8 Awesomely Stupid Movie Fight Scenes

Brilliantly crap scrap scenes from mad martial arts movies...

 

 

 

Like most kids of the ‘80s, totalfilm.com was raised on a strict diet of rubbish ninja flicks.

And nearly all of them contained fight scenes so ridiculously preposterous that if we wanted to mimic them, we’d have to bend the laws of physics, abandon all sense of acquired logic, and buy more body oil than any 6-year-old could plausibly afford.

So, instead of recreating them, we’ve decided to share with you some of our favourite ever brilliantly rubbish fight scenes. Be warned, some of them are surprisingly gory.

Oh, and don’t thank us. You’re already welcome.

 

Undefeatable (1994)

If you haven’t heard of Cynthia Rothrock then clearly you’ve never wondered what a female Steven Seagal would look like and you should probably be ashamed of yourself.

Undefeatable is one of her many, many martial arts vehicles.

And as vehicles go, it’s the movie equivalent of a Hummer that’s been painted to resemble a dragon eating a unicorn. It’s that awesome.

It tells the touching tale of Kristi Jones, a woman who takes part in Mafia street fights to raise money for her sister’s college education.

Meanwhile, a man named Stingray is going around kidnapping and eye-gouging girls in flowery dresses because they remind him of his wife. Obviously.

So when Kristi’s sister wears a flowery dress and bumps into Stingray, it does not end well.

Jones vows revenge and teams up with martial arts expert policeman Nick DiMarco to bring Stingray and his vicious curly mullet to justice.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

Kristi and Nick have used their detective skills to track Stingray to a warehouse.

Once there, they use their martial arts skills to rendezvous with his ass.

There are many, many stupidly awesome moments in this fight, too many to list.

But our favourite bits include the moment where Nick and Stingray’s shirts fall off to reveal pre-greased torsos, Stingray’s truly ironic torture-death, and the final double-barrelled pun-off that closes the scene.

If Hemingway wrote martial arts movies, this scene would be the result.

 

Next: Deadbeat At Dawn

 

 

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Deadbeat At Dawn (1988)



Banned in Blighty because of its naughty nunchuck scenes, one of the totalfilm.com staffers caught Deadbeat At Dawn on cable during a family holiday to the States. Best. Holiday. Ever.

The plot is every kind of amazing.

Basically, Goose (played by writer / director / film school student Jim Van Bebber) is the leader of a street gang called The Ravens.

When a rival gang called The Spiders encroaches on his patch, Goose decides to listen to his nagging girlfriend and quits the gang life.

But when his girlfriend is killed by The Spiders, Goose shoves her into a trash compactor (in one of the most powerful waste disposal scenes in cinema history) and embarks on a bloody nunchuck revenge spree.

We told you it was amazing.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

If you’ve ever played the videogame Streets Of Rage, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this.

A bloke dressed in gang gear runs from one scuffle to another, fighting other blokes in gang gear.

They all seem to be able to pluck increasingly weirder weapons from the sky displaying the sort of wizardry we wish they’d introduce to the Harry Potter universe.

Nunchucks, baseball bats, flick-knives, blocks of wood, NINJA STARS, cars; all used by amateurs on a budget too small to afford stunt doubles. Or professional actors. Or safety officers.

The result is a ruck that manages to look realistic and ridiculous at the same time.

Brilliant and very bloody – squint at the screen during the accidental decapitation scene, it’s not pleasant. 

 

Next: Gymkata

 

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Gymkata (1985)



Ah, Gymkata.

Gymkata, Gymkata, Gymkata.

Just saying the name aloud sends a happy shiver down our cynical spines. It’s like the opposite of calling out Candyman.

As for actually watching it? Well, we’re pretty sure it’s evidence that not only do all the gods exist, but they love gymnastics-based martial arts movies.

But actually explaining Gymkata’s plot is a bit like trying to describe a butterfly’s wing to a blind man.

Still, we’ll give it our best shot.

Real-life Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas is Jonathan Cabot, an Olympic gymnast who’s hired by the US government to take part in ‘The Game,’ a fighting tournament held in the fictional land of Parmistan.

If you win the tournament, you get a wish. The US wants Cabot to use his wish to allow them to install the Star Wars programme in Parmistan. Seriously.

So Cabot spends a couple of weeks learning how to combine gymnastics with karate and heads off to Parmistan to take part in a series of increasingly hilarious fight scenes.

Wow, turns out it’s not as hard to explain as we thought.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

Every single fight in Gymkata is stupidly awesome, because they all involve Cabot doing an idiotically elaborate move, while his foe watches patiently on before being kicked in the face.

But the pièce de résistance occurs when Cabot, running from an army of vicious warriors, happens upon a pummel horse in the middle of a peasant village.

