Favorite Movie Fighter – Sound and Fury


When Han gets punched, dude goes down, clumsily and spectacularly.

Who is your favorite actor/actress to see in a fight scene?

Credit, YouTube
Credit, YouTube

Joe Bianchino: No hesitation here, not even any real thought. Harrison Ford. I’ll take Indiana Jones all day long.  Why?  Because Harrison Ford is terrible at fight scenes.  I guarantee he has never shown up for fight choreography or any of the required training.  Dude just shows up, flails around, tells Gary Oldman to get off his plane, and makes great movies.  And that’s what Hollywood needs today.  I know films are supposed to be spectacular, but are they really trying to get me to believe that the accountant Jake Gyllenhaal is playing just happens to be a master of eight different martial art disciplines?  So why are he and antagonist patent-attorny fighting like they are?  Every Harrison Ford fight scene is a perfect representation of what you’d see in the real world: awkward, gritty, fumbling, and ending with a well-timed airplane propeller to the back…

Jeffrey Simpson Day: Wow, you just can’t not crap on the Gyllenhaal family, can you? And, no, I didn’t have to go all double-negative there…but I’m standing by it. Much like I’m standing by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance in Secretary. So there.

While I have a tremendous amount of respect for Harrison Solo and his fighting abilities, I’m not sure “real” is what I’m looking for in a fight scene when I go to the movies. This would be why I thoroughly enjoyed watching Scarlett Johansson kick the hell out of bad guys as Black Widow. Well…it’s one of the reasons. But, if reality is what you’re looking for, I have one name for you: Bruce Willis. What’s more real than someone taking out a fighter jet in flight with a semi? You know, besides everything else that has ever happened in the history of…well…everything.

Bruce’s uncanny ability to destroy vehicles in flight with vehicles on the ground aside, the man is real in a fight. The main difference between him and Indiana is that Bruce is a bit more athletic and he’s constantly angry. In fact, it’s possible you’re conflating Indiana’s “realness” in a fight with the fact that he’s: (a) a little awkward (as you said) and (b) his main fighting emotions are surprise and confusion. As if he can’t figure out why the person he’s fighting ever punched him in the first place. My recommendation if he truly does wonder why someone is punching him: He should watch K-19: The Widowmaker. But, seeing as Harrison is awkward and confused, I can see why you relate to him.

With Bruce, though, it’s all about anger. Anger that his wife moved to LA without him, anger that he got a ticket in front of the airport on Christmas, anger that he died trying to save Liv Tyler of all people, anger that Hudson Hawk is on his IMBD page…he’s not a happy man. And, really, what’s grittier than his fight scene in Die Hard with Karl? No way “Get off my plane!” is grittier than “I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna f***in’ cook you! And I’m gonna f***in’ eat you!” No way. Rob Schneider wins a Best Actor Oscar before you get me to believe that.

Joe Bianchino: No. No I can’t just not crap on them.  I know Jake occasionally falls into a good performance, but I refuse to believe in Maggie in any way.  She’s the only actress who’s made me root for a protagonist’s death…in a movie I liked – I mean, who hasn’t suffered through a Jennifer Anniston movie and hoped desperately for something to come and erase her from the rest of the film, but in one I consider the best I’ve ever seen?  Gyllenhaal’s performance in the Dark Knight had me rooting against Batman making it there in time.  She made me root for the Joker.  Do you know what that’s like?

But that’s a discussion for another day.  As for your preference of Willis over Ford, I can’t say I disagree with the pick. In fact, I’d probably peg Willis as my number two.  The grit is inarguable, and the copious amount of blood he always, somehow, finds a way to be covered in helps, but too often there’s something that seems a tad, I don’t know the right word, staged?  A kick to the gut too well taken.  A gun-butt to the face too easily recovered from.  Come to think of it, how does he keep recovering?  Shouldn’t he have developed some kind of horrible internal bleeding by now?  How many times should he have died in the Die Hard franchise alone?  We must be over 20, right?

With Ford, and I’m splitting hairs here, I don’t have these concerns to overlook.  When Han gets punched, dude goes down, clumsily and spectacularly.  And that’s why I love Dr. Jones, because he is both clumsy and spectacular, typified so perfectly by his go-to-move: the open-palm-face-smush.

