We all know the formulaic movie fistfight: The bad guy and good guy scrap, the bad guy has the upper hand one moment, and then the good guy through determination eventually overthrows them. They go tit-for-tat, resulting in a drawn out, but satisfying duel with the good guy on top.
These are not those fights.
This list celebrates the unfair, the dirty and the sheer brutality that make up the one-sided beatings. For these movie fights, one fighter must drastically overpower the other either through brute strength or superior fighting style. These uneven confrontations can either be one against one, or one against a hundred. Either way one side must win the day without breaking a sweat and crushing the competition.
So get ready to put your dukes up, Here are the 17 Most One-Sided Fights in Movie History.
17. Morpheus vs. Agent Smith (The Matrix)
While Morpheus is the all-knowing leader who trains Neo, he can’t quite muster up the strength to put up a decent fight against Agent Smith. In order to buy some time so Neo and his comrades can escape, Morpheus and the Agent duke it out in a rundown bathroom, which is further destroyed by Morpheus’ body being hurled every which way.
Smith puts Morpheus through the ringer as he beats him silly, throws him against the walls, and uses everything (including the bathroom sink) to deliver one crushing blow after another. As we’re shown in previous scenes Morpheus is one tough cookie, which is why it’s so scary to see him get dominated with minimal effort by Agent Smith. This is why, when you see an Agent in the Matrix, you run.
16. Hulk vs. Loki (The Avengers)
Loki may be a god, but he’s no match for a Hulk. After unleashing an alien army and quickly dispatching his Norse God brother, Loki watches the ensuing mayhem unfold from the top of Stark tower. He thinks his victory is all but assured until he notices that the Avengers are making quite the dent on his army. Outraged at their meddling, Loki makes the brilliant maneuver to give Hulk the business, boasting himself to be a god and vastly superior in every way.
Big mistake, as the Hulk proceeds to pick up Loki by the feet and swing him around like a ragdoll, continuously pounding his body into the floor. When Hulk is through with the laughable beat down, he mutters “puny God” as Loki lies on the floor speechless. What a boss.
15. Mickey vs. Gorgeous George (Snatch)
Word of advice, never challenge a gypsy to a bareknuckle boxing match. A lesson Gorgeous George learns here in Guy Richie’s crime-comedy, Snatch. After being burned on a sale, George challenges Brad Pitt’s slim built character to a fight thinking he will be dispatched rather quickly.
What George doesn’t know is that Mickey is a bare knuckle boxing champion. After taking a few lumps to get warmed up, Mickey throws his first punch, and what a punch it is. He knocks George clean out with most of the spectators thinking him dead. George eventually wakes up however and spends the rest of the movie in an iron jaw, proving you shouldn’t pick a fight with a gypsy, especially when they’re bare knuckle boxing champions.
14. Splinter vs. Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
The climactic showdown at the end of 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the four pizza loving reptiles come face to face with their arch enemy, Shredder. The supervillain quickly dispatches the Turtles in a martial arts fight and everything seems lost, that is until Master Splinter shows up.
Knowing that Splinter and Shredder both shared the same master at one point, the audience is all geared up for an epic showdown. What we get is infamously much briefer however. As Shredder runs towards Splinter like a pee-wee football player, the gigantic rat throws the super-villain off the roof with ease. Shredder subsequently lands in a garbage compactor and is then crushed into oblivion, and that’s pretty much the end of that.
13. Casey Ryback vs. William Strannix (Under Siege)
There must be some sort of clause in Steven Seagal’s movie contracts that allows him to forever dominate in a fight. The actor repeatedly dispatches opponents in every movie he’s in with such ease, it’s like Bruce Lee fighting Betty White. Of course, even a movie like Under Siege, in which Seagal plays a cook for crying out loud, still features these overly-triumphant fight scenes.
After finally cornering the villain Strannix, wonderfully played by Tommy Lee Jones, both ex-military men engage in a knife fight to the death. The following 10 minutes basically consist of Seagal’s character Ryback landing blow after blow while Strannix mindlessly yells and whoops. Ryback finally lands the deathblow as he shoves his knife into Strannix’s forehead, and proceeds to cut through his body and into a TV monitor. Ouch.