This, obviously, is a stroke of massive luck.

What are the chances of a fighter whose skills are entirely dependent on his gymnastic abilities accidentally stumbling upon a handy bit of gym equipment in the centre of his enemy’s poverty-stricken habitat?

Slim, we’d say. Slim and brilliant.

The excellent coincidence leads to one of the finest action set-pieces in cinema history.

An army of sickle-sporting snarling warriors queue up to be dispatched one by one (because bum-rushing the twat on the medieval pummel horse would be unsporting) by a mulleted aerobics expert, whose kicks all seem to have the same sonic effect on human flesh and bone.

60 thwacks later and the audience has no choice but to stand and applaud.

 

Next: Ninja Terminator

 

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Ninja Terminator (1985)



Sadly, not a film about a cybernetic pyjama fan, but one of the silliest ninja films ever unleashed upon western audiences. And, we promise you, that really is saying something.

The plot involves a mystical three-part golden statue that, when united, makes its owner invulnerable to edged weapons. That it’s no protection from guns and bombs doesn’t seem to bother anyone.

One of the coolest aspects of the statue is that if you own a part of it, that part of your body is protected.

Look, we didn’t say this thing wasn’t packed with good ideas; that’s a plot detail we’d love to see in one of next summer’s action flicks.

Some details, however, we can do without. Like the blonde wig sported by the lead villain. And the Garfield phone in one of our hero’s apartments. A phone he actually uses in one scene.

Still, the golden statue is what we should be focusing on, because that’s the inspiration for some truly rofl fight scenes.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

Opening on some weird worship scenes and the sort of glorious soundtrack work that would make the robots behind Daft Punk experience the human emotion known as pride, this scene is a dim-witted triumph from start to finish.

The in-fight teleportation editing is so basic it wouldn’t impress a child, but it does make it look like Richard Harrison is the Madonna of martial arts movies - he appears to change outfits with every vanish, for no reason whatsoever - but don't worry, what you're watching is three ninjas fighting, not two.

But then the whole film is fairly nonsensical, which is probably why we love it so much.

 

Next: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

 

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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

The Mortal Kombat franchise has unleashed so many stupid fights into the collective unconscious, it’s probably the reason you sometimes feel a bit dizzy when you wake up in the morning.

The plot is complete and utter gibberish. In fact, it’s so confusing even the characters don't seem to know what's going on, with two wise mentors giving mixed messages about how to defeat the main villain.

But all you need to know is a bunch of characters from a videogame are brought together by circumstance to fight another bunch of characters from the same videogame.

If you want more details, simply jot down a bunch of odd sounding made-up words into your notebook.

Then, decide which of those language strangles you’d like as locations and which of them you’d like as character names.

Write some half-remembered one-liners from other films, add some punches and kicks and that’s a bingo, you’ve got yourself the script for this film.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

This particular punch-up could well be the pinnacle of the series’ idiocy.

But there’s something so ridiculously terrible about it that it transcends awful and slips into awesome.

Maybe it’s the way that Sonya Blade’s multiple foes seem as masochistic as Gymkata’s creeps; sometimes shifting their body position to make it easier for her to kick them.

Perhaps it’s the fact that Jax’s main power is the super-strength in his arms, but he waits about half an hour before even trying to throw a punch at his Terminator rip-off foe Cyrax, preferring to spend most of the scrap with his hands resolutely by his sides.

Or maybe it’s just one-liners like “Yeah! Now what?” that make it so legendary.

We’re not sure, but we could watch it until the end of time and the ironic smile wouldn’t ever slip from our lips.

 

Next: Revenge Of The Ninja

 

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Revenge Of The Ninja (1983)

 

Director Sam Firstenberg went on record to state that his “first decision was not to follow in the steps of the Hong Kong flicks, but to approach the movie as a straight Hollywood action movie with a martial arts slant, and the Ninjitsu mysticism the icing on the cake.”

The fact that Ninjitsu mysticism was deemed the icing on the cake in a movie called Revenge Of The Ninja is a bit like saying James Cameron decided to “add a boat at the last minute” to Titanic.

And it actually explains a lot.

Such as the fact that our hero is one of the stupidest ninjas ever seen in cinemas.

Not only does he take ages to notice that his family’s slaughtered bodies are lying around his house, he completely fails to realise that his constantly sneering best pal is a massive villain.

No real ninja would go and work in an art gallery full of statues doubling as heroin pots.

No real ninja would seal his sword forever when it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to have to get it out again in a minute.

And, most of all, no real ninja would stop his son from kicking the synth score out of a bunch of bullies twice his size because, now he’s in America, he thinks his family should chill out on the whole honour / fighting thing.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

Sadly, that’s exactly what happens at the end of this brilliantly one-sided throw-down.

