Iron Man 3 just came out and perhaps you’re wondering why that’s the opening of a blog on a freight forwarder’s site.
What caught our attention is the movie spent some weeks shooting at the Port of Wilmington. As can be gleened from their website, the Port of Wilmington “is a full-service deepwater port and marine terminal handling about 400 vessels annually with an annual import/export cargo tonnage of more than 5 million tons.”
And yes, we’ll import or export for you through that port. But I’m digressing.
Watching Iron Man 3 and seeing the big climactic finish of the movie happen at the port (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the movie for you), it made me think of how ports and shipping containers are appearing more and more in movies.
Being something of a cinephile, I decided to compile a list of the top 9 port or shipping container scenes in film.
Yeah, top 9, so what? You wanted 10, make your own list!
So I’m starting at number 9 and working my way down:
9) Double Impact – Van Damme Bolo Yeung Fight
Just barely making the list is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Double Impact. Surrounded by old school shipping crates, Van Damme and Bolo Yeung have their big, climactic fight scene. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a classic Van Damme movie: Jean-Claude doing a lot of kicking, especially of the round house variety, and then everything blows up.
I’m pretty sure this fight scene was shot in a soundstage rather than at an actual port or warehouse. Like I said, it barely made the list; however, with the explosion we get an exterior shot of Van Damme diving into the water, shipping containers behind him, to avoid needing to be shipped off in a box himself.
This Youtube video gives the movie in a nutshell, including the port scene that got it onto this list.
8) Step Up Revolution – We Are the Mob
I’ve never been one for dance movies, but this moment had to make the list as it is the climactic dance scene of the movie in which shipping containers take center stage. Or perhaps better said, the shipping containers are the center stage.
Dancers are doing their thing through, between, and on the shipping containers. Yes, there is some corniness here (was there not with Van Damme?), but there’s also a great deal of impressive and creative dancing.
7) Eraser – One Hand Shipping Container Hang
Did you think Jean-Claude Van Damme could make this list without Arnold Schwarzenegger making an overshadowing appearance?
Unlike Double Impact’s scene, this one had no trouble making the list. In the midst of gunfire and exposions, Schwarzenegger’s character, John “The Eraser” Kruger jumps, grabs a craned shipping container, and does a one hand hang from it.
There’s a clip inside this youtube video trailer for the movie.
6) I, Robot – Countless Cargo Containers
To avoid being a spoiler, I won’t go into much detail here as it’s the ending scene of the movie. There’s a huge storage space with countless cargo containers.
Thinking it’s possible that you really want to watch this movie but just haven’t gotten to it during the last 9 years, I won’t tell you who’s looking out at the cargo containers or what’s in them.
This isn’t a scene shot at a port and what you see is probably completely a CG effect. For those reasons, I was going to bump it from the list; however, using countless cargo containers (fake as they may be) this scene raises issues of existential philosophy for the audience to consider and gives a nice touch of poignancy to the end of the film.
Here’s a trailer pulled from Youtube.
5) Lethal Weapon 2 – Watch Out for that Shipping Container!
This scene is a little on the violent side. Like the first scene on this list, we have a fighting scene with lots of kicking. On the brighter side, Lethal Weapon 2 is a better movie than Double Impact and instead of old school shipping crates, we have actual shipping containers.
A couple shipping containers create a backdrop, but the real shipping container featured in this is the one that’s actually used to take out the bad guy.
If you watch the following Youtube clip, be prepared for a touch violence:
4) Batman Begins – Batman’s First Appearance
After it seemed George Clooney and Joel Schumacher killed Batman’s movie franchise, the only way to get Batman movies going again was to start over. That’s exactly what Christopher Nolan did with his highly successful takes on the classic superhero.
High on the list of port or shipping container scenes comes the scene where we first see Batman in action in Batman Begins.
In this scene, shipping containers on Gotham’s port at night create dark corridors and hallways of sorts for Batman to pick off a gang of goons one by one. It’s the perfect setting for a Batman who uses stealth, fear, the occasional tool from his Batbelt, and, of course, a bit of brute force as weapons.
The scene is masterfully suspenseful and absolutely features shipping containers at the port.
Here’s the clip from Youtube:
3) The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! – Not Really O.J.’s Worst Day
Before going to jail for stealing his own stuff, before being tried for the murder of his wife, before leading the slowest car chase to ever capture the country’s attention, O.J. Simpson was a successful actor.
Well, that may be saying too much.
He was a successful football player and very funny in the Naked Gun movies.
The only scene from a comedy to make this list is O.J.’s big scene at the beginning of the orginal Naked Gun movie.
There are no shipping containers. It’s just O.J. slipping onto a boat and then having every bad thing happen to him that the movie’s writers could think of until he falls out into the water.
The scene makes it this high on the list because, for me at least, it is one of the most memorable movie moments of all time. 25 years after seeing it, I can still clearly picture the scene in my mind and get a chuckle. Yes, it’s slapstick, silly, perhaps immature, but sometimes it’s okay to go there.
As I started thinking about compiling this list, this was the very first scene that came to mind.
It got such a high rank for the scenes ability to leave a lasting impression.
Here’s the clip pulled from Youtube:
2) The A-Team – Plan Comes Together at the Port of Los Angeles
All the way at number 2 is the A-Team. This is a seriously action packed movie that had a field day with shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles.
In the final shootout, they actually did a variation of the old 3 cups and ball trick with giant shipping containers on cranes.
The movie itself received mixed reviews; but, if you enjoy action movies, I can’t see you being disappointed with the A-Team. And if you want to see shipping containers prominently featured in a movie, you don’t need to look any further.
I couldn’t give you the big scene at the port, but here’s the trailer from Youtube:
Finally, comes the number one. And perhaps you guessed it. It’s the movie that inspired this blog.
Iron Man 3 – Climax Shot at the Port of Wilmington
Don’t worry, I won’t spoil Iron Man 3 for you.
I will say that the big, final showdown of the movie was shot at the Port of Wilmington over the course of a few weeks and it has everything you’d want it to have.
There’s action, explosions, big fights, perhaps a quip or two from Robert Downey Jr., and what you want most… shipping containers.
The cast and crew had to go through federal clearances in order to be able to enter and exit the port for the shooting. A special entrance was given just for those working on the film. But the port and the filmmakers worked together to make sure the shooting did not disrupt the operations at the port of Wilmington.
You can check out this little article from WECT 6 for more on the filming at the port.
I won’t say more about what happens in the movie at the port, but I do recommend going to the theatres for this one.
Tell us what you think. Do you agree with this list? Have adjustments on rankings? Are there movies that should be on here which aren’t? Share in the comments section below.