Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fight Mayhem - Part 1

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.

- Theodore Roosevelt

Conflicts abound in movies. And with every conflict there needs to be a solution. Sometimes it's as easy as talking through something. Sometimes it's better to take flight as I wrote about recently here. And then sometimes, you just gotta bring a terror storm of beatings about the head and body.

That's the dance. And why do we engage in the dance? To stay alive. To feel alive. For money. For love. For reputation. And sometimes because there's no rational reason not to.

Fights in movies are planned, obviously. They are as well choreographed as a chase or a love scene. Sometimes they advance the plot and sometimes they're just there. There are lots of good fight scenes out there. So many, in fact that I'm dividing this edition into two parts, because I'm a whore that way. In both editions, I will judge all fights as they should be judged: The purpose of the fight, the length of the fight, the fighting style used, the weapons used, the damage assessment and the best line of the fight.


Purpose Of The Fight: It's Burgundy and his crew VS every other news crew in San Diego. These guys all want to be first and are willing to kill for it. This isn't world domination, but it's anchorman domination and in their eyes that's bigger. Rank: 7

Length Of The Fight: Around 1 minute. This is good old West Side Story-type fighting. I love the bicycles that Mantooth and his crew ride in on. Rank: 7

Fighting Style: This thing is gang warfare. There's hand to hand. Various weapons. Horses. A trident for god sakes. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: Everything. Bats. Chains. Knives. Nets. Grenades. Brass knuckles. A Whip. Hatchets. Fists. And a trident for god sakes. Rank: 9

Best Fight Move: Tim Robbins cuts off Luke Wilson's arm. This would be really good is Luke Wilson didn't suddenly become the worst actor in the world during this cameo. Rank: 6

Damage Assessment: Brit killed a guy. He should probably hang low for a few months. Rank: 7

Best Line: Lots of them but there are two in particular. "Come get a taste" and "No commercials, no mercy." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 7.3

They Live

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Nada VS Frank. Tensions have been building between Nada (Roddy Piper) and Frank (Keith David) and it comes to a head when Nada tries to get Frank to put on a pair of glasses. But not just any glasses. These glasses show you that we're living in a subliminal world dominated by aliens. It would make sense if Nada would pin down Frank and try to put on the glasses, but he beats the piss out of him and then wants him to put them on himself. Not gonna happen. Rank: 5

Length Of The Fight: About 5 1/2 minutes. This is a great fight but somewhat of a pointless one. You know that Carpenter promised himself that if he was going to cast Roddy Piper, he was going to have him fight/wrestle someone. Rank: 6

Fighting Style: Hand to hand. Head to head. Knee to groin. Face to pavement. It's basic but it's good. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: A board and a bottle. After all the fisticuffs, the board and bottle are somewhat unnecessary. Rank: 6

Best Fight Move: There are impressive moves throughout but I would have to say I was cringing when Frank put knee after knee after knee into Nada's groin. Rank: 7

Damage Assessment: Bruised faces and a little blood around the nose. But the worst damage happens when Frank puts on the glasses and discovers that he's been living in a subliminal world dominated by aliens. Rank: 8

Best Line: "Either put on these glasses, or start eatin that trash can." Rank: 9

Overall rank: 6.8

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Purpose Of The Fight: It's The Green Destiny VS every other weapon ever created. Jen Yu has the Green Destiny and Yu Shu Lien needs to get it back. Plus Yu Shu Lien just wants to lay down some hurt on Jen Yu who is ultimately nothing more than a spoiled little teenager. So yeah, it's a cat fight. Rank: 8

Length Of The Fight: About 4 1/2 minutes. You want girl power? This is it. Rank: 7

Fighting Style: A sword fight of sorts involving many different types of spears and swords. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: The Green Destiny and about every type of martial arts weapon you can imagine. Rank: 9

Best Fight Move: This whole scene is beautifully choreographed by Woo-ping Yuen so it is filled with incredible sequence after incredible sequence. But for my money it's when Yu Shu Lien hits Green Destiny so hard it shoots Jen Yu across the room. Rank: 8

Damage Assessment: This is to the death, but no one dies. The worst that happens is that Jen Yu finds her equal plus some in Yu Shu Lien and gets her ego bruised a bit. Rank: 6

Best Line: "Come and get it if you can." Rank: 7

Overall Rank: 7.4

There's Something About Mary

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Ted VS Puffy The Dog. Puffy is all jacked up on drugs and looking for a fight. Ted (Ben Stiller) is just checking on him to see how he's doing and gets attacked by Puffy. At first, Ted is fighting defensively, but then he quickly turns to offense and hilarity ensues. Rank: 7

Length Of The Fight: About a minute. How long would you expect a man/dog fight to go on? Rank: 7

Fighting Style: A little Three Stooges, a little World Wrestling. Rank: 6

Weapons Used: None. Rank: 5

Best Fight Move: Ted attempts to poke out Puffy's eyes and Puffy puts up the blocker. Classic. Rank: 10

