John Matrix vs. Bennett
The Film: Commando
The Fight: After knocking seven bells out of a private army of heavily armed goons, Arnie’s retired Special Forces hard-case John Matrix finally comes face to face with turncoat mercenary Bennett (Vernon Wells). Despite having brushed off all-comers along the way, Matrix finds himself in a surprisingly evenly-matched knife fight…
The Victor: Matrix of course. Just as sneaky old Bennett reaches for his gun, Arnie impales him with a massive steel pipe. All together now… “Let off some steam Bennett!”
If It Had Been More Realistic: Yeah so apparently he’s some granite tough, specially-trained hand-to-hand specialist, but you can’t ignore the fact that Bennett is a tubby camp bloke, and Matrix is, well, Arnie. He would have been gutted like a pig in an abattoir within minutes…
Alabama vs. Virgil
The Film: True Romance
The Fight: Doe-eyed Southern belle Alabama (Patricia Arquette) has been tracked down by James Gandolfini’s brutish hitman Virgil, who’s not about to hold back just because she’s a tiny little girl. However, Alabama won’t go down without a fight, using anything that comes to hand to stave off her hulking attacker…
The Victor: Against all the odds, Alabama comes out on top thanks to a corkscrew, a toilet cistern and a can of hairspray.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Only in a Tarantino-penned fantasy land would a hardened assassin toss away his gun in order to give his prey half a chance. And even then, just one punch from Gandolfini would likely put Arquette in a coma. Cracking scrap though.
Guile vs. M. Bison
The Film: Street Fighter
The Fight: All-American marine Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) takes on evil old git M. Bison (Raul Julia) at his base, opting for a one-on-one fistfight despite having Bison surrounded at gunpoint. Despite looking fairly knackered and immobile, Bison gives a surprisingly good account of himself, until he is electrocuted by a control panel. Even then, he dusts himself off for one last assault.
The Victor: Guile takes the spoils, natch, with Van Damme reaching into his devastating arsenal of kicks to send Bison hurtling into a wall of video screens. Which then explode, as video screens are wont to do.
If It Had Been More Realistic: It’s an adaptation of a videogame, so we understand that realism is hardly the order of the day. Still, pitting a 54-year-old Julia (who had only recently recovered from a bout of stomach cancer) against the lithe, 34-year-old Van Damme was stretching credulity a little too far.
Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago
The Film: Rocky IV
The Fight: A distinctly enjoyable encounter in which swaggering Yank Apollo Creed (resplendent in a pair of stars-and-stripes trunks) gets his arse handed to him by Russian brawler Ivan Drago. “I’ll be back in a minute” quips Apollo to his trainer…sadly for him, things don’t go quite to plan.
The Victor: Drago wins fairly comprehensively. And by that, we mean he kills him. Kills him dead. Just to clarify.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Hmm, no this seems fairly realistic as it is. Dolph Lundgren looks in peak physical condition, a rock-hard punching machine carved from the granite walls of a Russian Gulag. Swaggering blowhard Creed never stood a chance.
King Kong vs. Dinosaurs
The Film: King Kong
The Fight: Everyone’s favourite oversized ape has got his hairy mits on the lovely Naomi Watts, but sadly for him, she’s got other admirers in the shape of a trio of toothy dinosaurs. Thus ensues a prehistoric punchup, in which Kong takes on the scaly fiends using only one hand! What a guy…
The Victor: Kong makes absolute mugs of his three rivals, mashing one of their heads in with a rock, tangling another in some vines and ripping the last one’s face in half. Owned.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Three on one? Come on…We love Kong as much as anyone, but battering three dinosaurs with one hand tied behind his back? It just seems a bit implausible. Yes, we know we’re talking about dinosaurs vs. giant apes…
Hit Girl vs. Henchmen
The Film: Kick-Ass
The Fight: Having seen her father killed at the hands of Mob boss Frank D’Amico, Hit Girl pitches up at his heavily guarded penthouse, and proceeds to take down a horde of armed henchmen, cartwheeling and summersaulting her way through a hail of gunfire.
The Victor: Hit-Girl kills the lot of them, with barely a scratch left on her.
If It Had Been More Realistic: We don’t care how many hours of training Nic Cage had given her, twenty or so armed killers should be able to take care of a child. The goateed coward at the back of the corridor has at least three opportunities to take a clear shot at her, but opts to ponce about with his top lip aquiver instead. God only knows how Frank D’Amico rose to the top of the underworld with this bunch of goons protecting him…
Ethan Hunt vs. Owen Davian
The Film: Mission Impossible 3
The Fight: Highly-trained IMF legend Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) goes mano a mano with doughy arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in an incredibly naff dust-up in which Hunt seems to adopt a Simon says hands-on-head position for much of the fight. It’s worthy pointing out that he’s being distracted by an incapacitating head implant, but even so…
The Victor: The fight comes to a somewhat premature end when Davian finds himself in the way of a speeding vehicle.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Davian would have had a heart-attack after the first punch was thrown. Old Phil doesn’t exactly look trim, does he?
