“I got the guts…but the guts need fuel.” – Barfly
So, inspired by the list of car chases I fired off after being inspired by going to see Drive and then suddenly remembering the brutal stomping Ryan Gosling delivered in that elevator (“Hey, Girl. Just give me a second to clean my shoes. Then we’ll share that sweater…”) I have compiled a new list! This one is sort of tricky and long and will try your patience, but don’t give up early! Would the satin jacket, er, the hero of Drive give up? Didn’t think so. By the way, the last list was in no way definitive because I had to limit the candidates to car-chase movie I owned. So to remedy this problem, this list will be based only on movies I watched today, with special consideration given to VHS copies. Okay, here it is:
THE BEST MOVIE FIGHTS OF ALL TIME
10.) Die Hard
The last fight at the end with the blonde terrorist. I like this scene because all the motivation is on the side of the bad guy. Bruce Willis killed his brother earlier (in a lame fight where the guy just fell down some stairs?!) and now Tom Hanks’ nemesis from The Money Pit is out for revenge. It’s like a little mini-movie that’s more interesting than the whole hostage crisis. I was waiting the whole time for this guy to catch up with ol’ wise-cracking McClaine. And when he finally did, it didn’t disappoint. Even though the end of the fight is a bit of a cheat with the chains, I have to give credit to Bruce for telling the terrorist that he’s going to kill and eat him when they’re rolling around and he’s rabbit-punching him in the back of the bean. That is exactly the kind of gibberish you expect to hear in a fight. None of that noble, “You, sir… will die.” It’s more like, “Fuckin’ fuck, I’ll kill your fuckin’ head or something! Get off my nuts!”
9.) Hard Times
Can’t have any list without a Walter Hill movie! The last fight, of course (it’s almost always the last fight, ain’t it?) when Charles Bronson fights the mob’s ringer, who is so tough he looks to be slightly over the hill, shows up to fight in a suit, and only takes off the shirt. Leaves on the wingtips). Always be wary of the slightly-over-the-hill guys. Remember Tic Tac in Miller’s Crossing? As a fight, it’s a little too conspicuously bloodless, but it’s long and beautiful and has all the ups and downs, confusion, and heartache of a six-month relationship.
9 1/2.) Blade II: Bloodhunt
Sorry, couldn’t help it. Had to do the half floor from Malkovich again like I did with the last list. This is the spot where Matrix and Matrix Reloaded would have been if they weren’t disqualified for using CGI and that awkward, floaty, invisible-wire bullshit during their fights. First I was going to say the fight with the hundred Smiths in Reloaded, but that was way way too fake (especially when he grabs the pole). So then I thought about the first movie a little more and was going to go with the scene when Morpheus fights the agents in that cramped bathroom and heads are cracking toilets and elbows and fists are busting though plaster. But that clearly uses wires to get Morpheus to float fairy-like up that wall and the cramped bathroom brawling reminded me of a classic fight that’s going to go on another list later (in a comedy, no less!). So then I thought, “What’s the best CGI/wire bullshit fight that wasn’t in a Matrix movie?” And the answer is Blade II When the stuntman/tax dodger/new non-actor version of Wesley Snipes fights the uber-vampire at the end and the uber-vampire is swinging him around by his feet and knocking the CGI Snipes’ head through the corners of the concrete walls. So much fun it almost made me forget there wasn’t a man there. Almost (fingers about an inch apart).
8.) Bad Boys
Whoa, whoa. No, not the bullshit Will Smith/Martin Lawrence crap. Anyone remember this 80’s movie with Sean Penn? No, not Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Why has no one heard of this movie?! This was my introduction to Sean Penn, as Mick O’Brian. Jeff Spacoli wouldn’t be allowed at the same party with Mick O’Brian. Penn vs. Esai Morales (last seen drawing Woody Woodpecker, playing the drums badly, and beating on his wife in LaBamba). This was the most realistic fight I’d ever scene up to that point. It was ugly, and it ended up on the ground like all fights do in real life. And it’s the only time I haven’t felt cheated when the good guy spares the bad guy. And there was a great pre-game leading up to this final fight, too, with Penn bashing the fuck out of two prison sodomites with pop cans in pillowcases.
The moral of the story is clear: Guns are bad, kids. Craig’s dad’s warnings about guns (actually more like insults than warnings. He says that kids today are too afraid of getting their asses kicked) finally sink in at the end of the movie and young fortysomething Craig (Ice Cube) puts down the gun and realizes that to pull a trigger in a fist fight is immoral. However, it’s okay to use a fucking brick. Craig’s dad doesn’t notice this contradiction and declares, “That’s my boy!” when Craig brains Debo into oblivion, a villain who was actually less scary in Walter Hill’s Trespass where he was actually killing people (and wearing golf shoes). And I think his dad proudly called Ice Cube a “macaroni,” (!) too. Luckily, they explained how using a brick isn’t cheating earlier in the movie, if you listen close. They were telling another story about another instance that was full of contradictions (“What about that time Debo was choking me in my backyard?”) And, after much thought, someone says, “Oh, that was different.” See what he’s saying? You can apply this wisdom in any situation. Therefore, guns bad, bricks good.
6.) The Deep
The fight between two nameless toadies toward the end when all the double-crossing is going on. And I know I’ve seen these guys as nameless toadies in other movies. I just can’t remember where. One white, one black so that no one gets confused! The white one’s name is Kevin, but no one ever bothers to say the black dude’s name. This is called “casual racism.” This excellent fight involves chains, hooks, an outboard motor (!) and finally a strange neck-breaking duel (?). Seriously. It’s kind of like they’re arm-wrestling, but they’ve got their backs to each other and they’re grabbing ears and chins instead. It doesn’t make sense unless you see it. Maybe not even then. I’m watching it right now.
The final bare-knuckle brawl is a masterpiece of editing, music, and plot revelations. All to the tune of “Fucking in the Bushes” by Oasis, probably their best song because they don’t sing on it. Brad Pitt as “One-Punch Mickey” shows up in the ring hung-over and has to be beaten back into consciousness. And he gets hit so hard by that Italian monster that he’s knocked underwater. What? Yes, underwater in the boxing ring. It’s like one of those trippy Wrigley’s 5 Gum commercials. All part of his plan? Who knows. My theory is that Mickey tried to do the one-punch thing as soon as he walked into the ring, but was too drunk to throw the bomb. It almost knocks the guy out but not quite. Okay, maybe the movie would be funnier if Mickey just kept knocking people out with the first punch after getting paid by gangsters to take a dive, and even after all the threats and the murder of his own mother, he still didn’t understand what a fixed fight was. But if he did that, there wouldn’t have been that last sweet fight. Anyway, the moral is he’s not smart, and those people make the best fights.