Damage Assessment: Ted gets bitten in the crotch and Puffy flies out the window and ends up in a body cast. Rank: 8

Best Line: "Are you the little guy making all that big noise?" Rank: 6

Overall Rank: 7

Way Of The Dragon

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Norris VS Lee. Do we really care about the reason behind the fight? Don't worry about it, just watch. Rank: 10

Length Of The Fight: About 5 1/2 minutes. This is the heavyweight title match of the millennium in martial arts. You savor every moment. Rank: 9

Fighting Style: Martial Arts. Rank: 8

Weapons Used: Let me say this again. It's Norris Versus Lee. If they picked up a weapon they'd be booed out of the picture. Unless the kitten is a weapon, used to distract Norris because it's so darn cute. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: Bruce Lee reaches up and gets a fistful of Chuck Norris chest carpet. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: Norris takes a dirt nap. The kitten is forever scarred by witnessing the scene and quickly takes to a life of drugs and crime. Rank: 8

Best Line: They let their fists do the talking. Rank: 7

Overall Rank: 8.2

The Princess Bride

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Westley VS Inigo Montoyo. Westley (Cary Elwes) is in pursuit of Princess Buttercup (Robin Right Penn) but has to get through a series of challenges along the way. His first encounter is the Spanish sword fighter Inigo Montoyo (Mandy Patinkin). Rank: 6

Length Of The Fight: About 3 minutes. This is classic Errol Flynn-style fighting, with a sense of humor. Rank: 9

Fighting Style: Sword fighting. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: Swords and sharp wit. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: As it turns out, both Westley and Inigo are both right handed. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: These two are gentlemen. Inigo gets a bonk on the head and passes out because of it. Rank: 7

Best Line: "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 7.7

Evil Dead 2

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Ash VS Ash's own hand. Ash's hand has been possessed and in lieu of a priest, Ash is going to have to lay down some harsh justice. On his hand! Rank: 8

Length Of The Fight: 2 minutes. How original can you get? The guy has to fight his own hand. Rank: 8

Fighting Style: Huh? Wha? Rank: 6

Weapons Used: Plates, glasses, a knife and a chainsaw. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: The chainsaw of course. Rank: 7

Damage Assessment: Ash loses his hand, but it's a small price to pay to avoid complete demonic possession. And there's laughing through the tears. Rank: 8

Best Line: "U-huh, that's right. Who's laughing now?" Rank: 8

Overall Rank: 7.1


Purpose Of The Fight: It's Dae-Su Oh VS a shit-ton of guys (that's slightly more than an ass-load). This fight is about nothing more than pure, unadulterated revenge. Dae-Su Oh has been imprisoned in an unknown location for 15 years. He escapes and then tries to find out where that place was located. Well, he just found out. Rank: 9

Length Of The Fight: About 3 1/2 minutes. This is an amazing fight, shot very much like a video game in one long tracking shot. I'm not 100% sure but it looks like these guys are really connecting with a lot of these hits. Rank: 8

Fighting Style: Whatever it takes to not die. Rank: 8

Weapons Used: A hammer, knives, sticks and bats. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: Every move Dae-Su Oh has after the knife gets buried in his back. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: A whole bunch of people either die or are going to feel really bad in the morning. Rank: 8

Best Line: "All those who are blood type AB raise your hand." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 8.2


Anonymous said...

Dragon Lord's final fight better be in there.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

Should I respond now or after the next part?

J.D. said...

Jen vs. Shu Lien is one of the greatest one-on-one battles in Film History, and especially after reliveling it again, I don't really see how you can not give this a 10. And possibly the best firght choreography I've ever seen, and that might include anything else with Ziyi in it. Well, maybe The Echo Game. Now THAT is incredible. Too. :D

PIPER said...


Give it to me.


It's a great fight. One of the best. Fantastic fight. The weapons are great. The choreography is great. It was worth every minute. No fight is a 10. Sorry. The human race as we know it would crumble if he wit a 10 on the old judge meter. I'm always hopeful that there is something else out there that's better.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

Just posted up my response.

Anonymous said...

I love when you do these Piper!!

The Anchorman one is okay.

I agree with JD ... the Jen/Shu Lien fight is one of the very best fights ever. I have no idea how one of those actresses didn't get her head cut off during that. My favorite part: when Shu Lien grabs that huge fucking sword and faces off against Jen - the audience I saw this with erupted in cheers and excitement. It's a great moment.

And of course, I love "Evil Dead 2," although not nearly as much as the first one. This sequence here justifies what is essentially a remake of "Evil Dead 1."

* (asterisk) said...

Ah, this was fun. But I am surprised you didn't include the climactic tower fight scene(s) from Game of Death. Still, I can't complain about the Chuck N one in the Colosseum. What a setting!

Oldboy a great choice, too.

PIPER said...

Stay tuned, I'm working on the sequel.