Title picture: Paramount Pictures
As I said before: Fight scenes: I love ‘em.
You know what also can be fun: A fight or battle where one combatant/side completely devastates the other. Evenly matched fights can certainly be fun too, but today I want to give props to the mismatched beatdowns. They can be great storytelling devices, especially when it’s a protagonist who’s being thrashed. Add just the right amount of ominous music and you can feel the demoralization. So, for my latest list post (I think today’s internet runs on lists), here are 7 completely one-sided ass kickings that have always stuck in my head, where one side is decimated and the other is basically unscathed.
To be included in this list, all of the entries indeed had to be extremely decisive defeats. Fights where one side spends most of the incident being humiliated only to come back and win at the end don’t count. (However they’re still eligible if the loser defeats the victor in a later, separate fight.) I’m also going to include gunfights and battles between groups/vehicles this time around.
Also: Spoilers will flow as freely as blood.
7: Lee vs. O’Hara – Enter the Dragon (1973)
Golden Harvest Company, Warner Bros.
This memorable fight from Enter the Dragon is a perfect example of how I’m defining “one-sided ass kicking.” Lee doesn’t even get hit once by O’Hara in this match. (I’m going to say that’s a course of events to which O’Hara is not accustomed.) On top of that, Han, the main villain, has to watch his best henchman defeated effortlessly. And on top of all that, O’Hara essentially killed Lee’s sister in the past, giving this fight a revenge angle.
None of the above attributes are reasons for me liking this fight, however. Simply put: I like the big slow motion screaming stomp at the end. It’s over the top, but I love it all the same. Much like Bane’s lines from The Dark Knight Rises, I’ve dorkily imitated the scream enough that again my wife probably wants to throw things at me.
6: The Battle of Wolf 359 – Emissary, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)
This battle actually occurred during the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II,” but only the aftermath was shown. DS9’s premiere episode “Emissary” finally gave Trek viewers a look at this slaughter.
This battle might have been higher on this list is more of it was shown, because a slaughter is just what it was. The lone Borg cube destroyed every Federation ship sent at it. Granted, the Borg possessed an assimilated Captain Picard (thus having one of the internet gods on their side), but I imagine that even without that extra advantage, the battle would have ended with similar results. This was The Next Generation, after all; the Borg were still unstoppable. And just what were those results? Well, according to the battle’s Star Trek Wiki page: 11,000 people lost and 39 ships destroyed, while the Borg cube sustained “light damage.”
5: Lore vs. Worf – Datalore, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988)
This short little fight from TNG totals all of 19 seconds. Still, I’ve always remembered this one. Lore, an android of the same type as Data, has disguised himself as his brother. He either decides he’s tired of stealth or he just doesn’t like Worf, and the brief fight above results. It certainly highlights how durable and strong Lore (and therefore Data) is. They’re basically Terminators in that regard, even though they don’t look particularly imposing at first glance. Speaking of Terminators…
4: Terminator vs. Police – The Terminator (1984)
This one’s an old favorite. I was blown off the couch when I first saw the Terminator movies as a kid. I considered putting the shootout between the Terminator and the police from Terminator 2 on this list, since that one’s more spectacular overall (read: minigun and grenade launcher). I decided on this shootout, however, since the Terminator isn’t restricted by a requirement not to cause fatalities, which gives the scene a harder edge. As I recall, the Terminator kills 17 police officers. Can you imagine how long this massacre and the (presumed) subsequent manhunt for the perpetrator would have been the top story on the news? Even today, a story like this would trend on Facebook for quite some time, I’m sure.
3: Ozymandias vs. the Comedian – Watchmen (2009)
Okay, I’ve talked about Watchmen’s opening fight already, but I don’t know how I could do a list of one-sided ass kickings and not include it. Hell, the first time around, I even referred to this fight as a one-sided ass kicking. I won’t waste too much time rehashing what I’ve already said about it, like how stable the camera work is. Suffice it to say, this is a hell of a good fight.
I had considered putting the later fight between Ozymandias and Nite Owl II and Rorschach on this list instead, but I can’t help but feel the opening fight is more deserving of the spot, despite being a rerun. The later fight, while still quite fun, has more pauses in the action for the characters to exchange dialogue. The Ozymandias/Comedian fight is much more unbroken.
2: Bane vs. Batman – The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Another rerun… I’m sorry. (Then again, if Watchmojo can have certain movies show up again and again in their lists, why can’t I?) I’ve already talked at length about how much I like this fight scene in The Dark Knight Rises. Like the previous rerun, it fits the criteria of this list quite well, so I’ve got to at least mention it. Sure, Bane gets hit plenty of times (I’ve always assumed he was letting himself be hit to test and/or intimidate Batman), but he doesn’t seem to be particularly affected. Batman… gets broken. Plus, this is the fight scene that somehow successfully sells the whole “talking while fighting” thing, which I generally don’t go for.
1: First Encounter with the Dominion – The Jem’Hadar, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994)
So… what does it take to beat the Almighty Bane Fight? Well… this scene. What you see above is the first encounter between the Federation and a large empire known as the Dominion, which happens to be more technologically advanced. The USS Odyssey is largely ineffective in its attempt to fend off the three attack ships it encounters. The engagement does end with one of the three Dominion ships destroyed, but I’m still putting this battle on the list as the ship was destroyed due to its own decision to kamikaze the Odyssey as opposed to being destroyed by it.
My reasons for placing this one at #1 are personal. When I was a kid, particularly when I lived in State College, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation a lot. Therefore lots of happy childhood nostalgia is tied to the image of the USS Enterprise-D. I never saw much of Deep Space Nine until I watched it a few years ago, leading to my first encounter with this scene. The Odyssey is the same type of starship (Galaxy Class) as the Enterprise-D, so seeing it destroyed so easily was like watching the happier parts of my childhood get carved up and destroyed. (It’s sort of like finding out a childhood home is gone.) Needless to say I was eager for Dominion blood after that scene. As the Dominion war progressed through DS9, I felt a great sense of satisfaction whenever I’d see a Dominion ship get destroyed by a Galaxy Class starship.
As time went on, though, I began to appreciate the Odyssey scene. I’m guessing that my reaction to it was just what the writers intended. Before the battle, I was all happy to see a Galaxy Class ship due to the nostalgia factor, and as the Enterprise-D generally kicked ass, I was expecting the Odyssey to do the same. The starship turning out to be helpless very effectively conveyed that the Dominion was a very dangerous threat. I also like how the Odyssey’s captain was quite (over)confident and sure of himself before the battle. One-sided ass kickings are arguably the best when the loser was completely sure of victory beforehand.