Mickey Roarke as Henry Chinawski as Charles Bukowski vs. Frank Stallone (as Sylvester Stallone?) Henry gets his ass handed to him by Eddie the evil bartender, played by Mr. Stallone. (Hey, did you know that the computer’s spellcheck tries to turn “Stallone” into “stallion?” Is the computer a fan?!) And this all happens in the opening seconds of the movie. But we find out later that the only reason Henry lost that fight was because he hadn’t eaten anything! Luckily, he walks into the wrong apartment by mistake and find some bologna and white bread. Fuel! A full stomach turns out to be kryptonite to Eddie, and Henry beats him so bad that Eddie’s two ugly girlfriends start crying. This scene, about halfway through, is the whole point of the movie. You can ignore the “writer” subplot. Okay, sure, Henry gets a short story published, too. But the fight was clearly the climax. “You’re looking at a new man m’boy! I got a full tank of fuel!” Henry says, grinning through a mouthful of blood. Very inspiring to bad writers everywhere. I know mom says not to eat an hour before you go swimming, but you better eat an hour before you pick a fight.
4 1/2.) Raiders of the Lost Ark
Don’t worry, I’m not doing that half floor in Malkovich thing again. I just have to do four-and-a-half because I forgot this movie and I didn’t feel like redoing the numbers. Of course, I’m talking about Jones’ fight with the big bald Nazi outside that freaky looking plane (He probably didn’t even need to fight the guy, could that boomerang thing even fly? Crazy friggin’ Nazi science. No wonder they lost the war). Jones fights one guy, drags himself over to rescue the girl, and out of the tent walks this shirtless goon who wants a go. Jones’ weary “Okay, I’m coming” gestures, then his knees buckling from the first punch are priceless. Jones is losing, until he realizes he has to step it up with an explosion imminent, so he rallies with everything he’s got left and throws three big bombs to get the Nazi’s nose bleeding and distracts him enough to take the propeller blade from that goofy plane right in the mush. When the guy you’re fighting suddenly looks horrified and covers his eyes, you know you’re in trouble. Spider-man kind of did the same thing with that fight. Spider-man is talking a beating and has to rally back to distract the Goblin. Or was the Goblin trying to distract him? I don’t remember because what was most memorable about that movie was when Spiderman took that Goblin bomb right in the fucking grill. Slow-motion lips all flapping ‘n’ shit. Very cool. Sam was channeling his much superior movie Darkman for a moment there.
3.) Cool Hand Luke
Skinny, smirking Paul Newman up against hulking George Kennedy in the prison yard. And this would probably qualify as just a beating and not a “fight” and be on a later list if Luke wouldn’t have taken that last weak shot at Dragline’s face so he’d get angry and pound on him some more. Kept “coming at him with nothin’,” he says later over some beans. I used to wait for that scene as a kid whenever it came on the “Channel 11 4:00 Movie” back in Toledo.
2.) They Live
Low budget John Carpenter silliness with genuinely surprising ten-minute brawl in the middle between the two leads that suddenly stops the movie in its tracks. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Keith David. Duuuuude, he just wants you to put on the sunglasses, man! This fight is so long that even the stars have to start laughing about halfway through. I saw this back in high school, and outside the theater afterwards I heard this one guy kicking stones all the way to his car complaining about how terrible the movie was, but finally having to admit, “Good fight though…”
Those two neo-Nazi-looking slapheads. Brothers? Who knows. All I know is that this scene is great because they are actually hitting each other in the face. That’s the most you can ever ask for in a movie. Utter perfection. Thank you.
RUNNERS ARE UP!
The fist fights are sort of gun fights and vice versa, so in good conscience, I can’t really put one in the Top 10. However, the last fight when those two guys try to shoot each other in the face about 20 times is kind of awesome. P.S. The Gun-Fu in there is about as close as I might venture into the Asian arts of mano-a-mano simply because I think we can all agree that the martial artists in those films can beat any and all American asses at will. And that would be the whole list. Also, whenever I type “martial arts,” I want to type “Martian Arts” instead, and you would just be disappointed no one was fighting martians.
12.) Get Carter (2000) and Get Carter (1971)
Mickey Roarke and another Stallone. Rumor has it that Roarke broke one of Sly’s ribs that day by accident. That’s very funny since he kicked Frank Stallone’s ass in Barfly and 12 years later had a little fuel left in the tank for his brother. What’s next? Mickey Roarke vs. Stallone’s mom? Now, the original Get Carter had a great moment that wasn’t really a fight at all, but there’s no way I’m just going to talk about the terrible sequel and not the original minor masterpiece. Remember the pathetic guy Carter stabbed against the fence? What do you call that? Bringing no gun to a knife fight? Wait, that could be another list! Maybe later…
13.) Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn
Ash fighting his own hand. And the fight is actually a little better when the hand is still connected to his arm. The hand “goes bad” and punches him out, dunks his head in the sink, and then cracks about five plates on his skull. Ash has to chainsaw it off, and then the hand just kind of runs around on its fingertips mumbling and gibbering (gibbering? yes, the hand was gibbering) and flipping him off and setting off mousetraps Tom and Jerry style. The hand is replaced by the same chainsaw that severed it (and pinned down by classic literature. Farewell To Arms! Get it!), then it’s replaced by a medieval robot-hand in the sequel that’s never really used to do anything except catch a sword or crush a beer can. Kind of a waste. Excellent films though. Personal favorites. Named one of my cats “Ash” actually. But mostly I just call him “Little Stupid.” He attacked my friend Nate. That’s another list.
14.) The Boxer
The fight where Daniel Day Lewis and some other guy are boxing and no one is allowed to clap. It’s apparently not polite to cheer while watching a boxing match in England, and the spectators (well-dressed assholes sitting at dinner tables) can only tap on their glasses to show approval. It starts out like the kiss signal those idiots are always doing at weddings, but then something creepy starts to happen. Without the crowd noise the boxing match gets disturbing. Hard to explain unless you watch it, but I think it’s trying to say that fighting is pointless when there is only the sound of the blows and cold British fops watching you do it. Kind of made me angry since I think if they wanted to teach a lesson about the futility of fighting then they shouldn’t have filmed every drop of blood so lovingly and called the goddamn thing The Boxer.
