Everybody loves a good scrap, and we've taken the liberty of taking the beating for you. When it comes to finding the greatest movie knockouts of all time, the following seven win the belt.
Punch-Drunk Love: "Pretty Woman"
As tough as it can be to sit through repeated viewings of “Pretty Woman,” there will always be that random tough-guy moment that redeems Richard Gere’s, the tacitly wooden millionaire. Gere’s Edward Lewis puts the hurt on Jason Alexander’s skeezy Jason Stuckey after catching his lawyer in the act of literally trying to screw him over.
X-Ray K.O.: "The Street Fighter"
Sonny Chiba’s Takuma Tsurugi dishes out a dozen beatings in any given "Street Fighter" film, but this rainy finale on a boat is of particular note since Tsurugi’s victory punch means smashing rival Shikenbaru’s face so hard that his nose is driven into his brain. This occasion is marked by an unforgettably bizarre x-ray profile shot of a fist slamming into a head, a historical impact recalled in later "Street Fighters," and a technique completely unique to its era.
Talking About The Queen Again, on Independence Day: "
Nobody likes to watch an old man take a beating, and that’s just what this scene makes you endure. It tackles themes of hyped violence versus immediate force, America versus England, and–most importantly–what would happen if Dumbledore got the snot kicked out of him by Royal Tenenbaum.
Debo Goes Down: "Friday"
“Friday” is usually glossed-over as just another 90’s ghetto comedy, but beneath the mugging characters and stoned antics lies a moral tale rarely achieved by its contemporaries. The undercurrent of John Witherspoon’s “live to fight another day” mantra resonates deeper than Debo’s knockout at the hands of Ice Cube. They just don’t make movies like these anymore, with Tyler Perry’s empire perpetually miring urban comedy with a case of the Mondays.
Mongo Responds to Rock Ridge Parking Restrictions: "Blazing Saddles"
In what would have been mere throwaway moments for many other directors, Mel Brooks gives the spectrum of comedy in “Blazing Saddles” time to breathe, his Mongo effectively representing the sparse moments of cartoon violence. With the power of the oft-overlooked script of Richard Pryor—notorious for incorporating “big” guys in his stand-up act—Brooks incorporates major societal caveats like racism, government corruption, and punching horses in the face.
The Cold War Goes Pop!: "Rocky IV"
This is, in essence, the first video game movie ever made. By this point in the franchise, Rocky is pretty much a slurring hunk of American can-do, and Drago is the consummate template of what all "Street Fighter" characters would become: the ultimate stereotype of a country’s aggression with about three special moves and four spoken lines. Where “Rocky” stands on the shoulders of giants that have risen to become champions in the real world, “Rocky IV” poses as the farcical installment that dogs all subsequent chapters of the franchise. Yo, Adrian! Shoryuken!
The Lady-Killer is Slayed: "Death Proof"
“Death Proof “endures through the sum of it’s parts; but the good bits merely make for good YouTubing, enjoyed in small doses that harken back to more coherent narratives in the Tarantino catalogue. One such irresistible tidbit is the final stalking and beat-down rendered upon Russell’s Stuntman Mike at the hands of his would-be prey. It would have made a heck of an ending to a great movie.