Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 78

Do you remember when Kermit the Frog knifed Fozzy Bear? Oh wait, that didn't happen. But it would have been better than some fight scenes.

What was the most pathetic fight scene on film?

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I suppose any number of poorly dubbed Asian kung fu movies, but how about Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Keith David in the totally wretched They Live.

Panelist: ScottDS

There are plenty of B-movies with horrible - and horribly funny - fight scenes (you can find tons of clips on YouTube) but, as far as mainstream Hollywood films go, I'd say the "Neo vs. 100 Agent Smiths" battle in The Matrix Reloaded. It actually starts off pretty bad-ass, then the CGI kicks into overdrive and it just looks bad!

Panelist: T-Rav

There are few fight scenes I would call “pathetic,” unless the CGI and wire-action is just too obvious. In that context, I’ll have to pick 2008’s Hancock (not a terrible movie in most respects), where Will Smith and Charlize Theron are having a smackdown in the middle of L.A. Not a believable fight at all.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I would say any film that uses wire-fighting where it doesn't belong. But for real crapulence, look no further than CGI Kung-Fu Yoda and his lightsaber dance in Attack of the Clowns. I kid you not that I almost turned off the movie at that point. To flip this around, my favorite fight scene is almost anything in Desperado, but particularly the shoot out in the bar at the beginning where Cheech gets whacked.

Comments? Thoughts?


Tennessee Jed said...

possibly the most bizarre Great Film Debate question ever . . .

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Yep. And we'll have to see what people make of it. Think of it as a great excuse to get creative. :)

K said...

My fav fight scenes evah:

From Russia With Love Train fight

Fist of Legend fight 5

Drunken Master 2

Ip Man

In the first IP man fight, his son comes into the room and relays a message from his wife, to hurry up and beat the bad guys because they're wreaking the house.

I find that people who have had some martial arts training appreciate the kung fu stuff more than others. It has also been pointed out, and I agree, that the fights in Hong Kong movies are basically the equivalent of choreography in a Fred Astaire movie. Pretty impressive choreography IMO.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's a great fight in From Russia With Love!

Two other "great" fight scenes I would mention.

1. In The Matrix, when Morpheus and Neo fight for the first time. That was really cool.

2. I love the slow death at the end of Gladiator. I particularly like how they resisted doing something spectacular and it just comes down to Crowe being stronger than the emperor and slowly shoving the knife into him. Good stuff.

tryanmax said...

Wait? Kermit never actually knifed Fozzy? Man, I gotta quit watching Muppets while sniffing glue!

Nothing specific comes to mind, but basically any fight scene where the hero is surrounded and then blasts the hoard away with some "power move."

AndrewPrice said...

Kermit was acquitted and his record expunged.

What I don't like about the "surrounded" fight scenes is how the bad guys then come at the hero one at a time in a perfect sequence to let the hero do his moves.

PikeBishop said...

Without a doubt. Warren Oates's Sgt. Hulka and Bill Murray's Private Winger in the latrine in "Stripes."

Hulka calls out Winger, calling him gutless and a punk, even taking his DI hat off to make it "man to man," and dares him to throw a punch.

Winger throws a half-assed round house right that looks like he was trying to net a butterfly while his left hand is in his pants pocket, throwing him completely off balance. Hulka sidesteps it and delivers one to Winger's solar plexus, ending the fight there.

That was the worst I have ever seen.

Dave Olson said...

Have to agree with Andrew: "Wire Fighting" sucks. I'll buy it in a fantastical setting such as "The Matrix" or "Crouching Tiger...", or if it's a spoof like "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist", but in a movie that is presumed to be in the real world it just looks stupid. So stupid in fact that merely seeing it in a trailer can make me instantly NOT want to see a movie. Two examples come to mind, and I'll apologize for being vague; I never saw either one because the wire fighting looked so damn dumb there was no way I'd waste my time or money on them:

1) Charlie's Angels. Now of course I avoided both movies because I knew that they would be steaming piles of catshit. Seriously, consider the source materiel. But one (or maybe both) advertized a wire fight in the trailer that made it official.

