Ah, the fight to the death. It’s a time-honored way to end stories, whether they involve superheroes, martial artists, gladiators, or something less ambiguously homoerotic than those things. Here are seven great movie fights to the death, perfect for if you want to watch two men attempt to kill each other. So, pretty much any time.
Han vs. Lee, “Enter The Dragon“
As if fighting with Bruce Lee weren’t difficult enough, martial artist/dope peddler Mr. Han has to do it in a hall of mirrors. Mr. Han isn’t without his advantages, too, though: It’s his hall of mirrors, after all. Plus he’s got those cool detachable weapons in place of one of his hands. If you’ve ever seen a Bruce Lee movie, though, you know it’s not enough. RIP Mr. Han.
Maximus vs. Commodus, “Gladiator“
Here’s a fight with the deck even more stacked: Our hero, Maximus, is exhausted from his many fights in the gladiatorial arena, and Commodus, the emperor and all-around horrible douche, stabs him in the side before the fight begins! In true badass fashion, though, Maximus puts up a decent fight, and ends up stabbing Commodus through the throat. Maximus ends up dying, too, but not before winning a fight to the death.
Robin Hood vs. Sir Guy of Gisbourne, “The Adventures of Robin Hood“
swordfights with good guys if at all possible – they almost always end with the good guy victorious and the bad guy dead. That’s what happens in this 1938 action classic, even though the bad guy is played by Basil Rathbone, a world-class fencer in real life. Sometimes good triumphs over evil, no matter what.
Snake Plissken vs. Slag, “Escape from New York“
It might be the distant future of 1997, but the classic spectator sport of gladiatorial hand-to-hand combat is still going strong. Did we say “hand-to-hand”? We meant “whatever you can get your hands on to whatever the other guy’s got.” That’s an important distinction for our hero Snake, who has to enter in this contest as part of his mission to rescue the President from New York City, which has been converted to a giant prison colony. We don’t really learn much about Slag, other than what his head looks like with a board sticking out of it, courtesy of Snake Plissken.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The Seven Evil Exes, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World“
Relationships are hard. This is doubly so if you live in the elastic video game world of Scott Pilgrim, in which insecurities are made disturbingly literal. In this case, in order to win the heart of Ramona, Scott has to do battle with her seven evil exes. They range from a pushover to a diabolical puppet master, and Scott manages to dispatch all of them and win the girl. It wasn’t easy though. Actually, it was pretty easy (he did have lots of powerups, after all).
Dutch vs. Predator, “Predator”
The alien hunter known as the Predator probably thought he was going to have a relaxing and leisurely time hunting down humans for sport. And he did, at first. But then Dutch (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, naturally), the only survivor of his group of commandos, impressed him somehow. So he decided to take off all his fancy gadgets, and his helmet, and fight the guy, mano a alieno. As you might expect, it did not go great for the Predator.
Dawn Lagarto vs. Whoever Is In Her Way, “Series 7: The Contenders”
Dawn is a contestant on a reality show called “The Contenders.” She’s pregnant—really pregnant—and a two-time champion. And if she wins one more time, she gets her freedom from the game. Did we mention the game is that the contestants murder each other? It is. Dawn comes out on top of a lot of fights to the death in “Series 7,” which includes an unforgettable montage of all her “best kills.” But the best one is probably right at the beginning, when she guns down a fellow contestant in a convenience store. She’s championship material, all right!