Top List Thursday: The Best One-On-Many Fight Scenes

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In the real world anyone’s chances of fighting off three or more people are very slim. But movies provide amply for the legend of the skilled fighter and the mob stupid enough to test them.

  • Ip Man vs. 10 Black Belts (Ip Man)

For half the movie our hero Ip Man is a congenial type who only fights when needed and always holds back, so he doesn’t hurt someone. Then a soldier shoots his friend in the head during a garish exhibition match for a Japanese general and the master flips out. He takes on ten fighters with his bare hands – those he didn’t cripple, he killed.

  • Bruce Lee vs. A Dojo (Fist Of Fury)

Let’s not sully this list with another ‘was Bruce Lee really that great?’ debate. It’s Bruce F***ing Lee. And this is him beating up a dojo.

  • Frank vs. A Garage Full Of Thugs (The Transporter 2)

Transporter 2 wasn’t terrible, but didn’t exactly become a classic either. Still, when our steely eyed driver is surrounded by a group of gangsters branding pipes, wrenches and even swords, he cleans up. Literally.

  • The Bride vs. The Crazy 88 (Kill Bill Vol. 1)

You didn’t really think it was going to be that easy, did you? The loaded line primed the arrival of the Crazy 88, the Yakuza army that stands between The Bride and her target, O-Ren Ishii.  It’s Quentin Tarantino’s ultimate love letter to the Samurai combat scene as the Bride and 88 duke it out with the iconic swords. Most of the world received the censored version, where the fight is rendered in black and white. But luckily the Japanese version provides full colour…

  • Jet Li vs. A Dojo, Fist Of Legend

Still avoiding any Bruce Lee debates, the Fist of Fury remake Fist Of Legend put Jet Li in the same position of defending his school’s honour against an entire dojo. So why is Jet Li getting cred for the same scene in the same list? Because Jet F***ing Li! Yeah, I’m just gonna go with that.

  • Oh Dae-su vs. Thugs (Old Boy)

It’s the ultimate scrappy one-vs-many.  If seen out of context this continuous rumble down a service corridor might seem oddly choreographed. But it represents a moment where a character, who has endured great oppression for a considerable amount of time, finally shows what he is really made of. He also brought a hammer along for the party, making this one of the most brilliant moments in a brilliant movie.

  • Rama vs. Jail (The Raid 2)

There is no shortage of great fight scenes with lots of people in The Raid 2. But it’s our first real taste of the movie’s intentions when Rama is in jail, sheltering in a cubicle from what sounds like a ravenous mob outside. Then he flicks open the lock and proceeds to dish it out in measured doses of pain. Made you flinch? There’s so much more to come…

Last Updated: September 11, 2014

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it’s something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway – even video nasties need love…

  • Kervyn Cloete

    With the exception of The Transporter 2, these are all, like, some of my most favourite movies ever. Clearly, I have a thing for solitary Asian men, beating up boatloads of other Asian men.

    • Speaking of which, I just realised I never added the ultimate solitary Asian fighting machine, Jackie Chan! But then again, we could do a whole list like this JUST out of his movies. He almost never fights just one guy…

      • Kervyn Cloete

        Hell, I could make a whole list just out of Drunken Master 2. I watched it last weekend for about the gazillionth time, and I still sit in awe at some of the fights.

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