2) Some Steven Segal movie, circa late 1990s/ early 2000s. Again, apologies for vagueness. The ad was so awful I switched channels before I saw what the movie title was. Anyway, he's got a couple of opponents on either side of him, so he sort of floats down to one hand (on his damn fingertips!), kicks them simultaneously, and pops back up. Bleargh!!!

Tennessee Jed said...

leave it to "K" to use a tried and true Commentarama technique: "if you don't like the question; change it!!!!" Still. there might be a higher chance for a minimal consensus were people to talk about the favorite fighrts than the worst ones, if only because there are simply so many horrible film fihts compared to great fights.

For Fans of Star Trex Next Generation, Amazon's Deal of the week is up to 60% off of various seasons in DVD or Blu-Ray in case anybody is interested. Discounts are higher on some seasons than others, and I can't tell how good a deal it really is but . . .

Anonymous said...

Jed -

At this point, it's worth getting TNG in Blu-Ray - the first two seasons are out and season 3 is out on the 30th. The HD restorations are, for the most part, stunning! And the new documentaries are incredibly candid.

But thanks for the heads-up! :-)

(All the Trek series are on Amazon Prime and Netflix for instant viewing.)

Anonymous said...

There are some great YouTube clips of bad fight scenes and bad death scenes. For instance...

If you type "most pathetic death" in YouTube, you'll get this hilarious clip. (Sorry about the ads.)

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Yeah, that was a horrible fight!

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I'm the same way. When I see wire fighting in a movie that is supposed to take place in the real world, it's an instant turn off and I find myself not interested in the film anymore. I know they think it looks cool, but to me it, it's just obnoxious. It's the lazy-man's version of great choreography and it might as well be animated.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed and Scott, I've got the originals (before the stupid cartoony "upgrades" on DVD, so I'm not giving those up any more than I'm giving up my real (not cartoony) Star Wars.

I will pick up TNG at some point, but really have a hard time pressing the "buy" button on that one for some reason.

Thanks for the info on the deals though! I got the film on BluRay when you mentioned the last deal and I'm enjoying that a lot.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, What is that? I'm pretty sure that's a young Rowan Atkinson.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

The funny death scene? I believe that's from some Turkish movie. It's funny how this happens: it gets picked up by one website (possibly from someone who saw it on Reddit), then a bunch of similar websites pick it up, and since I get all their feeds on Facebook and Twitter, my screen is covered with links to this damn thing! Kevin Smith even mentioned it on one of his podcasts that I listen to.

As for Trek, the original series Blu-Rays include BOTH the remastered versions and the originals via seamless branching - you just select which one you want from the main menu. (There's one episode where they missed a shot but it's a subtle change.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't want to support the crappy cartooned version.

Are you sure that's not some skit done Rowan Atkinson? That almost needs to be him -- look at the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Quite sure. :-)

Speaking of Blu-Rays, I know you're a John Carpenter fan and Scream! Factory - a subsidiary of geek-friendly video distribution company Shout! Factory - has released They Live and they just announced The Fog for a release on July 30th, with a ton of new extras.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

PIke... Stripes... yes worst fight ever as a fight... but it comes in second on AFI'slist of all-time Best Punk-bitch Beatown Moments.