Mark Graydon: OK guys I get it. You like real, “down and out dirty” middle aged men, swinging a few believable punches, followed by a classic tag line…”No Ticket.”  But we are talking FIGHT SCENES, right? not, “who is the most believable fight that you might actually see in your local bar.”

Enter into the fray monsieur Rocky Balboa!!!  Epic fights.  He’s down, but he keeps on getting up.   Great Tag lines like “You ain’t so Bad!!!” But the coup de gras: Rocky IV against the machine, Ivan Drago. “He’s not a man, he’s a machine!” He even gets the Russian fans cheering for the travelling American.  “If I can change, (Russian translation) then you can change, (Russian Translation) EVERYONE CAN CHANGE!! (Russian enthusiastically translating).”

Rocky has it all.  It makes your arms twitch watching the fights! They are movie magic and instantly re-watchable.

“Too bad we got to get old, Stallion.”

Ding Ding.

Jeffrey Simpson Day: No question Rocky is a legit fighter. And he was even before Stallone’s face fell off. But for all the talk of how Rocky keeps on getting up, you just can’t escape this:

Apollo: “Ain’t gonna be no rematch.”

Rocky: “Don’t want one.”

What!? “Don’t want one.” What kind of talk is that? After John McClane got beaten and thrown out of a power plant in West Virginia, did he say, “You know what, domestic terrorist, good on you. I’m out.” No, no he didn’t. He got up and started dropping SUVs on people down elevator shafts. (Seriously, when McClane is behind the wheel of any vehicle, I don’t care where you are…you’re not safe.) Was he done then? Nope. He decided to Skype with the boyfriend of the woman he just flattened to rub salt in the wound. That, my friends, is a fighter. He’s not just gonna beat you, he’s gonna let your friends and family know about it.

So, I’m sticking with Bruce. If I had to pick an alternative, though, I think I’d go off the board: Ralph Macchio. That’s right, the Karate Kid. First, because no one takes a beating like Macchio. Nobody. He’s so good at it, in fact, I think Mama Larusso was secretly pulling for Cobra Kai in the All-Valley Tournament. Not to win but, you know, to rough up Daniel a bit. Because it’s glorious. It’s like people aren’t just punching Macchio’s body…they’re punching his soul. Plus, on those rare occasions where Macchio actually wins a fight, that’s also fun because it makes you feel like you could win a fight, too. You know, because if he can do it, pretty much everyone else can, right?

Mark Graydon: Ok so Ralph and Rocky have been slapped more times than Stephen Hawkins in a competitive game of “Slappsies,” but that is when the FIGHTER comes out.  Rocky didn’t want a rematch because he’s the reluctant hero.  The Real People’s Champ. ADRIAN!! I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!! (that made you smile didn’t it?)

But this is ‘fight scenes’ in a movie that we’re talking about and there are none more epic, entertaining and euphoric than a Rocky fight. They have it all. Period.

If you want to see a more realistic fight watch Real Housewives.

Rocky is MOVIE, fighting gold!

….and for the ladies, there is only one winner….. “Get away from her you bitch!”

Joe Bianchino: I can’t lie, Mark has a solid point with Stallone as Rocky, particularly in Rocky IV.  Dude makes it plausible for an entire arena full of Russians to start rooting for an American mid Cold War.  That’s something.  But unfortunately for Mark, Rocky is but a fraction of Stallone’s fighting experience.  If they were all as good as those comically absurd boxing matches, we’d have something, but the other work is just a lot of frustrated panting and rolling around…yeah…

And if we’re going to start calling Macchio off-board, I think we need to redefine that word.  The Seahawks were an off-board pick to the win the Super Bowl, Macchio as favorite actor to see in a fight scene is…well, it’s just…I don’t even know.  I’m not sure the proper word exists.  I mean the guy’s go-to move is to look goofy and hope his opponent pauses to say “what the hell?!” before noticing the sizable real estate now exposed and waiting to be attacked.  No way he’s in Ford, Willis, or Stallone’s league.

…Then again, it is fun to watch him get beaten down.  Sweep the leg, Johnny.  Sweep the leg.

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing – Shakespeare

Author: Staff

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