When it comes to all-out knockdown, beat-’em-up fights, I say, the bloodier the better. When I watch an intense fight, I want to feel every blow like I’m there. When you wince with every blow, you know they’re doing it right. Plus, you get all the excitement with no risk of massive trauma or death! Fights aren’t just limited to some of the best action films – dramas and comedies alike can get in on the fun. So next time you feel that aggression building up – channel that rage through a good film and maybe you’ll save a trip to the doctor… or worse.
5) Alleyway Brawl in They Live – For fully six minutes, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and David Keith take part in a fight that is both hilarious yet looks completely like a real back-alley beatdown. And all over a pair of sunglasses. Sure, there are a few wrestling moves thrown in for no good reason, but man, is it a hell of a lot of fun watching two grown men literally just beat the crap out of each other over a trifle of an issue. Next time someone says they’re all out of bubblegum, I just assume they’re here to kick ass.
4) Edward Norton vs. Himself in Fight Club – I could have picked out the fight between Norton and Jared Leto (also a good choice), but there is nothing like watching a man kick his own ass (for a humorous take on the same kind of fight, see Jim Carrey in Liar Liar). Norton knows how to make an exit – and in order to get the best benefits from his sudden departure from work, he goes about systematically punching himself, throwing himself through furniture and bleeding profusely on his boss until he crumbles in fear and disbelief and gives him anything he wants. Not only is it completely awesome to watch, for those who have seen the film (and congratulations if you are one of the two people who hasn’t), the significance of what is said cannot be overlooked.
3) Jake La Motta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson in Raging Bull – This is not only the best boxing movie of all time, but can also be argued one the greatest sports movies as well. Unlike the inspirational Rocky films, Raging Bull is raw and often dark in the places it chooses to go. Robert De Niro gives one of the great performances in his career and Sugar Ray Robinson fight is one of the most visceral put on film. The sound, the camera, the choreography that had to go into it – you feel every punch – the blood and the sweat – Rocky may have got the glory, but Raging Bull has the most impact.
2) Dae-su Oh’s Hallway Hammer Battle in Oldboy – So, yes, this isn’t just fist-to-fist fighting, but the famous one-take corridor scene is one of the most brutal yet entertaining fight scenes to be filmed. The journey the main character takes in Oldboy simply cannot be compared to any other film out there. In fact, all of Chan-wook Park’s “Revenge Trilogy” films are equally tough to watch but the payoff is worth the effort. Oldboy is certainly the crowing achievement, and the single take of a man getting revenge by mowing through a veritable gang of with nothing but a claw hammer and rage is just a wonder to behold. I’m very wary about Spike Lee’s remake – and I would be amazed if he could come up with a scene half as memorable as this one.
1) Bruce Lee vs. Anyone and Everyone in Enter the Dragon – I admit my list, as well as my overall film experience, contains a lack of martial arts films, where the fight scenes play as much of a role as the actors themselves. I can’t think of a more fitting end to this list than with what is considered one of the greatest martial arts films made. Lee tragically lost his life before he could benefit from the smash hit Enter the Dragon became. This is Lee’s show – the fight scenes are perfectly choreographed and every punch, every kick – every motion is as perfect as it can get. Yet despite all the work that must have gone into getting the movement just right, the fights never feel like they’re staged – it flows, but you still feel like the fights themselves are incredibly real.
I’m sure you have your favorites as well – Tom Hardy in Bronson comes to mind, Bob Barker vs. Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore if you’re in the mood for something a bit more light-hearted or, for females getting in on the action, nothing gets much better than Uma Thurman’s “The Bride” taking on Daryl Hannah’s Elle Driver in Kill Bill. When you’re in a fighting mood, who do you look up to ?
Chris Kavan is the Community Manager for FilmCrave.com and he doesn’t get mad, he gets even.