Col. Flynn O'Flynn vs. Sebastian Oldsmith
The Film: Shout At The Devil
The Fight: An utterly hilarious bout of slapstick in which Lee Marvin’s grizzled military-type goes toe to toe with Roger Moore’s loquacious aristocrat. O’Flynn might be giving away a few years to the Englishman, but what he lacks in youth he more than makes up for in underhanded cheatiness.
The Victor: Oldsmith takes a fair old shoeing but ends up victorious when O’Flynn’s heart gives way. Otherwise he would have had him…
If It Had Been More Realistic: There is just no way on God’s Green Earth that Roger Moore could beat Lee Marvin in any sort of fight!
Marvin is a grizzled old hard-ass, whilst Moore looks as though he’d have problems punching his way out of a paper bag.
It’s Marvin’s character that suffers the heart attack, but with a 49-year-old Moore puffing away in the opposite corner, it should have been the other way around.
Matt Buckner vs. Assorted Hooligans
The Film: Green Street
The Fight: Wide-eyed Harvard dropout Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) gets himself in a proper naughty tear-up with the local hooligan firm. After one of their top boys puts him on his arse it looks like its curtains for old Elijah. And yet somehow, someway, he gets to his feat and starts throwing haymakers!
The Victor: This is a mass brawl, so there’s no victor as such, but given that Elijah dishes it out to more than one tattooed brute without having his either of his legs broken, we’ll give it to him on points.
If It Had Been More Realistic: An American college boy, caught in the middle of a holligan scrap? There is no way he’d emerge with any of his teeth, let alone manage to punch anyone out! Ridiculous.
Riggs & Murtaugh vs. Wah Sing Ku
The Film: Lethal Weapon 4
The Fight: A two-on-one handicap match between officially “too old for this shit” crime-fighters Riggs and Murtaugh, and fleet-footed Triad whippet Wah Sing Ku. The two coppers have numbers on their side, but Ku is a martial-arts specialist. Riggs and Murtaugh do punching, but little else…
The Victor: Riggs finally realises he’s not going to win in a fist-fight and shoots Ku with a machine gun. Which hardly seems fair…
If It Had Been More Realistic: Danny Glover looks in no condition to fight whatsoever, whilst Mel Gibson’s best scrapping days had long gone by this point. Jet Li on the other hand was the hottest martial artist around. A proper mismatch on paper, but we suppose it would have ended the series on a bit of a downer had Li snapped both their necks!
James Bond vs. Jaws
The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
The Fight: Metal-mouthed giant Jaws is just about to sink his teeth into the lovely Barbara Bach when Roger Moore pops up to spoil the fun. Cue a cramped scrap in a train carriage in which Jaws comfortably manhandles Bond without actually hurting him very much. Put the boot in son!
The Victor: Bond manages to get hold of a lamp, with which he electrocutes Jaws. Somehow he evades getting a few volts himself, even though Jaws clearly has his hands on him at the time. Strange.
If It Had Been More Realistic: It seems crass to pick on Roger Moore again, but really, Jaws’ hands are as big as his head! He could crush his skull in the blink of an eye, and yet seems satisfied with just giving him a big hug. A very lucky escape for 007…
George McFly vs. Biff Tannen
The Film: Back To The Future
The Fight: Having been pushed around his whole life, weedy old George McFly decides it’s time to toughen up when he spots Biff coming over all rapey with Lorraine. Offering out the bullying meathead, things aren’t looking great for George until the sight of a wounded Lorraine gives him an unexpected boost…
The Victor: McFly lands one punch and knocks Biff out cold, winning Lorraine’s heart and ensuring Marty’s future is secure. Yay!
If It Had Been More Realistic: Biff would have broken George’s arm like a twig. McFly might be a dab hand at spying on girls while they change, but a fighter he is not. And Biff is an absolute unit…
Royce vs. Predator
The Film: Predators
The Fight: Having been chased all over the alien planet, tracked like a dog by a group of Predators on a hunting weekend, hard-bitten mercenary Royce decides enough is enough, and squares up to his main antagonist. Having disorientated the Predator with a corpse stuffed with grenades, a brutal fight to the finish ensues.
The Victor: Aided by a nifty bit of shooting from his comrade Isabella, Royce manages to lop off the Predator's head. Now, how to get home…
If Had Been More Realistic: Adrien Brody is the sort of actor you’d expect to see offered in the first ten minutes or so. A cowardly scientist, or something like that. Even accepting him as a bad-ass mercenary, he’s surely not got the muscle-power to take down a Predator? If anyone’s head is coming off, it would surely be Brody’s.