#1 Best punk-bitch beat down moment is Forrest Gump when Forrest beats the hell out of the hippy dipsh*t who hits Jenny. No qualms, no second thoughts... "must protect Jenny". "I'm sorry I ruined y'alls Black Panther party." Satisfaction in 2 minutes. Awesome.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I'm gonna stop clicking on your links if you keep posting stuff like that. Awful. :-/

Also pathetic, by the way: Most of the fight scenes in Fantastic Four. No more pathetic than every other scene in that movie, I guess, but still.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I am a Carpenter fan. It will depend, however, on how cheap they get. I'm not interested in paying much to replace my DVD collection.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, That was a very satisfying moment!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yeah, those were awful. But you know, most CGI fight scenes lose my interest. I actually laughed at the stuff in Resident Evil: After Plot when they did the CGI in slow motion because we were supposed to be impressed that they were dodging CGI bullets. Give me a break. That was perhaps the most idiotic moment on film.

Kenn Christenson said...

Thought the fist-fight at the end of the first "Lethal Weapon" was pretty lame - the film builds to this climax and we settle it all with a fist-fight???

On my "best list" - any fight sequence in "Kick-Ass." (I know a few people around here, saw that one coming.) :)

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, "Kick-Ass" is full of some great moments where nothing goes right -- except with Hit Girl. What a great idea for a film!

Yeah, "Lethal Weapon" ended kind of anticlimactically.

Anonymous said...

Well, Jed beat me to 'They Live.' A wrestler who doesn't have the ropes needed to perform his moves, and an actor who obviously spent about five minutes 'training' with the wrestler. That said, Roddy did sell opponents' moves better then Hogan did. So it could have been worse.

I haven't been able to see it, but I'm told there is an incredibly, obviously fake fight scene in the movie 'Heat' (1995). Apparently, a then 57-year-old Al Pacino somehow defeated an in-his-prime Henry Rollins. That sounds embarrassing just as I type it.

I have to completely disagree, however, on the 'Stripes' fight scene. Invoking Andrew's rule that "great comedies are really great dramas with jokes merely as icing on the cake," the fight is perfectly in service to the story. Up to that point Winger HAD been a loser. After losing everything, he joined the Army in the hopes of escaping the responsibility of the real world. However, the Army presented a whole new list of responsibilities.
However, being a punk, he thought he could just coast. That's why he threw a bad punch, while Hulka just gave him a taste of reality. It really is the turning point in the movie. Winger is revealed to be just a cowardly little boy trying to avoid growing up. The next scene even shows him trying to run away again, only to have Ziggy inform him that that's not an option and that it's time for him to become a man by facing adulthood.
The scene may not be an all-out brawl, but it perfectly fits and advances both the film's plot and themes.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, that clip is amazing, Scott! Now I finally know where THIS came from!

Also, I have to list the first fight between Godzilla and Gigan in "Godzilla Final Wars" (2004) as another awful matchup. Gigan (who looks like he just finished a lengthy prison sentence in Hell), arrives to the fight in fine form, boasting new weapons, and even gets Godzilla ensnared with a pair of cables. Then, just as Gigan is pulling Godzilla towards his spinning rotary blade and on the edge of a kill, Godzilla just uses his nuclear deux ex machina, er, uh, breath to blow up Gigan's head. What a letdown!

At least there's another round later on after the aliens rebuild Gigan and replace his scythes with buzzsaws. But then freakin' Mothra kills him because of ...Aaaaahhhh!!!


AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I think the problem with the fight in They Live is that is lasts about five minutes too long.

I've seen Heat a couple times and I have a lot of issues with that film. It's totally wasted potential.

Good point on Stripes.

Anonymous said...

Tennessee Jed, the fight scene from They Live is one of those "so bad it's good fight scenes". It goes on for way to long and is very brutal and stupid, I love it.

Andrew, thank you for saying what had to be said, that Yoda fight was crap. It sucked. He cannot walk without a cane, but can fight
like that? WTH?

I don't mind me some wire-fu as long as it fits the movie, if the move is fantasy based it can fit well, if it is reality based it ruins the credibility of the movie.

Dam K you really messed with my mind then. I just saw the listed fights and missed the part where you say they are your favourites.
I love Fist Of Legend it is a classic movie that is better than the Bruce Lee movie it is a remake of. And both DM2 and Ip Man are modern day classics, have you seen Iron Monkey? It is a classic also, but with much wire work.

