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Author Topic: Top 10 movie duels of all time
Nell Gwyn
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No one's mentioned Kill Bill yet (!) - the Uma/Lucy fight in the snow was awesome!

I also agree with the Inigo/Westley duel, as well as any and all Monty Python and Mel Brooks references. [Big Grin]

Sadly, I haven't seen a lot of the other movies mentioned, so I can't comment on those.

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Enigmatic
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The Drew chair fight isn't really a duel though, since it's one important character vs several unnamed thugs. If we're allowing that type of fight I nominate the chickfight in 5th Element during the opera scene as a cool fight sequence.

--Enigmatic

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Lyrhawn
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They don't always have the wave their hands or what not to show they are using the force.

I understand why they do it, because otherwise people are like "how did that just happen?" but its not always realistic. It's like the Force Witches of Dathomir using vocal spells to control the force, it isn't necessary, it's something done to help focus the mind.

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Lyrhawn
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For those who've seen Gladiator, which of the fights of Maximus would you include?
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob the Lawyer:
The Yoda fights do not deserve to be on the list. Duels are about artistry, lines, physical prowess, etc. One man flailing and a computer-generated image added afterwards does not a good duel made. I'll be honest, I laughed at the Yoda duel in episode II. It was ridiculous, and I'd rather we kept cartoon fights off the lists for simplicity's sake.

YES!

I'm a fight scene connoisseur, and a kung-fu movie fanatic. Here are my all-time top five, in no particular order:

**Bruce Lee vs. Ohara in Enter the Dragon
It's short, but I've never seen anyone move as fast as Bruce did in that scene. His punches seem to hit before they were even thrown.

**Tony Jaa's final fight in Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior
This dude has renewed my sagging faith in the modern martial arts movie. He's probably the biggest muay-thai style film star in history, and he deserves it. I haven't been so impressed with a film fighter since Jet Li was in his prime. This guy starts out good, and every scene he just keeps getting better. Every time you think he can't possibly get any better, he proves you wrong, and by the final fight scene I nearly wet myself. If you like martial arts movies, and you haven't seen this one, go buy it today. You won't regret it. **(see end of post)

**Jackie Chan vs. Benny "The Jet" Urquidez in Dragons Forever
Jackie himself prefers his fight with Benny in Wheels on Meals, but I think this one is far better. An absolutely phenomenal end to one of the best kung-fu movies ever made. The scene also features Yuen Biao doing the most jaw-dropping, pants-soiling acrobatic stunts ever captured on film, and Jackie's stunt team doing things that make your head bleed just watching them. It's such an amazing scene, I can't even describe it. I wouldn't be half the Jackie Chan fan I am if it weren't for this movie, and if anyone ever wants to know what's so great about him, this is always the scene I show them.

**The final fight scene in Fist of Legend
This movie is the reason that Yuen Woo Ping got hired to choreograph the Matrix, and if you watch it, you'll see why. Every fight scene in this movie is better than the last. And the final scene is phenomenal. The combination of Jet Li's skill and Woo Ping's imagination manifests itself as one of the most epic fight scenes ever. It just keeps going and going, and it never gets dull. And there are several cunning directorial touches that enhance the action, such as the moment when Jet steels himself for his enemy's response, only to see that he has a couple of seconds before it comes, at which point he lets down his guard just long enough to cough up a little blood. Amazing. I've seen the scene hundreds of times, and it still blows my mind.

**The courtyard fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Yuen Woo Ping does it again. Of course every fight scene in the film is brilliant, and it's difficult to choose between this one, the Yellow Hill fight, the restaurant scene, the Michelle Yeoh multi-weapon scene, and all the others. But the initial fight in the courtyard was my favorite. It's like they say about musicals... the best ones use the songs to tell the story, rather than pad the movie. This film did the same thing with kung-fu. Not only was this a flawlessly liquid, hypnotic fight scene, perfectly choreographed, performed and directed, but the moves told a story, and I felt like I understood the characters better from the way they fought. What's more, it was the only time I've ever seen a fight scene in the theatre that induced a spontaneous round of applause from the audience. Just perfect.

I've got another favorite, but it's a favorite for idealistic reasons rather than purely technical reasons, so I'll just include it as an honourable mention. It's the final fight in Lethal Weapon IV.