15.) Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead)
When the priest comes out to do battle with the zombie biker punks. It turns out the priest is like a ninja. but he gets bit in the neck, so that makes him a ninja-priest-zombie (?) Okay, it gets kinda complicated. But I have to give a shout-out to the ballsy ending of this film. It’s not a fight really and has no place here, but the best scene in this movie, and hands-down the goriest scene OF ALL TIME, is the showdown with the houseful of zombies and the hero running through them with a lawnmower high in his hands. At about the time he drops the blades down on the fifth or sixth zombie head, this goes so far over the top it becomes, dare I say, “art.”
16.) Body Parts
The barroom brawl when Jeff “Don’t Call Me Lawnmowerman” Fahey hits that guy in the head with the bottle, punches him into the ground, elbows the guys behind him who are trying to pull him off and finally gets kicked in the stomach. Sure, this fight would be unremarkable except for the fact that the “body parts” involved in the fight (Fahey’s right arm, a painter’s left arm, and a basketball player’s legs) were all transplanted from the body of a death row inmate! This idea is actually better than the execution (get it??) but the scene still cracks me up.
17.) Raging Bull
The six minutes leading up to Jake LaMotta (DeNiro) saying, “You never knocked me down, Ray!” still seems like the bloodiest boxing match ever, even though it was in black and white and made little sense. Bit of trivia, the real Jake LaMotta regularly signs posters for this movie because the actor is more famous. That happens a lot. For another example, see Marky Mark in overrated Oscar-bait The Fighter.
Punch Drunk Mickey Roarke again! We’re talking about the last fight, where he’s getting hammered in the rain to the tune of some Eric Clapton guitar wankery. The fight ends with one of my favorite all-time images: Roarke sitting cross-legged in the middle of the ring, blood running down the bridge of his nose smiling while he gets counted out… and dies? Very powerful scene, and I think he really was supposed to be dead there because earlier Christopher Walken tells him that another hit in the head will kill him and every music cue and edit is for maximum emotional impact. The post-fight ending where he walks up to see his girl on the carousel seems like it was tacked on later for whiney test audiences. Can’t prove this though without more funding to continue research.
19.) Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome
Max’s fight against “Blaster” in Thunderdome itself. Not the best fight in the world, I’ll admit. The weapons on the walls are kind of wasted, the goddamn chainsaw is out of gas!?! Inexcusable. Like Chekov said, you can’t show a chainsaw in a post-apocalyptic cage match and not use it. And they’re hopping around on those silly bungee cords way too much for now reason. But it’s a very creative fight scene and, unlike the Matrix movies or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Wires, the puppet strings here are visible.
20.) Rocky IV
Rocky doesn’t make the Top 10 because Rocky fights are too goofy. But they do have their moments, and at first I was going to go with the Clubber Lang fight in Rocky III (Rocky begging for more shots to his own noggin’ with the taunt, “You ain’t so bad!”) because that really is the best comic-book fight in the series, and the best film, but I have to go with Drago’s fight in IV because he picks Rocky up by the neck and hits him so hard he feels it in the sequel! True story. That’s crazy, people! Why isn’t this an insult that’s used daily? Like saying you hit someone so hard you “knocked them into next week!” Or socked ‘em so hard “it killed their kids.” Dude. Think about this. He actually feels it in the sequel. Very impressive. And in that next movie, Rocky is brain-damaged from that shot. That’s even funnier. Rocky V should also be noted as the first time Rocky movies tried to insert a realistic, more down-and-dirty street fight into the silly shenanigans (which he does to even less impressive effect in the final Rocky Balboa) but it was too little too late. However, Rocky does refer to himself as a “ham and egger” and he does hit Tommy “The Machine” Gunn about five times in the back of the head with some nice cheap shots so… Hey! That reminds me…
Okay, I have a confession. Most of that stuff up there was just a ruse, a bamboozle, the rope-a-dope.
SO HERE IT IS!
THE REAL LIST, YOU LUCKY BASTARDS!
Fooled you with that first fight list, didn’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I like those movies, and I meant what I said. It wasn’t just pillowtalk, baby! It’s just that fist-fights are only the tip of the iceberg. The real list is all about cheap shots. It’s all about when you hit the guy when he’s not looking. It’s all about when you hit the guy in the back of the head, right behind the ear (It has to be behind the ear to count, like the opposite of crossing the foul line) and then, in a perfect world, you run away after you do it! That’s what you see out in the world and in bars (and who hasn’t done their share) and sometimes a little dose of reality does end up on the screen.
THE BEST SUCKERPUNCHES OF ALL TIME!!!
“I’ve never been in a fight yet where the other guy threw the first punch. It’s a sure-fire recipe for losing.” -Sean Connery
The first psychic suckerpunch! Here’s what happens: a scanner scans another scanner by mistake at a press conference and his head blows up. Oops. Then the scanner who is left (Michael Ironside from Total Recall and Starship Troopers playing sort of the same (admittedly awesome) role every time) looks around… then runs away! Therefore, funny! The scanner duel at the end is cool, too, with guys staring at each other and popping veins until the good guy finally ignites. That’s what is known as a “decisive loss.” If you are on fucking fire when the fight is over, you lost, Jack. Trivia note: if you glare at something long enough it will not catch on fire or explode. After years of research, I’m finally confident with this conclusion.
9.) The Abyss
“See this? They used to call this ‘The Hammer.’” That’s the set-up by “Cat”, one of the burly oil-workers, as he holds up his meaty fist to threaten the guy who just poured Captain Crunch down the back of his greasy shirt. Teachers call this “foreshadowing.” Then, when Ed Harris is failing miserably (in front of his wife!) to defeat the twitchy Navy Seal one-on-one, “Cat” sneaks up behind the fight says “Hey!” and lets The Hammer fly. Possibly the best punch ever thrown in a film. The Navy Seal (Micheal Biehn who was also in the movie Navy Fucking Seals! Take that, Kevin Smith!) is launched about ten feet backwards, feet flying over his head. This is about equal with the punch in Snatch that sends Mickey underwater (teachers call all of this “suspension of disbelief”). And you know what? This punch in The Abyss sends the Navy Seal underwater, too! What’s up with that shit? I got hit hard enough in high school to get knocked out, but I didn’t end up underwater. I ended up halfway under my car. I sure would have liked to have landed on water instead of concrete that day (elbowing the stranger next to me, looking for agreement). Maybe it’s got something to do with science or the elements or quantum physics or something that makes this crazy magic water appear under your feet. Hey! Maybe if you hit someone even harder, they catch on fire! Wait, that reminds me! Scanners! I will now go back and make Scanners number 10 and move everything else around. Teachers call this “time travel” and will tell you it is impossible.