12. Lee vs. O’Hara (Enter the Dragon)
Bruce Lee only starred in a handful of martial arts movies during his brief career, but he will forever be cemented in the halls for legends for Enter the Dragon, his first and last American movie. Enter the Dragon features one great martial arts sequence after another. The plot is ripe for fight sequences, and has Lee fight in an underworld tournament to uncover a heroin smuggling ring.
Needless to say, he fights some unworthy opponents in the mix, one of them being the tough, burly O’Hara. The character’s size is impressive, but it makes him overconfident. Lee makes short work of the fighter by landing blow after blow with O’Hara stumbling around like an infant. Truthfully the fight is over before it even begins. As O’Hara breaks a board for intimidation, Lee infamously responds, “boards don’t hit back,” a testament that true strength isn’t always about size.
11. Julian vs. Chang (Only God Forgives)
Only God Forgives is Nicholas Winding Refn’s artistic, otherworldly film about one man’s journey seeking revenge and redemption. After learning of his brother’s murder, Julian sets off to track down those responsible. His trail leads him to a seemingly-omnipotent cop named Chang.
Julian challenges Chang to a fight, and what ensues is one of the most brutal ass-kickings ever caught on film. Julian, who is played by Ryan Gosling, doesn’t come close landing a single blow on Chang. Instead the cop gives him the beating of a lifetime as he repeatedly punches Julian’s face into oblivion, all captured in a frightening beauty by the film’s gorgeous cinematography. Although he ends the bout bloodier than a blue-rare steak, in Julian’s defence, nobody can really win a metaphorical fistfight against God.
10. Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago (Rocky IV)
Rarely does a boxing fight get more brutal than this one. The Rocky films have been known to get bloody, but this was the first fight in the franchise that resulted in a death. After years off of the professional circuit, Apollo Creed decides to fight an up-and-comer boxer named Ivan Drago, who is the Russian equivalent of the Terminator.
Creed doesn’t know what he’s in for before stepping in the ring, as the seasoned veteran dances around in his patented Uncle Sam outfit, all the while singing along to “Living in America” with funk legend James Brown. He soon realizes all too soon that Drago is no joke after the Russian hulk slams his boxing gloves on Apollo’s, and murmurs in a robotic voice, “You will lose.” Once the fight starts it’s clear Apollo is no match for Drago as the Master of Disaster gets knocked around the ring and beaten into a bloody pulp.
Rocky tells his friend that he’s going to stop the fight but Apollo refuses. He steps back into the ring only to have Drago land an enormous blow that snuffs out the boxer’s life. The bloodied Creed dies in Rocky’s arms, with Drago looking the Italian Stallion square in the eyes unaffected by grief or guilt, “If he dies, he dies.” Ice cold.
9. Indian Jones vs. The Swordsman (Raider of the Lost Ark)
Okay, so technically this isn’t really a fight, but the sequence is so iconic that it has to be included. Raiders of the Lost Ark is the film the introduced the world to Indiana Jones, the action-hero archeologist that battles the forces of Nazi tyranny. Indy’s most famous weapon of choice is his trusty whip, although he’s not above using a firearm when the opportunity presents itself.
After getting rid of a bunch of baddies on the streets of Cairo, Indiana comes face-to-face with a skilled Swordsman who means business. As the assassin twirls his sword around like a pre-teen at a cheerleader audition, Indiana snickers, takes out his revolver, and proceeds to shoot the Swordsman point blank. A classic comedic scene is instantly born.
Fun Fact: An elaborate sword fight for the film was originally choreographed, but on the day of shooting Harrison Ford was suffering from food poisoning. Ford pitched the idea of simply shooting the Swordsman to director Steven Spielberg, who liked it so much he decided to put it in the film.
8. Godzilla vs. the Millitary (Godzilla Series)
When oh when will the military learn that dropping bombs does virtually nothing to stop Godzilla? You would think that Japanese government would have realized this years ago and put an end to the madness. Ever since Gojira was released in 1954, military grade weapons have proven to be totally ineffective against this mammoth Japanese kaiju.