See, one thing really bugs me about American action movies. A lot of times, people put American pretty-boys in the lead roles, and then they realize that they can create a crossover kung-fu draw by casting an amazing martial artist as the bad guy. It works just fine until the end, when they inevitably have to fight. They have to make the pretty-boy look heroic, even though everyone knows that in real life he'd get torn apart and eaten alive. So usually, the director decides to either make the antagonist suddenly and inexplicably fight far worse, or use cheap and unconvincing camera tricks to make it look like the protagonist is fighting better. Some of the many examples I can think of off the top of my head are The Quest (let's face it, Van Damme's a pansy, and everyone else in that movie, including a geriatric Roger Moore, could have killed him), and Grosse Point Blank (even though I liked the movie), where John Cusack fights Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, one of the best martial artists ever.

Anyway, after having seen all those movies, I was really shocked at how they handled the final fight in Lethal Weapon IV. Seems like the director actually realized that no one would believe that either of the leads could survive 5 seconds in a fair fight against Jet Li. So he gave up the idea of making them look heroic, and let them cheat. They ganged up on him. They used weapons. They hit him from behind. They stabbed him. Eventually they shot him with a machine gun. And in the next scene, they were sporting bandages and casts and walking with canes. It was still an amazing, exciting and dynamic fight scene, but it was really great to see it done with a sense of humor, and some respect for the antagonist. And just for that, I've always considered it one of the best fight scenes I've ever seen.

By the way, speaking of Jet Li, sure his Chinese movies were classics, but I really think he's done some good stuff in some of his American movies. At least the ones that he's choreographed with Cory Yuen. Although the movies themselves weren't that great, I really liked some of the action scenes in The One and Kiss of the Dragon. And although this movie absolutely sucked, Cory Yuen teamed up with Jason Statham to pull off some phenomenal duels in The Transporter.

I don't know if you were looking for this much answer to your question, but as I said, this is my area.

**[edit: if any of you decide to see Ong-Bak based upon my recommendation, prepare yourselves. Muay Thai is a much more brutal and utilitarian style of fighting than most of the kung fu, karate, capoeira, tae kwon do and other things you may be used to seeing in movies. There's not a lot of actual blood, but if you have a weak stomach there are several places that will make you taste your lunch.

That being said, this is a perfect example of why the best martial arts movies are being made independently and overseas. Tony and his stunt team are obviously willing to take real risks, and real beatings, to make their movies. While they do what they can to minimize pain and risks, they're obviously doing some things here that you wouldn't even dare ask a Hollywood union studio stuntman, let alone your average lead actor, to do. Some of these punches can't be pulled, and some of these stunts can't be faked, and it brings a level of intensity to the movie that you won't find in even the best Hollywood action films.]

[ December 16, 2005, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: Speed ]

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T_Smith
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There was a movie called "By The Sword" made in 1991. As far as any sword duel ever goes, this movie, by far, has the most realistic fencing I've seen in a movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101524/

Not a great movie in and of itself, I'll admit. But it sure has some good sword play.

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Dagonee
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Bruce Leroy v. Sho' 'Nuff in The Last Dragon.

GOT to be in there. [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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Don't diss Grosse Pointe Blank, it was filmed in my backyard (figuratively, not literally).

Chinese martial arts movies all run together after awhile. Crouching Hero Hidden One Fist Dragon whatever, they all look the same. There's a destiny or whatever, and ONE guy has to somehow overcomw a bunch of other guys that fly around the screen and have sword fights with their flimsy Chinese style swords.

I find some, well, very few, of these movies to be entertaining, but not for the fight scenes, they could easily show the exact same fight scene in every movie and I'd hardly notice the difference from them showing "different" onces.

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Speed
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And all wine tastes the same to me, so I guess I know how you feel.

I am glad you mentioned it, though. It's good to know that I've actually accomplished something in refining my fight-scene palate to the point where I can notice and enjoy the artistic nuances of the well-crafted martial arts display. If everyone liked those types of movies, I'd feel sort of common. [Razz]

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Dan_raven
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Hero? Some great duels in that one.

The Sword Fight between Robin Hood and the Sherrif in the classic Errol Flynn Robin Hood.

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Beren One Hand
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Although it isn't a movie, Mal's performance in Shindig is probably my favorite duel of all time. [Smile]

***

Lyrhawn, I agree with what you're saying. I've always thought Jedi masters don't really need to move that much when they fight.

But this is a movie. And for a movie, we need to see it. [Razz]

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Enigmatic
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Tetsuo vs Kaneda in Akira is awesome, and could be considered a duel.

--Enigmatic

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Sopwith
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Major cool points to Aerto for mentioning Flynn/Rathbone's fight in Robin Hood.

Also, the fight on the cliff face in Last of the Mohicans with We Studi was great.

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Lyrhawn
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Should we include cartoon duels?

If so, Zex Marquis vs. Hero Yui would be a fantastic addition.

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Magson
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quote:
Originally posted by Beren One Hand:
Liam Neeson in Rob Roy.