James Dean runs up and hits Rock Hudson while Hudson’s own men are holding him back. Then he runs away! Therefore, funny! 10 years old and it cracked my shit up. Do you believe me now? Everything is funny if you run away after you do it. Everything. Unless it involves stealing someone’s baby. Or switching it in its stroller with a puppy. Or a stuffed wolverine (the animal, not the action figure). I’m thinking these are the only two exceptions.
And Snatch is back because I may just like saying the word “snatch.” Seriously, that first fight in the ring? One-Punch Mickey is supposed to throw the fight and that shot is great because you don’t expect it. But, you know, I like the very first punch Mickey throws in the movie even better, right after he does his proper stretching excercises. Remember that punch? It looked friggin’ devastating. It even makes one of the main characters start weeping. I was so inspired that I went around talking like Brad Pitt’s character for weeks after that. Which reminds me of the age-old debate: Would you rather fight Mike Tyson… or talk like him? Think about it (tapping the side of my head where the “snatch” tattoo would be).
6.) Hard Times
Gets a second mention because of the surprise bomb Bronson throws early on in the movie to knock out who? Kevin from The Deep! Hey, that’s where I saw that monster before! Poor bastard can’t catch a break. Except his neck. Oh, snap!
5.) Slam Dance
Never heard of it, right? The guy from Amadeus plays “Drood” (?) a hard-drinking cartoonist who is stalked by a skinny madman in a Members Only jacket. Madman in question is played by the writer Don Opper, and he had a very good idea in this flick. He hands Drood his business card which is blank on both sides. Drood turns it over and POP! right in the nose. Sucker. That’s like handing a guy a basketball or a lunch tray before you hit him (I’ve done both of these things). Only this was better because it occupied both his hands and his brain. You know what? If the card had said, “Turn Over” on both sides, Drood would have been unable to stop turning over that card forever, and he would have been in even deeper shit.
4.) Guns ‘N’ Roses Concert: Pontiac, Michigan, 1990
I was in about row 700, but I could see it all on the big JumboTron. About halfway through the song “You Could Be Mine,” a fight breaks out in front of the stage. Axl gets irritated and mutters to the security guards. They try to intervene but get shoved aside. Axl stops on the word “miiii-yyiiine!” and jumps into the crowd feet-first. His cowboy boots come crashing down onto some drunk’s head and security scrambles to throw Axl back onto the stage. About five minutes later, someone is carried out on a stretcher, and he starts the song over all proud of himself. Sure, the chances of him kicking the right guy in the cranium are pretty slim, but the crowd (me included) just decided to pretend that he got him. And here I thought it was me in the nosebleed seats! Hello! Okay, so it’s not a movie, but technically I did watch it on a giant screen so maybe it counts. Hmm, this is trouble. Starting to cross the line into “the real” (no more Matrix!) with concerts (hey, at least it ain’t fights in reality-based programming), so I’ll go back to the regular list ’cause if I start talking about fights in reality, it’s like Jonnie whimpered in Miller’s Crossing, “Where does it all end? And then there’s the ethical question…” Simply can’t be getting caught up on real fight-stories or we’ll be here all night, and they are nothing to brag about. I might end up shamefully telling you about the time I was at a bar in college and everyone was lined up down the stairs to leave and this clown was pushing his way back up the stairs to get his jacket or something and he was shoving guys and girls in the back and yelling at everyone so I moved over and punched him in the back of the head. Ha ha! He wheels around, grabs some poor slob by the neck, some dude next to me that the asshole thought had hit him, and proceeds to beat the shit out of this other guy. I just whistled and checked the ceiling for spider webs and kept moving on down the stairs. At some point, me and about ten other guys ended up in a dogpile at the bottom. Later I was told that this townie started shit with another innocent man way down that street while I was excitedly telling the story to people right outside the door. He must have hit five people trying to locate the origin of that cheap shot (Right here, dude! And I’m still laughing about it!) and maybe that’s nothing to be proud of in theory, but if there had been room for me to run away right after, it would have been undeniably funny. Anyway, back to the movies. Or…
3.) The Real World: Seattle
Okay, don’t say a word right now. Just listen and let me explain. This was some funny shit a decade ago. Dave, the kid who owned no shirts and a New Yawk accent gets into a scrape with some locals outside a bar. Slow-motion replay reveals Davey stepping up behind a local and delivering two solid overhand rights into the side of his face. Well done. This punch was great not just because this was the very first fight we finally got to see on a reality-based program, or because it was a decent cheap shot. What really made this incident memorable was the fact that this local wannabe tough-guy who got dropped, this local clown who was out trying to impress his friends by starting shit with some sorry-ass Real World posers, he will get to re-experience the humiliation of getting jacked in the face by, yep, an MTV’s Real World cast member every time that episode airs. I’m surprised we haven’t read about the poor bastard in the news by now:
“Seattle Man Climbs Clock Tower With High Power Rifle. Tearfully Demands ‘Rematch.’ Police Scratching Their Heads.”
2.) The Way of the Gun
The opening scene of the movie. When Ryan Phillipe hits the wonderfully mouthy Sarah Silverman who is next to the guy he’s supposed to be fighting. Whoa. As explained by the director, he always thought about doing this when he feared he was gonna be forced into a fight. That way, even if you get beat up, the guy who kicks your ass has to ride home next to an angry girlfriend with a bloody nose. Kind of ruins it for him, you know? Yikes. He has his good points though, that director. He wrote The Usual Suspects, probably a better movie than this. Nice extended Peckinpahesque shoot-out at the end of this though.
1.) Slap Shot
There’s really no contest. It is the greatest cheap shot in the history of cinema. Number 17 (but number one in our hearts) Jeff Hanson from the Charlestown Chiefs is just casually skating around during the warm-up against Peterboro, minding his own business when Number 2 on the Patriots looks at him for approximately three seconds. Apparently, that’s waaaay too long. A violation worse than a colonoscopy, and you have to give Jeff credit for shaking off that glare and continuing to calmly skate around to rink for another lap, and it really takes a better man to turn the other cheek and HOLY SHIT! What just happened? Jeff blasts him full in the mouth and starts a team-against-team brawl that no one can break up because (as the announcer gleefully shouts) “There are no officials on the ice!” Quite possibly the funniest, most satisfying moment of mindless violence ever filmed. And that’s two things that ain’t easy to pull off. Hey, speaking of “patriots,” after that brawl, when Jeff was screaming to the official that he was “trying to listen to the fucking song!” at that very moment, I actually felt more pride for our nation and our national anthem than I do when I drive up behind any idiotic post-911 “America Love It Or Leave It” bumper sticker.
BECAUSE MY FRIEND RACHAEL HATES HOW I DO THIS…
MORE LISTS OF THINGS NOT ON THIS LIST!
