the two fighters battle it out in just one of the consistently awesome hand-to-hand combat scenes on "Arrow."

  5. Oliver kills a home invader.

    Moral of the story? Never try to break into the Queen mansion. Seriously. Don't do it.

  6. The Arrow defeats Malcolm Merlyn.

    Every season of "Arrow" ends with an epic fight scene. In season one, it was this rooftop duel between Oliver and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). In the immediate aftermath of "The Undertaking" and Tommy's death, with Starling City looming above them, these two battle it out. The fight is emotionally charged and physically exhausting, and ends with a move Oliver has never used before and will hopefully never use again: stabbing himself with an arrow in order to stab Malcolm.

  7. The Canary introduces herself.
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    Trained by The League of Assassins, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is one of the best fighters Starling City has ever seen. Her return to her hometown in season two as The Canary was mysterious and action-packed as she tried to protect her justice-fighting sister from harm. Her iconic introduction remains one of the best fight sequences in "Arrow" history.

  8. Oliver and Sara battle one of the League of Assassin's, er, assassins.

    When a League assassin shows up at the Queen mansion to take out Sara, we get to see just how great of a team these two are together. This is one of many fights Sara and Oliver engage in side-by-side, but one of the few that sees them both in their civilian clothing, initially weapon-less, and caught totally by surprise by a trained killer.

  9. The Arrow takes the stairs.
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    Why take the elevator or parkour your way down a level when you can slide down the stairs, instead? This delightful, highly gif-able moment came while The Arrow was battling The Clock King's men during season two's "Time of Death." Stunts aren't just about explosions, rooftop-to-rooftop jumps, and epic hand-to-hand battles. Sometimes, it's little touches like this one that can make an entire scene or even episode.

  10. Oliver attempts to disembark The Amazo.
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    He fails.

  11. Team Arrow battles the Mirakuru soldiers.
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    How could you not love the moment that sees almost everyone in this cast teaming up to take down Slade's army of Mirakuru soldiers in the season two finale? Arrow, Canary, Arsenal, Diggle, Lance, and Nyssa are all in top strutting form in this scene. They're pretty good at fighting, too. We're still impressed that "Arrow" managed to pull off a scene with this many moving parts in such an action-packed episode.

  12. Oliver and Deathstroke's final face off.

    "Arrow" doesn't always do the best job at relating its flashbacks narratives to its present-day storylines, but this wasn't the case for the second half of season two, which saw Deathstroke terrorizing present-day Starling City (and Oliver Queen), while flashback Slade Wilson was dosed with the Mirakuru and slowly turned into a revenge-seeking killer. In the final act of the season, we saw Oliver fighting Slade both in the past and the present in equally epic manners.

  13. Arrow invents the boxing glove arrow.
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    Nothing like a call-back to your comic book origins to bring your fight scene to the next level! This may have been a fleeting moment, but we give credit to any comic book adaptation that can pull off something as seemingly untranslatable as a boxing glove arrow to live action TV and make us say "wow" rather than roll our eyes.

  14. Oliver and Ra's duel on a snowy cliff.
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    We still haven't recovered from this cliff-side battle that ended with Oliver stabbed through the chest and pushed off of a mountain. Sometimes, you have to be bold. The "Arrow" writers seem to understand that well, and the stunt coordination/fight design team did not disappoint with the execution of this tense, yet beautifully rhythmic sequence.

  15. Roy learns how to fly.
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    In the season three mid-season premiere, "Arrow" had a lot to prove. By seemingly killing off its eponymous character in the previous episode (spoiler: Oliver survived his duel with Ra's), the show had to operate much of its present-day action without The Arrow. What followed was one of our favorite action scenes of the season, with Roy and Diggle facing off against Brick's men. A particular highlight came when Roy ran down a sparking, bullet-ridden tube, then kicked his way to atop the tube by kicking off of an assailant's chest. Because who needs fairy dust when you have a goon nearby?

  16. Oliver and Thea fight Slade on Lian Yu.

    You know how we mentioned earlier that the best action scenes also do good character development work? Well, this moment, which saw Oliver and Thea (Willa Holland) teaming up to fight Slade while stranding on Lian Yu, was a long time coming on both fronts. After keeping Thea in the dark for more than two seasons, Oliver finally tells his sister the truth about his alter ego, as well as her part in Sara's death. It not only shows how far Thea has come as a fighter, but shows what a good team she and Oliver can be when he trusts her with the truth. Also, Slade is there -- which makes just about every scene better (if not more nerve-wracking).

  17. Team Arrow faces off against The League.

    This was one of the climactic action sequences of the third season and, notably, one of the few scenes (action or otherwise) to take place in the sunlight. Though it might not be the climactic fight of the season -- that belonged to Ra's and Oliver, re-hashing their earlier duel, but this time in Starling City -- it gave the audience a chance to see all of season three's many moving parts come together. This included a tragically fierce duel between Tatsu and Maseo, a hilarious moment involving Felicity and an iPad, and Diggle having absolutely no qualms when it comes to breaking the unspoken "no guns" rule Nanda Parbat seems to adopt. "Arrow" action at its finest.