Thank you Beren. I'm late to this thread, and was floored that this one wasn't mentioned in the 1st 3 posts.

Best. Duel. Ever.

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human_2.0
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Jackie Chan vs the pirate captain in either Project A or Project B (can't remember which).

Jackie Chan vs everyone (there are many duels, especially the girl) in Drunken Master. Oh that movie is good.

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Lyrhawn
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Jackie Chan vs Jackie Chan.

That fight could go on forever.

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skillery
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Speed:

I'll have to watch Dragons Forever again soon. It's been a couple of months. So "Benny" is the spacey looking guy with dark circles around his eyes and white powder under his nose?

I like the fights in Drunken Master II, but Fearless Hyena is my favorite Jackie Chan movie, mostly for the training scenes.

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dantesparadigm
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I have to go with the scene at the end of Patriot were Mel Gibson finally faces down Tarleton. Not a lot of action but its got enough raw emotion to fit into the plot while adding bloody violence.

"No, my sons were better men"

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
For those who've seen Gladiator, which of the fights of Maximus would you include?

Hmm... even though there are really only two duels that I can think of, I'd have to say that the fight with Commodus was my favorite. It wasn't as well choreographed as the earlier duel, but the emotional value more than made up for it.
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boogashaga
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"Lone Wolf McQuade"
David & Chuck both got hurt, dirty, bloody, and sore. When David tried to use a submachinegun to kill Chuck, Chuck blew him up with a hand grenade. I thought that it was interesting to read Carradine's take on that movie in his book. He became good friends with Chuck during that movie. They used to drink beer together at the end of each day's shooting.

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JTruant711
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I'm saying last scene with Magua and Uncas in The Last of the Mohicans...

Actually, anything that Michael Mann directs, when it comes to this, he takes the cake.

Then I nominate the duel between Gandalf and the Balrog... it's like a moving painting.

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JTruant711
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If it's cartoons... Princess Mononoke...

San and the Lady.

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TrapperKeeper
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Cartoon, Optimus Prime vs Megatron.
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lem
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quote:
But for chick fights, I take the fight in the training room toward the end of Crouching Tiger.
I agree. Not only is that the best "chick" fight I have ever seen, I also think it is the best all time fight I have ever seen--with the possible exception of both Drunken Masters.

Charlies Angels seemed like a cheap rip off of the Matrix and CTHD. Oh...Michelle Yeo was great in the original SuperCop.

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lem
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I just read Speed's post. I will have to check out those fight scenes. I have grown to trust his musical tastes he has shared on Hatrack.
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cheiros do ender
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quote:
Muay Thai is a much more brutal and utilitarian style of fighting than most of the kung fu, karate, capoeira, tae kwon do and other things you may be used to seeing in movies. There's not a lot of actual blood, but if you have a weak stomach there are several places that will make you taste your lunch.
Has capoeira actually been used in a movie as a fighting style? I mean, besides movies about Capoeira, that's just silly! The Rundown is set in Brasil and I'm guessing the guys in the jungle fight scene are trained in Capoeira but I don't know if what they actually do could be called Capoeira. Would that or the climax scene in that movie count as a great duel?

Then there's Cat Woman, which I never plan to see if i can help it, where Halle Barre (sp?) is trained in Capoeira but I still don't see how you could put the Capoeira style into a fight scene and expect to entertain anyone. O fcourse that's just me: where I train I've never actually seen anyone make contact, except by accident, and there are probably different styles that include contact.. Oh well!

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by larisse:
starLisa, do you mean the final mental duel in Scanners? Scanners is one of my fave SciFi B-movies. Trancers, Doll-man, Troma movies. Well, those kinda lean toward the C-movies.... hahaha, but much fun.

Yep. It's classic.

Just a minor point: I have gotten high one time in my entire life, and it was in high school. And it was on the way to see a double feature of Scanners and The Exterminator. So I can't be 100% sure of what I saw.

I was probably lucky I didn't see Altered States that night. My brains probably would have flowed out my ears.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by MandyM:
OK I rarely play the gender card but here it is....

Where are all the chick fights? Where are the Charlie's Angels? The fight Drew Barrymore starts while tied to the chair is wonderful. What about Lara Croft and the flying fight scene. I mean light sabers are cool and all, don't get me wrong but you gotta love a good cat fight too!

Good point. The entirety of Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Don't diss Grosse Pointe Blank, it was filmed in my backyard (figuratively, not literally).

OMG, I am so jealous! That's one of my favorite movies. I think that was probably the first time (outside of cartoons) that someone actually went down with their head inside of a TV.

But then, I'm a John Cusack groupie.

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Rakeesh
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Hmm. No particular order...