11.) Casualties of War
Michael J. Fox almost gets blown up by the guys from his unit while he’s talking a piss. So he walks out of the toilet, grabs a shovel, steps up to their card game, then buries it right in the biggest dude’s face. Too bad he then tosses the shovel away (!) and into nemesis Sean Penn’s hands. Penn looks confused and calls him “Dinky Dow” (?) which must be Vietnamese for “dumbass.” Fox should have handed out shots with that shovel at that poker game for the next hour. “One for you! One for you! Where you going? Two for you!” Sigh. I just don’t understand. Nice swing though: elbow up, just like those crazy kids paying their dues in the Minor Leagues in…
12.) Bull Durham (and The Untouchables)
Fighting over a psychotic William Blake-obsessed Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins tells Costner to step outside “and party.” Once they’re out there, Costner pulls a baseball from his sleeve like freaking Houdini and dares him to hit him in the chest with his “100 mph fastball” (we’ll have to “suspend disbelief” again with this stat since Newt’s, I mean, Nuke’s gangly arms appear to be throwing about 12 mph tops). And as predicted, Nuke (Robbins) couldn’t “hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat.” Never mind that it would have been better if Nuke had brained him with the ball (then ran away!) because Crash (Costner) actually throws a nice punch. Even Nuke reluctantly says so. Left-handed jab right in the mouth. And seeing how Crash bats left-handed in the movie, this must be his preferred shot in real life. Almost makes you forgive Costner for Dragonfly and Massage in a Bottle. And he apparently likes the left-handed jab so much that in the movie The Untouchables, he throws the exact same punch. Same situation, too: guy walking right into it, running his mouth, Costner quick left-jab. POP. In The Untouchables, however, this punch becomes a major plot point, as the man whose face he broke recognizes him at the infamous slo-mo train station sequence. See, if he wouldn’t have hit that guy earlier in the movie, he wouldn’t have had to high-step down those steps after a baby carriage like Bugs Bunny during that shoot-out.
13.) Heartbreak Ridge
When “Swede” finally gets out of the brig and faces off against Clint as promised. Maybe it’s not really a suckerpunch but it seemed like it. A very short fight, too. Swede is on the ground is zero point two seconds, and the guys in the platoon scream like children and scatter in fear. Which is what any sane person would do when a Mount Rushmore-looking Clint growls he about to “knock them off the fucking planet.”
14.) Time Bandits
When John Cleese as Robin Hood hands out the stolen goods to the poor and his muttering underling keeps socking the shuffling, elderly beggars in the face. Cleese asks if this is “absolutely necessary” and the translation of the Merry Man’s reply kind of sums up everything about fist fights in movies: “He says he’s afraid it is, sir.” Cleese: “Okay, carry on then!” BASH!
When Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) takes the gun out of that Tom Cruise-looking cowboy’s belt and smacks him in the head with it while he’s still talking. And his slap-attack on Billy Bob Thorton in the beginning is funny, too. Slap!slap!slap!slap! Russel: “Are you going to do something about it, or are you just going to stand there and bleed?” Poor Billy. He slapped Thorton so hard he knocked him dumbf0unded and he ended up making a documentary about it called Sling Blade.
16.) Starship Troopers
One of the “pussified” male-model-looking leads in this movie (Casper VanDien) actually delivers a decent cheap shot while the other pretty boy (some Melrose Place doof) is turned around and talking off his jacket before the fight. What a dumb shit. All to the music of Mazzy Star on the jukebox??? Will they have a comeback a hundred years from now and still be popular in outer space bars or what?
17.) State of Grace
Gary Oldman smashing a pitcher of beer into the face of some poor schlub talking to his girlfriend. All to the music of Guns ‘N’ Roses on the jukebox! See! Now that’s more like it! Music so timeless it should have been playing on space jukeboxes during The Great Bug War.
18.) Shaft (2000)
When Samuel Jackson hits American Psycho boy and loses his badge over it. Felt so good he does it one more time for the road. I enjoyed this so much I named my other cat after him. The black cat, of course.
19.) 12 Monkeys
When Bruce Willis hits the pimp with the telephone about 92 times. That looked pretty painful. I also like how he’s just absentmindedly beating him with the phone until Madeleine Stowe can finally get his attention.
20.) Internal Affairs
When Richard Gene jacks Andy Garcia in the elevator, then throws Garcia’s wife’s underwear in his face, laughing: “You know what she wanted, Raymond? Right in the ass! I couldn’t believe it!” Whoa. Talk about rubbing the loser’s nose in it. Definitely gets bonus points for poor sportsmanship.
21.) Midnight Run
I was going to stop at twenty but this movie has like five suckerpunches. All from DeNiro distracting the rival bounty hunter by pointing anywhere and yelling: “Hey, Marvin! Marvin! Look!” POW. Marvin is played by the imposing dad in Some Kind of Wonderful, a John Hughes movie where Marvin wants nothing more than for his son, 26-year-old terrible painter Eric Stoltz, to go to college in spite of the beating he’s headed for at the cool guy’s party. And judging by his performance in Midnight Run, it’s a good thing he didn’t teach Stoltz how to fight. Supposedly this actor also got very angry on the set because DeNiro actually punched him in the face a couple times. Marvin does get his revenge with a car door towards the end though.
X-Files sex addict David what’s-his-name delivers a shovel to Brad Pitt’s face (was that a shovel?) with a good swing, solid form, and elbow up, just like Fox in Casualties of War. This shot finally made Brad Pitt’s white trash maniac stop muttering that crap about “seeing doors” or whatever the hell he was babbling about. Brad’s most coherent line in the movie is unfortunately when he’s refining some baffling pick-up skills and yelling out the window of the car at some women: “Shave that thing and teach it to hunt!”
When Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) goes to have a talk with his girlfriend’s date-rapist next door. What’s the last thing the punk says before he has a mouthful of gun metal? “What you want, fucko? Want some of…” Crackcrackcrackcrack. Ha! He said “fucko?!” And this looked like it hurt, too. And how about his brothers who were standing around the Corvette watching Liotta get his beat on? Thanks for having my back, bros! See you at dinner tonight! How awkward’s that gonna be? Actually this might not qualify as a suckerpunch since he hit him with a gun. Kind of like Spider making the mistake of bringing his mouth to Joe Pesci’s card game Okay, we’re gonna need a new list…
BRINGING A FIST TO A GUN FIGHT!
THE BEST FIGHTS WHERE SOME DUMBASS THOUGHT THEY WERE SQUARING OFF FOR A FAIR FIGHT AND GOT SHOT OR STABBED INSTEAD!