In the end the two worst fight scenes that I can come up with are this one (funnily enough the youtube clip is called "Best fight scene of all time", I love the dialog. It is laugh out loud stupid)
It is only beaten by this classic piece of stupidity from Japan. and this there is more....

Sorry but I don't know how to do the links properly.

Floyd, I loved it when Forrest beats the crap out of the hippy douche and then apologizes for ruining their meeting.

Kenn the last fight in Lethal Weapon wasn't great but it was one of the first fights to contain BJJ, they had a triangle choke in it, a
member of the Gracie family helped with fight scene.

I also agree with Rustbelt about the Stripes fight, it was a crap fight mainly because it did serve the plot and he wasn't a fighter, he was a loser getting a much needed lesson.

Now if you do a debate on the greatest fight scenes ever I could be here all day with links to countless movies...


AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, LOL! I like most of the fight scenes in the Godzilla movies. They're usually pretty good. I don't remember the one you're talking about though.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree with you. :)

That first fight link you include is awful. It just keeps getting worse too. How could anyone put that into a movie?

PikeBishop said...


I see your point on Stripes as a turning point in Winger's character arc, but one thing that stuck me about the character was, yes he was a slacker, but he was smart, so he coasted. I've known lots of guys like that, bright or talented, they just don't apply themselves.

To me Winger is smarter than that. He wants to hit Hulka, but IMO he's way too smart to throw that punch in that way against a trained warrior with "twenty eight years in this man's army."

I think I can buy the slow roundhouse right from his character, (amazing how many people in the real world think this is an effective fighting technique, but I digress) but it's the hand in his left pocket, throwing him completely off balance that puts it over the top into "Movie stupidland" for me.

Anonymous said...

Hm, are the Youtube links not working? If they're not, let me know and I'll try to re-post, Andrew.

As for the movie, it's part of the 'Millennial Series' that ran from 2000 through 2004. Toho was upset with Sony, pulled their contract, and decided to show them how it's really done. This mlovie featured a ton of monsters to celebrate Godzilla's 50th anniversary.


Anonymous said...

Yes Andrew that scene is an insult to B grade action movies. It's more like an F grade shitty movie. Anyone should have been able to write and create a better fight scene then that.


AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, They're working for me.

On the Godzilla movie, I'm honestly not sure if I've seen it. I've seen a bunch, but this one doesn't ring any bells and I haven't really kept up with the series except for watching whatever crosses my path.

Anonymous said...


Here's the page I used to learn how to post links.

Please let me know if that helps.


AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I love the two close-up "hits" the guy takes to the face early on (when he spits out a ton of water). They are so obviously done very slowly and then filmed in slow motion to make them look like they had been delivered at normal speed. That's just awful. And then he rips up the guy's shirt with a punch? Huh?

Every post-1983 George Lucas Film said...

Excuse us, did you say Resident Evil 4 has the most idiotic moment on film?

AndrewPrice said...

I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I just checked. If you're interested, "Godzilla Final Wars" is available on Amazon Kindle, but it's not covered by Amazon Prime. (Additional cost.)
I got my DVD copy at Best Buy a few years ago. So, it should be available on Amazon or Ebay as well.
It was part of a whole series of films made in the 1990's and 2000's that were only available after the fact on VHS and DVD.


Tennessee Jed said...

Want a good old fashioned great Hollywood fight without 1) wires 2) CGI 3) Kung-Fu, 4) boxing gloves. Check out Greg peck vs. Chuck Heston in Big Country. This harkens back to a time when stamina played a big part in the final outcome.

Anonymous said...

Let's try this... Raúl Juliá was mentioned the other week, let's see how some great actors can make some really bad Fight Scenes.


Anonymous said...


