Car chases get all the glory, those flashy, trailer-ready scenes where expensive hunks of steel are rapidly devalued in the act of flight. Okay, sure. We get it: Lets see whose penis is faster. Whose has better handling. Whose cock can do 90 mph in reverse. Truth is, despite their flash and fuss, chase scenes are the hand jobs of action movies, a fluffer, a quick rub-and-tug that leads up to the real thing: The Big Fight Scene.
Unlike last week's list of the worst fight scenes, this is a list of those moments where men are judged on their natural-born equalities: their fists and their chins. Its a hard list to compile. You have to follow rules. No guns -- its just not gentlemanly. No mob scenes -- real fights are mano-a-mano. Ultimately, this list is limited to those video clips we can find online. (Honestly, I dont know what the Internet was created for if not to share at least one clip of Patrick Swayze ripping out Marshall Teagues Adams apple.) And then there are the intangibles. Everyone needs a defining criteria, and mine is this: I truly believe they're going to die at some point in the fight. (Sorry, Jackie Chan. Youre just too cheerful whilst kicking ass.)
(Agree? Disagree? E-mail at email@example.com Im always up for a good fight.)
There have been plenty of knockdown, drag-out fight scenes in the Bourne trilogy, but this one stands out on sheer intensity alone. All government brainwashing and Black Ops training aside, dismissing the fancy backflips and lightning-quick strikes, this is exactly how a normal person would fight. In close quarters, clutching and grabbing, throwing whatever you get your hands on, and turning every heavy object around you into a weapon. Youd be less creative, of course. Instead of crushing his windpipe with your coffee table book youd probably show it to him in an effort to neutralize him with your pretentious minimalist aesthetic, Mr. Fancypants.
The Matrix was a phenomenon, and this scene singles out all that was right with it. People fight for lots of reasons (honor, revenge, no backsie cuts) but rarely do you find a hero whose motivation is the Earths salvation from the overwhelming Agent Smith, who can still throw one hell of a haymaker while looking dapper in a tie clip. Besides that, this scene single-handedly brought the chest punch back en vogue. For weeks I was itching to get mugged just so I could unleash a straight punch square to someones sternum. Thats when you know a movie has left its mark.
Best of the Best
Granted, you need to experience this movie at a certain time in your life (preferably when you are twelve and want nothing more than to earn James Earl Joness approval by kicking people in the head) but the facts remain: If you saw this movie, you remember this scene. Despite my efforts, I couldnt find a clip of the match preceding this one, the infamous Pop it, Tommy! Pop it! scene, where one of the Korean fighters dislocates an American fighters shoulder, only to have a teammate reset it and him finish the fight using one arm and his feet. (Again, a gross misuse of the Internet that this doesnt exist.) Regardless, this was a fight movie that taught us a lesson: Winning isnt everything. (Right, Chris Penn?)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Women fighting like men. Men fighting their urges to become aroused. Uma Thurman danced her way into your heart in Pulp Fiction, and she stabbed her way into everyone elses with her signature Hattori Hanzo. Kill Bill, and this fight in particular, are a glimpse into all that is great about the human spirit: long legs, swords, and a patient indifference to the gift of sight. Two distinct ingredients (besides the fact that both participants have blond hair and breasts) make this video great: First, the close quarters. Normally a sword fight in a trailer park is something only the extremely less fortunate are privy to. Its different, and it is impressive. Second, and most important, is the revenge theme. Not just Thurmans revenge for her husband and her child, but revenge for her teacher, who Daryl Hannah killed. And if you can think of a better ending to this fight, youre obviously a liar or a better man than I. Ill keep an eye out for you.
Technically, theres almost no comparison between this and all the other clips. Were talking about a fight where a combatant actually tries to somersault into his opponent as a tactical maneuver. Every kick is telegraphed like were watching the movie version of Karate for Dummies. But this is exactly why it endures -- because despite all this we are enthralled. Frank Dux has honorably fought his way through the deadliest karate tournament in the world, and finally he meets up with a cold-blooded killer in the finale. He carries his oily body through physical and emotional punishment (he was blinded!), yet in the end he still makes the right choices -- to scissor kick, and to show mercy.
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