1.) Escape From New York
Snake Plisken squares off in the ring to fight the futuristic inmates’ biggest goon and, right when they were going to brawl, Snake smokes him in the back of the bean with a spiked bat. Fight over.
2.) No Escape
Pretty much the same thing from Escape From New York (as is the movie), but still a good gag. Ray Liotta squares off on a bridge against the futuristic inmates’ biggest goon and, right when the guy screams his battle cry, Liotta buries a huge knife in his chest. Whoops. Fight over.
3.) Raiders of the Lost Ark
Everyone knows this one. I guess he didn’t actually bring a fist to a gun fight but simply a knife to a gun fight instead. “Just like a wop,” Sean Connery said in The Untouchables (right before the “wop” with the knife backs out the door and Connery realizes he’s actually brought a musket to a machine-gun fight. oops!) Anyway, sword-wielding bad guy shows off a bit and Jones shoots his ass. Supposedly this was filmed as an afterthought instead of a long whip/sword fight because Ford was tired that day. Even if that’s the case, it was a very inspired solution. One of my most vivid childhood memories that doesn’t involve Godzilla or my dad’s porn stash.
4.) Edward Scissorhands
You heard me right. This movie is violent as hell. And Anthony Michael-Hall brings a bat to a scissor fight! Dumb dumb dumb. He gets stabbed like a shish kabob for his troubles. Very troubling ending considering all the fairy tale stuff that led up to it. I had to go buy the damn thing.
5.) The Getaway (1972) and The Getaway (1993)
Both versions have the Doc McCoy character getting the drop on the double-crossing partner (Michael Madsen in the remake) by casually shooting him full of holes and leaving him for dead. Actually the bad guy had a gun, too, but he still gets caught snoozing by Alec and Steve McQueen for no good reason. However, said bad guy does bring a bullet-proof vest to the gun fight, and therefore Doc has unknowingly created an unstoppable revenge machine that plagues the heroes for the remainder of both movies. P.S. An “unstoppable revenge machine” is a very important aspect of a successful movie and a phrase I use at least once a week. Ask anybody. Beside my unstoppable revenge machines, I mean.
6.) The Driver
Same kind of thing as the last one. Not really a “bringing a fist to a gun fight” but just Ryan O’Neil getting the drop on someone. Shoots him right through his own driver’s side window. Cool scene because we didn’t know he even had a gun until then. Even one of the bad guys says, “I don’t get it, a guy with you’re attitude never carries a gun…” O’Neil says nothing to this because he’s always had one, and he’s going to shoot that guy with it about 15 minutes and 5 scenes later. Okay, I could do fast-draw type situations forever, and they shouldn’t really count. So no more, I swear.
7.) Wild Bill
Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill (looking quite a bit like an evil Lebowski) is losing a fight against a bunch of army guys who are mad because Bill beat up their buddy the night before. Bill’s taking a pounding until the bartender puts guns in Bill’s hands and it turns into a massacre. Cheaters never win, huh? I love the voice screaming, “Damn you, Wild Bill!” while staring down the barrel of the gun. BOOM. By the way, this is the movie you wanted when you were frowning through the True Grit remake.
Burt Reynolds brings a bow and arrow to break up the surprise party at “Sodomy Creek.” Did you know that’s what they actually call that stretch of river these days when they give tours. Ziiiiip! That’s the sound of Reynold’s arrow, not the slobbering inbreds’ zippers. ‘Cause, like, they didn’t have zippers. They had over-alls. Nasty.
Original title: “Bringing Your Fists To A Skateboard Fight.” Poor kid gets a skateboard in the mug, then gets a grade-school beatdown by every kid and his cousin in the entire park. The final goodbye from Casper is pretty sick. Not as sick as his final goodbye in the movie though. “Don’t worry, it’s me Caspar.” Double nasty.
10.) Steve-O Video
Same thing actually. The fringe B-squad of the already has-been Jackass crew are skateboarding off traffic, and some guy gets out to talk shit. He gets hit in the face with a board. Notice that the victim gets smoked with the side of the skateboard with the wheels. I guess he didn’t want to get blood on his Social D stickers.
11.) The Last Boy Scout and The Fan
Player brings a gun to a football game! Holy crap! Makes me smile just thinking about it. One of those times when you’re kicking yourself for not thinking of it first. Touchdown! Three dead. One of the best opening scenes of all time. So good that Tony Scott sort of tried it again at the end of his other (much weaker) movie The Fan. Except he had an umpire bring a knife to a baseball game. Not nearly as good, only reminds us of the greatness of the original idea. So, when does someone bring a chainsaw to a hockey game? Wait! That was Mutant League Hockey for the Sega, dude!
12.) The Long Riders
A couple of unarmed guys get shotgunned through a store window in slow motion (by a Carradine and a Keach, I think? So many real-life brothers in this. Shoulda called this movie No Brides For Seven Brothers). And I believe this execution comes after some fairly mild backtalk. But like Clint Eastwood said in The Unforgiven after doing a similar thing, “Well, he should have armed himself…”
13.) Wild At Heart
Kind of the flip side. The guy with the knife is outgunned by an unarmed but berserk Nicolas Cage with insane Elvisidal Tendencies. Like a machine, Cage bangs the bad guy’s head on the floor until his skull cracks open like a six-egg omelet. All this in the opening five minutes of the movie. My roommate Gary back in undergrad was haunted by this scene. He said once (with his bemused Southern accent) “I think about that scene a lot. I think that would be the best way to kill somebody in a fight.” Best part is when Cage lights his cigarette and points a bloody finger to grunt at the woman who paid the man to pull the knife.
14.) Natural Born Killers
When Mickey (Woody) slices up the coach from Major League in the diner, leaving fingers on the ground and his shoe and half a piece of key lime pie on the counter. Does key lime pie look like Jell-O though? That didn’t look right at all.
15.) Return of the Living Dead
When the manager from the medical supply warehouse hits the main zombie with the baseball bat. Damn, that was easy. Hell, they should have tried that an hour ago. Speaking of zombies…
BONUS BABY LISTS!
THE BEST FIGHT BETWEEN A SHARK AND A ZOMBIE!
1.) Zombie (a.k.a. Zombi 2)
The underwater shark/zombie fight (and why are the zombies underwater again?) where they used a real shark and not a real zombie. But it might actually be a real dead shark that’s getting pushed around by divers off screen. However, it’s eye does blink when the zombie bites into it. And I’m not just doing that thing where you title a list that can only have one movie on it just for laughs. I just want to throw down the gauntlet in hopes that someone else will please try to do another zombie/shark fight. It’s like Ice Cube finally sharing the screen with Ice-T in Trespass. A friend of mine called that combo a “nice cool drink!” Zombies and sharks, baby! Two tastes that go great together!