Despite the fact that they loom over him like adults whose voices haven't broken yet, Kane Kusugi is still able to unleash ninja justice on his bullies, taking the sort of swift kick to the ribs that’d make Daniel from The Karate Kid want to go into the bonsai business in the process.

There’s something about the smallest child on the planet getting peer-pressured by his nan into awkwardly kicking a Sesame Street reject off his BMX bike before being dealt some serious beats that makes us chuckle every time we watch it.

Especially as it's the precursor to one of the most po-faced slapstick scraps we've ever seen.

Shô Kosugi is a spoilsport for not letting it carry on for at least another two hours.

This film also contains a fight scene between our hero and a two tomahawk wielding American Indian. We totally nearly went with that one.

 

Next: Snake In The Monkey’s Shadow

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Snake In The Monkey’s Shadow (1979)

 

Snake In The Monkey’s Shadow is possibly the greatest film in the ‘Styles’ subgenre.

It’s a type of martial arts movie that features a hero trying out a series of different martial arts styles, usually discovering that the way to beat the main baddie is to combine two or more styles. They always act like they’re the first person to come up with that idea.

But the reason Snake is so good is that one of the featured styles is known as ‘Drunken.’

The Drunken Style basically involves our protagonist getting pissed-up as a part of his training (which is a hell of a lot cooler than wax-on, wax-off) and lurching around like a tramp at midnight during his fights.

That, friends, is the very essence of awesome.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

There’s nothing more stupid than watching someone trying to fight whilst drunk.

And there’s nothing more awesome than that person alternating between amazing martial arts moves and the sort of swaying steps Oliver Reed used to take on his way to talk show chairs, during the same fight.

Behold the above clip, and keep an eye out for the hand-bitingly brilliant moment at around the 6.07 mark.

It’s a defence move we’ve added to our own personal repertoires, so it’s probably best you don’t get too close to us.

 

Next: Riki-Oh: The Story Of Ricky

 

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Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

Before we tell you about this one, we feel we should warn you that it’s the most unexpectedly violent film ever made and if YouTube bothered to police itself properly, the below clip would probably come with some sort of age restriction.

Because there is genuinely a moment in the clip when one of the fighters cuts open his own stomach, pulls out his intestines and uses them to try to strangle our hero. Absolute genius. Please don’t try that at home.

It’s one of many insanely brilliant brawl scenes, which include Riki-Oh punching his fist through someone’s jaw only to pull his hand back out through the subsequent messed-up mouth (with no cutaway).

Oh, and a knuckle clash that causes one fist to go through the other, leading to a pile of fingers on the floor, topped with a splash of blood ketchup.

Basically, every single punch in this thing turns the screen into a slaughterhouse floor. It’s incredible.

The Stupidly Awesome Awesomely Stupid Fight:

We could pretty much have chosen any random two-minute section from this film and we’d have accidentally picked a stupidly awesome awesomely stupid fight scene, but we’ve carefully chosen this moment, partly because it contains the line: “You’ve got a lot of guts Oscar.”

But mainly because it features someone killing themselves in order to win a fight, but then still losing the fight. Doesn’t get much more stupidly awesome than that.

Oh, and before we go, here’s the moment where Riki-Oh’s girlfriend (spoiler alert) dies in the film.

See if you can spot the bit where the director cleverly switches the actress for a stunt doll. Absolutely seamless.

 

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Comments

    • TheSunshineHobo

      Aug 10th 2009, 13:12

      While all of these fights are stupidly awesome I want to add one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvGH3nM08iI&feature=related This is the final fight scene from the film Versus. This is not the best fight in the movie, but it is the only one I could find. My favourite fight involves the main character sporting a massive sniper rifle that shoots exploding bullets and a psychotic japanese detective that spouts out the greatest one liners known to man. Alas this fight will have to do.

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    • ChrisWootton

      Aug 10th 2009, 13:50

      Thats the best feature i've seen in years.

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    • Desperation

      Aug 10th 2009, 14:10

      I agree with ChrisWootton completely. Best TF feature ever. However, i know it's not a movie, but i do think http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBnflnDArlk should get an honourable mention.

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    • dalebiskit

      Aug 14th 2009, 16:32

      I think this trumps them all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da3Xun-yGCQ

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    • daveordid

      Aug 23rd 2009, 16:38

      Great list, but I have to say surely Drunken Master is the original and best 'Drunken fighting style' movie and not Snake in the Monkey's Shadow. Although Drunken Master is actually pretty damn good so maybe not silly enough to be in the list!

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    • dojj singh

      Jan 31st 2014, 12:31

      that's so awesome it can't possibly be bad lol but it's also why i didn't watch cynthia's flicks, because it was all shouting and grunting and raaahhh!!!!!!!

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