Aliens, bombs, ninjas, gangsters, firearms, strippers, implants, spaceships, sledgehammers, exploding body parts, geysers of blood and evil robots—it’s all here in the 10 best action scenes of 2009. If you like martial arts, science fiction, Victorian England or just good old-fashioned mayhem, you’ll love this. Warning: spoilers.

  1. Escaping MNU – The best action scene of 2009 is in the year’s best film, “District 9.” Wikus and Christopher Johnso break into the MNU headquarters to find some special space liquid and end up engaged in a brutal firefight with a squad of mercenaries. Melee ensues. You won’t believe what alien weapons can do until you see it.

  2. Disarming the Car Bomb – This happens a few times in “The Hurt Locker,” but we refer in particular to the scene in which William James disarms a car bomb without his equipment as suspicious figures lurk on nearby roof tops. It’s taut, sparse unbearably tense, and one of the 10 best actions scenes of 2010.

  3. Fighting the Giant Guy Ritchie returned to top form with his kinetic take on “Sherlock Holmes.” In the film’s best action scene, Holmes fights a French giant with a massive hammer. Wood splinters, bones crunch, quips fly and a ship sinks to the bottom of the Thames. Here here.

  4. Disarming the Drill – Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot brought the energy of “Star Wars” to the usually intellectual and somewhat slow series. In the film’s best action sequence, Kirk and Harold from “Harold and Kumar” fight Romulans on an enormous laser-beam emitting space drill. There’s fire, swords, exploding planets and more in one of the best action scenes of 2009.

  5. Stairwell Escape –  In one of the best action scenes of 2009, Johnnie To orchestrates an explosive and rain-soaked bout of gunplay on an apartment building staircase. It’s better seen that described, but suffice it to say there’s a group of hired killers trapped on a staircase between two groups of even more ruthless killers.

  6.  The Final Battle – The final battle in “Avatar” is a sight to behold. One of the best action scenes of 2009, it features pin wheeling Na’vi riding pterodactyl-like creatures, brutal artillery vehicles, infuriated space elephants and a harrowing battle to the death. It was huge, spectacular and unlike anything we’d seen before.

  7. “Strip Club Shoot Out” – “Crank: High Voltage” goes something like this: the Chinese mob steals Chev Chelio’s heart but keeps him alive so they can harvest the rest of his organs. With a set up like that, it’s no surprise that there’s a shoot out in a strip club between men with tattooed faces and exotic dancers carrying pistols. Warning: exploding implants.

  8. The Gas Station – “Terminator Salvation” had a promising premise but lean development. What the film lacked in dramatic clout it made up for with expertly directed action scenes. The gas station sequence features giant robots, animated motorcycles, visceral clobberings and the death of bizarre old woman.

  9. Fighting the Sort Of Ninja Dudes – We know that ninjas are Japanese, so we’re not exactly sure what to call those guys that Thai martial artist Tony Jaa beats the turd out of at the end of “Ong Bak 2.” They look like ninjas and they wield ninja-like weapons. In one of the bet action scenes of 2009, they get their asses handed to them by the furious knees and flailing elbows of an angry man.

  10. Escaping the Game – “Gamer” is trash through and through. The editing is rubbish, the script is terrible, it’s disgustingly violent, the plot is trite…you get the point. But it’s really fun trash, and trash with one of the best action scenes of 2009, in which burly Scotsman Gerard Butler escapes the confines of the titular game as bodies are blown to smithereens around him.