Over the years Godzilla has appeared in close to 30 movies and still blows past military brigades like a kid destroying anthills. Bombs are dropped, missiles are launched, ray beams are fired, but when the dust settles Godzilla shrugs it all off as if to say “That’s all ya’ got?” He stomps on tanks, swats fighter jets out of the sky, and uses his atomic breath to wipe out entire platoons. It honestly doesn’t get more one-sided than that.
7. Luke vs. Dragline (Cool Hand Luke)
In 1967, Paul Newman gave the performance of his career as Cool Hand Luke, a renegade inmate who refuses to conform to the rules and regulations of a rural prison in the south. Luke hates authority and refuses to bend to anyone’s will but his own. Throughout the movie, the gutsy prisoner tries several escape attempts while the prison staff continuously works to break down his spirit.
One of the standout scenes that highlights Luke’s willingness to never give up is his boxing matchup with prisoner kingpin Dragline. The obvious alpha male of the prison camp, Dragline is formidable in size and quite imposing when he needs to be. During the fight he knocks Luke down again and again. With each blow to the face, Luke keeps getting back up, slowly becoming a bloody mess in the process. Eventually, through sheer sickening determination, Luke gets Dragline to become disgusted and leave the boxing match entirely. That’s one way to beat ‘em Luke.
6. The Bride vs. The Crazy 88 (Kill Bill)
Nothing can stop the Bride’s justified path of revenge, not even an entire squad of sword wielding gangsters. Tarantino’s blood soaked Kill Bill series is filled with gruesome violence, but no moment is as infamous as the fight scene between Beatrix Kiddo and the Crazy 88 gang. When the Bride confronts numero uno on her hitlist, O-Ren Ishii, she’s not surprised to find an entire army spring up to defend their mistress.
Soon the Bride is surrounded by the Crazy 88, a vicious gang of killers that wear slick black suits, and wield weapons that would cut your head clean off. Even with their vast numbers, however, they are no match for the greatest assassin on the planet. The Bride proceeds to pick off the gang one by one; hacking off limbs, impaling bodies and gouging out eyes in the process. The end product is a bloodied room filled with bodies and survivors screaming from the agonizing pain. It’s safe to say after this bloody battle that you should stay on Beatrix Kiddo’s good side.
5. Oh Dae Su vs. Hallway of Thugs (Oldboy)
Is there art in an ass kicking? It probably depends on who you ask but Chan-wook Park, the director of Oldboy, would certainly say yes. In his film our protagonist is Oh Dae Su, a man fueled by revenge after being locked in a room for 15 years. During that time Oh Dae Su was able to train and sharpen his senses to become one formidable brawler.
Once he’s released from his prison Dae Su gets some opportunities to show off his newly formed fighting skills, most notably when confronted by a large gang of thugs in a hallway. Armed with nothing but a hammer, Oh Dae Su takes on the entire gang through a strikingly realistic and brutal fight, all captured in one long take. He may get knocked down a couple times, but the guy is absolutely relentless and manages to take out the entire gang through a series of well-timed punches and hammer blows to the head.
His victory is short lived though, as Oh Dae Su finally makes it to the elevator the doors open up to reveal more thugs. Does this phase Oh Dae Su? Of course not. Thrilled with the prospect of more chances to show off his fighting skills, a wide grin comes over Oh Dae Su’s face as he moves towards the elevator.
4. The Narrator vs. Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
The fight between Edward Norton’s Narrator and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is just about as one-sided as it gets, mostly because they are one in the same person. The Narrator has formed an alter ego version of himself in Tyler, who is hell-bent on taking down the system and everything that comes with it. His plan to open the public’s eyes has his minions from Fight Club set off a series of explosions that will level various credit buildings, thereby resetting everyone’s debt back to zero.
Horrified at his own plan, the Narrator races to stop it only to find Tyler at every turn. A psychopathic Durden beats the Narrator senseless, which is eerily creepy as the audience is now aware that the Narrator is inflicting this punishment himself.