THE BEST FIGHT BETWEEN ’60s TEENAGERS AND SORT OF ZOMBIES!
1.) The Wanderers
Okay, what the hell is up with that football field brawl at the end of this movie? Are the “Ducky Boys” actually a gang of the undead? I don’t know if it was the creepy music or what, but I felt very uneasy during that bizarre apocalyptic brawl. And the hero’s dad is so far gone into beserker mode (swinging around a chunk of the football teams’ bench that he punched loose) that he socks his own son in the gut when the fight is over while roaring at the sky in slow motion. Made me want to have a son, raise him lovingly, go to his first football game, triumphantly defend him against a mob of zombie greasers, then not slug him in the stomach for no reason.
THE BEST FIGHTS AGAINST ANIMALS!
1.) The Edge
The final scrap between Alec Baldwin & Anthony Hopkins and that bear. Sorta plays like an R-rated Great Outdoors. I couldn’t believe there was like a third of that movie left after they killed the damn thing either. Sweet run-in with those geese in the propeller. Humans lost that fight, too.
When they battle the giant pig in the evil dog food factory. Actually the pig looks fake, kind of like people are sliding around a big pink pile of plastic and bullshit, but we’re still talking about a giant, man-eating pig here. By the director of Highlander. So, yeah, just in case anyone accidentally rented Ricochet, hoping to for Russell to make at least one more halfway decent movie, this was the one you were looking for. And notice the two trigger-happy cavedwellers and their three-legged dog. Hmm. I wonder how that happened?
3.) The World According To Garp
The middle of the movie when Garp gets his rematch against “Bonkers,” the dog that bit off a chunk of his ear as a child. A decade after the initial attack, Garp finally gets a chance for some payback and bites off a fuzzy chunk of Bonkers’ ear after it won’t give him back the rest of the pages of his windswept short story that he wrote to get the girl. A payoff more uplifting than all the Rocky movies put together. And the girl got got.
THE BEST BEATDOWNS!
The baseball bat tap dance on Joe Pesci and his brother’s noggins. The sick, meat-smack/homerun sound effects alone (bonkbonkbonkbonkbonk) will make anyone wince.
2.) Romper Stomper
When the skinheads finally get their asses handed to them by about 600 Vietnamese kids. They come pouring out of that van like it’s their first day at Vietnamese Clown College. Lots of punching and yelling and bodies. A very long, very kinetic, nerve-wrecking scene.
When they’re all beating on Billy Batz (but without the bats!) to the somber tune of Donovan’s “Atlantis.” Hey, was DeNiro smiling when he was repeatedly planting his shoe during that scene?
4.) Kiss of Death (1994)
When the kid from Zebrahead (Michael Rappattack, the one with the shit-stained Elvis T-shirt in True Romance) gets beaten to death by Nicolas Cage to the tune of House of Pain. No shit “house of pain.” Garage of pain is more like it. Should have put one of their yellow raincoats on that radio for the splatter though. On a side note, it was also the first time I ever saw a soft-eject boom box. I remember that more vividly than most of the beating actually. You know what? Maybe there should be a list of best music during a beatdown? No, no, no! Too many lists! This way lies madness!
5.) True Romance
When Tony Soprano beats on “Alabama” for what seems like about a week. The scene would be unwatchable if it wasn’t for her blood-soaked victory. I like how Christian Slater busts in when it’s all over and can’t do jack shit to help. Just in time, dude. Thanks for nothing.
6.) Clockwork Orange
The fights in this movie are mostly cartoonish and over-stylized, but they do hit Billy Boy and his droogs for quite a long time with those chains.
7.) Dazed and Confused
When Adam Goldberg pours his beer on the head of the goon that was picking on him (“I’m smoking reefer, motherfucker!” Uh, isn’t “reefer” supposed to calm you down, holmes?) and then triumphantly cracks him in the face. Almost made the suckerpunch list if it wasn’t for the depressing beating the goon then proceeds to rain down on the hero. Oh, well. What can you do? Hey, the goon tried to warn him earlier that he was there to “kick ass and drink beer.” Guess what he was all out of? Yep. Ass.
8.) Blade Runner
Is it just me or does every character in this movie beat the fuck out of Harrison Ford? Watch very carefully for the quick shot of blood in the shot glass when Ford grabs some vodka after a hard day’s work “retiring” overly-emotional androids. I’m telling you, he never stops bleeding in this flick.
ONE MORE LIST!
THE BEST FIGHT THAT ENDS WITH SOMEONE’S HEAD BEING PULLED OUT OF THEIR OWN ASS!!!
From the makers of Re-Animator. Seems to be about some underground cult of freaks who kind of melt into you while they suck your eyes out and drain your body and then reach in through your ass to squeeze your brain. True story. The characters keep calling this particular move a “shunting,” but to quote the dude in Princess Bride, “You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” So anyway, the young hero (Billy Warlock from short-lived Baywatch fame) squares off against the toughest ass-grabbing alien, and right before the bad guy is going to jam his fist up the hero’s ass… he turns the tables by jamming his fist up the alien’s ass instead! Oh, snap! Then Billy works his hand up through the alien’s body to grab the inside of his face through his eye-sockets with sort of this reverse bowling-ball grip maneuver. Then he pulls the whole nasty mess out the other guy’s rectum. “Rectum? Damn near killed him!” No, seriously, he’s dead. The entire cast is shocked into silence, and the movie can do nothing but roll the credits. A moment so hilarious and disgusting that you’ll almost forgive what a shitty movie it was. An important milestone in cinema.
CAN’T….. STOP….. MUST….. MAKE….. LISTS…..
THE BEST BEATDOWNS GIVEN TO INANIMATE OBJECTS!
When those redneck dumbasses take on – wait for it – a chair! Utter genius. Remember how the fist fight in Gummo was real and made it onto my earlier cheeky decoy list? Well, this is 100% real, too. No joke. Sometimes during this fight, it really seems like the chair is winning.
2.) Office Space
The copy machine beatdown to tune of “Still” by the Geto Boys. “Die motherfucker! Die motherfucker!” The best shots are the last ones when its nemesis, hate-filled Michael Bolton, tries to go back for more with a handful of wires while his friends restrain him. As intense as any real gangster movie beatdown and just as long.
3.) The Pit and the Pendulum (1990)
The opening scene when the inquisition goons (led by Lance Henrikson) find the defendant “guilty!” and tie him up for 50 lashes of the whip. Uh… too bad the defendant is already dead and buried. Never fear! They find his grave, dig him up, and lash away at the corpse until the dusty, skeletal head bounces off and down the hall. Hilarious. From the guys who brought us Re-Animator and Society.