Gabe Walker vs. Eric Qualen
The Film: Cliffhanger
The Fight: A cliff-top brawl (where else was it going to happen?) pitting Sly Stallone’s Gabe Walker against the film’s arch villain, er, John Lithgow. That’s right, before becoming famous as a vaguely camp TV funnyman, Lithgow had carved out a villainous niche for himself as an action movie baddie. He plays typically dirty here, which is just as well, since Stallone would surely wipe the floor with him in a fair fight…
The Victor: Qualen implausibly has the better of it, even holding Sly in a headlock, until the wrecked helicopter they’re fighting on careers over the cliff taking the villain with it. Phew!
If It Had Been More Realistic: Surely an athletic, muscled mountain-climber could overcome a mincing, white-collar crim? Come on Sly, get your act together!
Darren McCord vs. Penguin
The Film: Sudden Death
The Fight: To clarify, JCVD isn’t actually fighting a penguin here, rather a henchman (or rather hench-woman) in a penguin suit. She proceeds to give him a run for his money in one of the more unintentionally hilarious fight sequences of Van Damme’s career.
The Victor : Van Damme finally emerges victorious after booting the hit-woman into a giant dishwasher, which catches the strap of the penguin’s headpiece, thus garrotting her. Ouch.
If It Had Been More Realistic: We’re not going to say anything sexist about no woman being a match for JCVD. The fact that she’s barely mobile within a giant penguin suit renders the whole thing preposterous anyway. She would not trouble Van Damme in the slightest. End of.
Sparta vs. Persia
The Film: 300
The Fight: Leonidas and his 299 brave Spartan warriors, taking on the “God-King” Xerxes, and his seemingly limitless Persian hordes. We’re talking millions here. Good job the Spartans like a scrap, isn’t it?
The Victor: Sparta. Sound tactics plus batshit-crazy attitude equals the mother of all upsets. Huzzah for the underdogs!
If It Had Been More Realistic: We don’t care how shiny their CGI six-packs are, there is absolutely no way that three hundred blokes could stave off an army of more than a million warriors. “But it really happened!” we hear you cry! Well, not quite it didn’t. The Spartans actually teamed up with some of their fellow Greek states, bringing their numbers up to around 7,000.
The number of Persians meanwhile, was closer to 200,000. Still impressive, but not quite the same level of mismatch as the movie would have it. Oh, and the Persians didn’t have any trained Rhinos at their disposal, either. If they did, they would definitely have bossed it.
Westley vs. Fezzik
The Film: The Princess Bride
The Fight: Humble farmhand Westley (cunningly disguised in a black mask) faces off against outsized wrestler Fezzik. Surely there’s no way this pipsqueak can get the better of Andre the Giant? You’d be surprised…
The Victor: Against all the odds, Westley manages to choke the big man until he blacks out. The bigger they are, the harder they fall and all that.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Cary Elwes could hardly get his hands around Andre’s neck, let alone generate enough pressure to choke him out. The “Eighth Wonder Of The World” would have dropped him with a trusty Big Boot and pinned him 1-2-3! How unrealistic can you get? This would never have happened in the WWF…
Mason Storm vs. Jack Axel & Friends
Film: Hard To Kill
The Fight: Having only just recovered from a seven-year coma a matter of weeks earlier, badass copper Mason Storm takes on a household full of goons on his way to a final billiard-room showdown with the man who killed his wife. What were you expecting from a guy with a name like that? He gets things done…
The Victor: Mason, by a country mile. Ramming a pool-cue through Axel’s neck is the icing on the cake.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Seven years in a coma? His muscles would be like jelly! Half an hour of on-screen training would probably have him up and walking again at a stretch, but ready to take on a job-lot of ruthless murderers? Probably not.
Shark vs. Zombie
Film: Zombie Flesh Eaters
The Fight: A seabound zombie doesn’t let a little water throw him off his stride as he terrorises the local marine life at the bottom of the ocean. However, there’s a tiger shark in town and he’s none too pleased at the undead newcomer lording it on his patch. Cue an inter-species dust-up of epic proportions.
The Victor: Jaws had clearly never watched a George Romero film. Zombies are not to be messed with, and sure enough, the shambling fella makes mincemeat of his fishy opponent.
If It Had Been More Realistic: How on earth could a shark let a zombie get the better of him? The living dead aren’t the quickest of cats at the best of times, but underwater, they should have no chance. One bite from those massive teeth and it should have been over. Beaten on home turf? Hang your head in shame Sharky.
Oh Dae-Su vs. Hired Goons
The Fight: Having been imprisoned for 15 years by an unknown captor whilst his wife was murdered and his daughter re-housed, former businessman Oh Dae-Su is out for answers, by any means necessary. And if those means include taking a knife in the back as you batter your way through a corridor of anonymous heavies, then so be it.
T he Victor: Dae-Su and his trusty claw hammer blaze a trail of bloody vengeance, leaving a steadily growing pile of bodies in their wake.
If It Had Been More Realistic: Dae-Su is your common or garden businessman before his capture, albeit one with a bit of a temper. Alright, he’s spent his time in captivity toughening himself up a bit, but would that really transform him into a lean, mean arse-kicking machine? Apparently it would.