I took four years of Kung Fu. I'm not even kidding. I like to think that makes me some kind of authority on movie fight scenes, but it doesn't take a Level III White Crane to recognize a masterfully choreographed, shot, and edited fight. Some kind of climatic showdown is generally expected in horror and genre film, but other movies offer up a fight midway through. Either way, I love a good fight and I've here listed some good 'uns.
The Hills Have Eyes
(apologies for the vid, I recommend turning off the sound)
Though many will disagree, I think this remake was among the best films to come out in 2006. Few if any movies of the early oughts can match it for violence, and the film earned its hard R for sheer brutality as opposed to language and nudity. Pluto has all the finesse of a bull in a china shop, but Doug perseveres in spite of the overwhelming odds against him and the loss of two fingers.
Admittedly this is not a horror movie, Kurt Wimmer's distopic sci-fi is still genre and deserves a mention. The Gun Kata is a style of Karate developed with the specific goal of avoiding flying bullets while shooting your own gun at the same time. It's stylish, it's graceful, and it's deadly.
Normally one would associate Asian film with stylized wire-work martial arts, or mind-blowing stunts. Not so with Oldboy, though I'd argue the hallway hammer fight is right up there with flying Ninjas. The choreography is particularly outstanding because Dae-su Oh and his numerous assailants work in such a tight space and yet still manage to maintain a gritty realism in spite of the preposterous situation.
Evil Dead 2
Ash battles his own hand in this genre classic. The effects of having a possessed limb take their toll on our boy as he is repeatedly hit in the head. But Ash finally gets the upper, uh, hand when he lops off the offending appendage with a chainsaw. This is perhaps the most literal (and best) interpretation of man vs self ever to appear in film--until stoner comror Idle hands takes it down a notch.
(more apologies, this time for the cam)
There's no two ways about it, this movie is goddamn terrible. And yet it features a really good fight, made all the more amazing given that it's between two kids. I'm not sure how that happened, because GI Joe is supposed to be an action movie about grown ups, but the fight between baby Stormshadow and baby Snake Eyes rivals anything seen in contemporary action films.
Zombi 2 (aka Zombie)
I'm not entirely sure this qualifies as an actual fight, but a zombie faces off against a shark in the Italian film Zombi 2. The audacity of the match-up is what really sets this one apart as well as the technological and logistical aspects of filming an underwater fight scene. That man has no gear and he's battling a real shark.
I've said before this might be one of the best fight scenes in a horror movie, ever. Naturally, one would expect Rowdy Roddy Piper to know how to throw a punch, but who really can say anything about Keith David? And yet the two square off and find themselves to be equally matched. It's not pretty to watch and you feel for both these guys as they trade blows. One of my favourite moments comes when Keith David breaks the glass bottle and Roddy laughs--it is pretty funny.