When Rock trains by punching on bloody slabs of frozen meat hanging in the freezer. Really a great scene that makes you forget the crimes that Stallone went on to commit against straight-to-video film making (Avenging Angelo anyone?). Truly his finest moment, but actually it reminds me of something a little better from…
5.) Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead
When “Critical” Bill (Treat Williams) is working out by punching on a corpse in the back room at the funeral home. “He don’t mind much!” he says. Neither do we!
The drunks out shooting trees with a ’70s version of a laser gun. Really a very strange scene. And there’s probably an ecological message buried in there, too. It’s the only part of the movie that doesn’t involve the Rollerball game footage that is remotely interesting. But holy balls beware that remake. And save the trees, they are us. I think the band Rush said that. Of course, they also said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Then what if you choose not to choose not to decide? What then? Huh? Huh??? That’s what I thought. Fucking canucks.
THE BEST ANTI-FIGHTS!
1.) Fight Club
A movie about fighting without any really good fights. Except maybe when Norton pummels a blonde Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life to apparently suppress his own gay tendencies? Okay, maybe when Norton, a.k.a. the nameless narrator, beats himself up in front of his boss. Kind of looked like Evil Dead 2 to me but still pretty funny.
2.) Lost Highway
The hero stumbles into the porn producer’s house and sees his girl getting banged on the projection screen TV by the asshole he met and the party and, to add insult to injury, Marilyn Manson’s band, too! He should be furious, and you’re ready for some punishment, when, suddenly, after a good initial crack with a little naked lady statue (which leaves two funny nipple-shaped holes in the dude’s face) the bad guy screams in rage and leaps forward and CRUNCH! Impales his own head on the corner of a glass table. Whoa. That was fast. At least the hero stops to study the twitching bloody aftermath so we can, too.
3.) The Chocolate War
The final boxing match where they take turns pulling punching instructions from the ominous box is strange and almost compelling. As is the earlier scene when the hero gets beaten up (I mean “down”) by a bunch of 3rd graders (like Clockwork Orange, “It was youth having a go at… um, youth!”) Yeah, that would be hard to live down. Better to be caught masturbating like one of the villains.
4.) Femme Fatale
The scene where Antonio Bandaras runs up to fight the guy who’s grinding on Rebecca-whatever-Stamos on the pool table. Their tussle hits the hanging light bulb as they stumble off-screen, and we only see the shadow of the fight on the wall and her reactions to it. Friggin’ brilliant. This fight, compliments of a bored Brian DePalma, seems to involve headbutts and a pool stick at some point, but it’s hard to watch the shadows animals on the wall behind her when the girl seems so happy to be watching the fight for us.
5.) Raising Arizona
When John Goodman and Nicolas Cage try to fight in that tiny trailer. Elbows and fists crunch through the walls by mistake (like Morpheus and Smith) and, the best part, Cage accidentally drags his knuckles across the ceiling when he was going to bring his fists crashing down on top of Goodman’s howling head. A great, horrified look and yelp from Cage when he looks down at his hands.
6.) Jamon Jamon
The two rivals beating each other in the balls with ham hocks. And the title simply means “Ham Ham” right? That’s a nice touch. Winner!
7.) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
More like the anti-sword fight. We all know this one. I’ll move on so some clown doesn’t start endlessly quoting it.
8.) Pulp Fiction
Apparently Bruce Willis beat some other boxer to death because he tells the cab driver all about this (in the deleted scene he says it’s the other guys fault for “fucking up his sport”) and we hear something about this story on the radio, too. So why don’t we see get to see it? Kind of like the diamond heist in Reservoir Dogs that Tarantino decides we don’t need to see. He’s more interested in everything else that happens around the heist and the fight, and I guess I can respect that (even if I did complain about not seeing this fatal bout when I left the theater). Tarantino barely squeaks by with this artsy technique, but in some movies (like fucking Porky’s) there is just no excuse for this. So we’ll finish up with…
LAST ONE I SWEAR! (I can’t be trusted, but who’s still reading at this point?)
THE WORST FIGHTS OF ALL TIME!!!!!!
This is low-budget, sure, but that’s no reason for the ineptitude. When Dante and Randall finally have it out once and for all, all we get is some lackluster flailing around and some candy bars being tossed from off-camera. Complete and utter failure as a fight. Come on, Gummo didn’t have any money either, but they made the top of the Big (fake) List. You know why? Because they were actually hitting each other in the face (a glaring omission in every Kevin Smith movie). Real fighting rises above any budget problem or pretentiousness. Actually punching the actor, or the director, in the face is always the perfect remedy.
When Willis’ “unbreakable” hero fights the killer/home invader at the end. You know, they didn’t really test that “unbreakable” theory enough. But his kid was on the right track when he offered to shoot him. Thanks, son! This kid was the only one in the movie really thinking (tapping the side of my head with a better movie). So, yeah, Willis finally gets to fight crime instead of mope around the movie and slooooooooowly lift weights. He confronts the serial killer after an accidental dip in the pool. Too bad all he does is hang on his back like a drunk and get tossed around the room until he finally chokes him out. What the hell was that crap?
Every fight in this movie is awful. Still a great film, but the slovenly, slow-moving hero is throwing arguably the laziest punches, kicks, and karate chops of all time.
4.) Rear Window
I realize that both of Jimmy Stewart’s legs are in casts, but did his lip have to quiver when the bad guy threw him out the window??? My favorite Hitchcock movie, but Jesus Christ, his arms weren’t broken.
5.) Mean Streets
In the middle of the movie, someone calls someone a “mook,” and after much debate about the word’s meaning, they decide it was an insult. The pool hall brawl that results is one of the longest, dumbest-looking scrapes in history. That might have been the point, I guess. But I just don’t know.
The country-fried kid keeps going back to Porky’s Pub and getting his ass kicked all through the movie. But the filmmakers, in their infinite wisdom, don’t think we want to watch any of these fights. We just get this kid stumbling into scenes to fall into record players and punch bowls and making shocked girls squeal. What. The hell. After one of these mystery fights, the kid even mumbles, “I got one of the bastard’s teeth.” And he shows his friends a tooth!!! Well? What happened??? How did he get his tooth?? Can we see the fucking fight, please?!? It’s like the old westerns where the cowboy stumbles into the scene with an arrow in his ass, and then you get to hear what action-packed mayhem just happened to him instead of seeing it. And how frustrating was that?
That’s it for now. Add to this list in the comments if you get so inspired. I know I forgot a bunch, but my fingers hurt. And not from fighting. Until next time.