Sunday, January 11, 2009

Interesting Movie Battles Where a Character Fights Himself

Alright, for clarification, I'm not talking about movies where a character is struggling with some inner turmoil, or is personally conflicted with a decision. I'm specifically talking about when characters are physically attacking themselves, in some form. Let the battle begin!

5. Jet Li vs. Jet Li (The One, 2001)
In this generally crummy movie Jet Li plays a character that is out to kill alternate universe versions of himself to become the ultimate ... thing ... of the stuff. I don't know, it's not all that important. An action star playing multiple parts in a movie is nothing special; Jackie Chan teamed up with himself in Twin Dragons, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has dealt with his fair share of clones, but in this movie we have a true head-to-head rumble between Jet Li and Jet Li. While the film is forgettable, the final fight is probably the one thing you would identify the movie with, and it finds a place on the list as a result. Also, if you think about the choreography, editing, and special effects required to make the fight work as well as it does, I think some amount of credit is due.

4. Good Ash vs. Bad Ash (Army of Darkness, 1992)
I love this movie, for being delightfully weird, creepy, and hilarious. The fight I'm referring to occurs when our hero, Ash, swallows a mini version of himself and shortly after a full sized evil Ash begins to grow out of his shoulder. I told you it was weird. The two of them tussle for a while until they separate. What makes this fight so awesome is that it's quickly brought to an end when Good Ash shoots Bad Ash in the face with a shotgun, then proceeds to chain him down, cut him up with a chainsaw, and bury him. When Bad Ash emerges again as the main villain I don't really see that as a continuation of the fight but just a different enemy. Anyway, the fight is ridiculous and a must see.

3. Charlie vs. Hank (Me, Myself, and Irene, 2000)
When Jim Carrey acts out opposing personalities duking it out in the same body, the result is pure entertainment. It's hilarious to watch this brutal fight play out, and it's really an impressive display of physical comedy as Carrey punches, slaps, and chokes himself, even carrying himself around after fainting. As the fight continues, he throws himself around, knocks himself through a window, spits in his own face, and even pummels himself while driving to then hurl himself from the moving car. It's awesome, check it out.

2. The Narrator vs. Tyler Durden (Fight Club, 1999)
To those of you who haven't seen this movie yet, stop reading and go watch it already. What the hell are you waiting for? The big spoiler I will unleash at this moment is that The Narrator (Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) are actually the same person. In the final scenes of the film Pitt is revealed as Norton's alter ego, and the struggle to stop Tyler Durden ensues. In an underground parking lot, the two of them (or should I say one of him?) have a fight where Norton's character get punched, kicked, clothes-lined, and thrown down a flight of stairs. The film shows us the fight sometimes as the two actors fighting, and sometimes as Norton fighting alone. Basically the whole movie is the Narrator harming himself, whether it's chemical burns, car crashes, or beating the ever-living shit out of himself in front of his boss. By the end of the movie, the Narrator's only way to kill Durden is by turning a gun on himself, though not in quite the way you'd imagine. The Narrator gives/takes a ton of abuse in this movie, and the showdown between him and his second personality is a startling bit of cinema.

1. Ash vs. The Hand (Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, 1987)
If you're bummed out that I'm using the same character again for this list, I have this to say: One, this fight isn't from the same movie, and it's a completely different sort of fight, and two, Ash is one of the greatest characters in movie history and his ordeals and triumphs deserve recognition. The fight is basically between Ash and his hand after it's infected with "evil". What plays out in the kitchen of that little cabin in the woods was one of most insane things I ever saw growing up, but I loved every second of it. The hand, with a mind of it's own, attacks and violently smashes anything it can reach against Ash's head. Ash is knocked out, and the hand proceeds to drag him across the floor in order to reach a butcher knife. Before it can get there, Ash suddenly pins the hand to the floor with a knife, starts up a chainsaw with his teeth, and cuts off his hand while delivering the line "Who's laughing now!?" It's an unreal fusion of comedy and gore that is impossible to forget. Even though, once separated from his body, the hand continues to cause mayhem, it's that single moment of revenge and self mutilation that wins the top spot. From the moment that Ash cuts off the hand, it changes him from horror movie protagonist to total bad ass. The fight in the kitchen wasn't just interesting, it was hardcore.


Cole D'Arc said...

The number one is just as it should be. i need to see that Jet Li fight again as i barely remember that movie. and don't forget my boy, Jean-Claude playing twins in Double Impact and also a couple versions of himself in Time Cop - it's definitely an action star thing.

RyHo said...

I was just going to comment on JCVD in Double Impact. The fight between Alex and Chad around when they first meet is good, although altogether too short.

The Jet Li fight is so well done, though. When I see this movie on, I pretty much just try to catch that part. In fact, I often forget that Jason Statham was in that thing as well.

As for Ash, perfect choice.