The only way the Narrator can triumph is by realizing that he holds the power over Tyler. How does he do this? By shooting himself in the head of course. The plan kind of works as his doppelganger disappears, but the audience is left wondering if Tyler Durden will once again rear his meddlesome head in the Narrator’s future.
3. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
“You’re making a serious mistake.” “Not as serious as yours I fear, Mr. Wayne.”
The audience knows that right when that gate slams shut on Batman that the Caped Crusader is certainly in for it. The Dark Knight had been cruisin’ for a bruisin’ for three movies with no one to match his physical strength. Enter Bane: a hulking behemoth whose combat skills are only matched by his highly strategic mind. He makes it his mission to put a hurting on Batman, and what follows isn’t as much a fight rather than a straight up beat down.
Bane looms towards Batman and starts throwing around haymakers like they’re going out of style. All during the relentless beating he’s at the same time trash-talking to the Caped Crusader, accusing him of growing soft and foolish. Batman, who has recently been out of commission for some time, continues to get his butt kicked until he’s beaten nearly unconscious as Bane wails on the Bat cowl until it cracks.
Bane finally lands the coup de grace as he lifts up Batman above his head, suit and all, and slams the vigilante down on his knee, breaking the Dark Knight both physically and mentally. Fans of the comic series were both taken aback and satisfied that Bane performed his most famous action of breaking the Bat in The Dark Knight Rises. Of course, you don’t put Bane in a Batman movie without him delivering his signature back-breaking maneuver, unless your name is Joel Schumacher, that is.
2. Rocky vs. Clubber Lang (Rocky III)
After Rocky’s triumphant victory in Rocky II, the boxer takes a backseat to defending his much deserved heavy-weight title. Rocky’s trainer Mickey sets him up with a bunch of fights with people who are easily beaten. In the process the Italian Stallion loses his edge, the eye of the tiger if you will. That’s bad news for Rocky, but good news for Clubber Lang, a hungry young boxer looking to take Rocky out.
After publically humiliating Rocky at his own award ceremony, the champion reluctantly accepts Clubber’s invitation to fight. While the champ doesn’t take the opposition seriously, Clubber (seen through a montage of course) is shown taking out “fools” left and right in anticipation of the upcoming bout with Rocky.
It all culminates in the two’s first fight which results in Rocky getting his ass handed to him on a silver platter. Physically inferior, and still shaken from Mickey’s heart attack, Rocky takes punch after punch from the highly aggressive Clubber. Lang appears almost animalistic as he savagely beats Rocky into oblivion, shortly knocking the Italian Stallion out in the 3rd round. Tough break Rock.
1. Jake LaMotta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson (Raging Bull)
It’s not just for its sheer brutality, but because of the artistic bravado in the way that this beating is captured on film that it claims our top spot. Director Martin Scorsese pulls out all the stops for his biographical boxing drama Raging Bull, capturing every moment, every punch, every hit, with such intensity and grace it leaves the viewer in awe. The violence on screen is appalling, but we find ourselves peeking through the cracks of our fingers horrified at what we might see.
Robert De Niro plays Jake LaMotta, a boxer with anger issues, who after a series of runs finds his life come crashing down in front of him. His relationships with his wife and brother are strained, and Jake’s days at the top of the boxing world are numbered. He enters his last fight as a champion against famed boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who has a long history of fights with LaMotta in the past. The following fight between the two heavy-weights was nicknamed the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” and for good reason. LaMotta is relentlessly beaten by Robinson round after round. Blows to LaMotta’s head are captured in high definition slow motion that is absolutely gut-wrenching to watch. Jake’s blood is splattered on the boxing ring floor, on the announcers, and even on the spectators of the fight.
The persistent thrashing finally comes to an end in the 13th round as Robinson makes one last series of tremendous blows. Although the fight is ended by the referee, Robinson is never able to knock Jake down, a fact in which the boxer relishes even in defeat.
Can you think of any other one-sided movie fights that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!