To be honest, the hand in the pocket never bothered me so much, because I've never seen it as a genuine fight. But to build on your suggestion that Winger was too smart to really fight Hulka, maybe he thought that if he held back, Hulka would go easy on him. But, instead, Winger gets caught off guard. (I've always thought he looks genuinely surprised when Hulka hits him. Tribute to Murray's acting skills, I'd say.) It's a possibility.

As for the roundhouse...yeah. Maybe in between Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns, Winger caught too many old episodes of 'Star Trek?'


Anonymous said...

Thanks Rustbelt!

Enjoy This great fight scene as a thank you.


Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Scott!

Unfortunately, the scene on Youtube is being blocked where I am on copyright laws. Aw, nuts!

But in regards to your other link...can great actors make really bad fight scenes? -especially on Tuesdays? OF COURSE!!!


Backthrow said...

I submit this mano e shrimpo smackdown as a prime contender for the Film Fight Hall Of Lame (TM).

K said...

leave it to "K" to use a tried and true Commentarama technique: "if you don't like the question; change it!!!!

What can I say? I'm a rebel, a loner.

Ty in TX said...

Anything with Steven Stegall after the original Under Siege. Painfully obvious the point where they had to start speeding up the frame rate to try....TRY mind you to cover the fact that ole' Steve was getting to fat and old to believable.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Old westerns had some great fights sometimes.

Scott, That was so obviously a stunt double and the cuts were so jarring. It's almost like they spliced two scenes together. At the least, it feels like Julia told them he would not be in any shot where someone was even appearing to threaten him. Either way, it was pretty pathetic.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Those are some awful effects! LOL! I've seen that film in it's MST3k version, but not without the MST3k crew. It's a real stinker.

AndrewPrice said...

Ty, Isn't that the truth. Segal got really out-of-shape and really grumpy really fast. His movies feel amazingly lazy when it comes to action scenes.

shawn said...

I hate to admit it, but the worst movie fight I have seen belongs to my favorite martial artist: Jackie Chan. It is in The Big Brawl. He was forced to perform fights that were choreographed by some Hollywood stuntman that was used to doing the standard punching fights that littered Hollywood through the 60s-70s, instead of being able to choreograph the fight himself. The fights are slow and stilted as all get out. This movie and Cannonball Run left such a bad taste in his mouth he returned to making films in Hong Kong were he could do his own thing.

Anonymous said...

I could also go with this Van Damme spinning back kick which I though was cool until I discovered Jackie Chan movies. It's corny as all hell and no one ever ducks it!

shawn is right, once I discovered Jackie Chan (and then other Asian martial artists) western martial arts stars just didn't do it for me. And when I watched Jackies early Americna movies I was shattered that they made him do American style fight scenes. I then had to go and rewatch The Young Master and Police Story to get over my disappointment.


rlaWTX said...

Good fight scenes: any where Jason Statham ends up shirtless.

Bad fight scenes: the ones where the 100lb girl takes down the 200lb guy because she can do a spinning double axel salchow back bend (after taking all of his straight punches without a hair out of place)and voila he's down for the count...

Koshcat said...

This topic is awesome, even the bad fight scenes.

ScottDS - you are so right about the follow up Matrix films. They just had to continue upping the ante

Andrew - Thank you for the episode 1 reference. That scene bugs me so much. Fights like a cricket on crack.

Now remember, nobody talk about this...

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I like Chan, but I don't love Chan. I wish he would get some better writing to go with his amazing skills.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, LOL! Wow. I never realized that Van Damme always did the same move. That's really weak.

Yeah, that's been a problem with several foreign stars in my opinion, is that Hollywood brings them here because they have "it" and then Hollywood tries to use them like they would a normal American. That's a mistake.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Yep, that's really lousy. I hate when movies do that because it just screams "fake" to me.

Jason Statham? Never heard of him. ;P

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, That Yoda fight scene just bothers me to no end.

Great use of the "Fight Club" reference! :)

rlaWTX said...


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