Finale duel scene in Rob Roy. Empire Strikes Back finale duel scene. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn vs. Darth Maul in Phantom Menace. Cliffs of Insanity. Pirates of the Carribean fight between Capt. Jack Sparrow and prentice blacksmith [Wink] . Lots from CTHD. Also from Seven Samurai, and The Last Samurai. Boromir's fight in FotR vs. dozens of orcs, as well as Aragorn's bout with the head Uruk-hai. Doc Ock vs. Spidey on subway.

Some stuff from Jin-Roh, Princess Mononoke, Warriors of the Wind...hmmm...stuff from Spartacus, and I consider it a duel of William Wallace vs. English garrison in William Wallace, that time he begins to climb the hill to get revenge for his wife's murder...lots more, but I'm having trouble thinking past all the cool ones already listed in this thread.

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Rakeesh
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Oh! I was thinking sword-fighting duels, but there are other kinds, aren't there? How about Training Day, Denzel Washington vs. Ethan Hawke? That final fight scene was certainly man to man, and it was pretty damn good.
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MrSquicky
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Ones that I don't think have been mentioned:

Ash versus his hand in Evil Dead 2.

José Ferrer in the opening scene of Cyrano De Bergerac.

Ripley versus the Queen in Aliens.

The ending fight in Iron Monkey.

The fight on the lake with the lanterns in the Michael York version of The Three Musketeers (or possible The Four Musketeers, I have trouble remembering what happened in which).

The ladder fight in The Musketeer.

[ December 15, 2005, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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HandEyeProtege
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Hmm... not sure it would be at the top of my list, but I can't believe no one has mentioned the "fight" between Tyler Durden and the narrator in Fight Club. Good stuff!
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Dagonee
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quote:
Ash versus his hand in Evil Dead 2
I would have put that but I had already indulged my B-movie preference by putting Last Dragon. [Smile]

quote:
The ending fight in Iron Monkey.
Good one! Totally forgot about that.
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:

The ending fight in Iron Monkey.

I personally thought there were several fights in that movie that were better than the final one. I think my favorite is when Wong Kei-Ying fights the Shaolin monk for the first time in the courtyard, when he gives us the first glimpse of the no-shadow kick. The young Wong Fei-Hung has a couple of really killer fights as well, with the staff and the umbrella. I'll take those over the balancing-on-burning-logs any day.

quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:

The ladder fight in The Musketeer.

Have you ever seen Once Upon a Time in China? After you see the original ladder fight, its shameless rip-off won't seem anywhere near as impressive. [Wink]
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MrSquicky
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Yes, but there are differences between duels and fights.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Don't diss Grosse Pointe Blank, it was filmed in my backyard (figuratively, not literally).

OMG, I am so jealous! That's one of my favorite movies. I think that was probably the first time (outside of cartoons) that someone actually went down with their head inside of a TV.

But then, I'm a John Cusack groupie.

I think he's continually underrated as an actor, he's great. The movie was actually filmed primarily in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I used to work in Grosse Pointe, and all my former bosses still live there. It's a nice neighborhood, about ten miles away from where I am.
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Magson
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quote:
Originally posted by cheiros do ender:
quote:
Muay Thai is a much more brutal and utilitarian style of fighting than most of the kung fu, karate, capoeira, tae kwon do and other things you may be used to seeing in movies. There's not a lot of actual blood, but if you have a weak stomach there are several places that will make you taste your lunch.
Has capoeira actually been used in a movie as a fighting style? I mean, besides movies about Capoeira, that's just silly! The Rundown is set in Brasil and I'm guessing the guys in the jungle fight scene are trained in Capoeira but I don't know if what they actually do could be called Capoeira. Would that or the climax scene in that movie count as a great duel?

Then there's Cat Woman, which I never plan to see if i can help it, where Halle Barre (sp?) is trained in Capoeira but I still don't see how you could put the Capoeira style into a fight scene and expect to entertain anyone. O fcourse that's just me: where I train I've never actually seen anyone make contact, except by accident, and there are probably different styles that include contact.. Oh well!

Only the Strong used capoeira as the only martial art in it. Pretty cool looking with its combo of dance and kicks and flips and such.
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Icarus
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Hmm . . . nobody has mentioned River Tam versus everyone in that bar in Serenity. Not technically a duel, but I just felt it needed to be added . . .
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Cashew
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I have to say I HATED the Achilles-Hector fight in Troy. Achilles was a completely unsympathetic character and his fighting style was ridiculous, over the top, and annoying.

My favourite (that I can think of right now) would have to be Magua vs Chingachgook at the end of The Last of the Mohicans (Daniel Day-Lewis one).

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Cashew
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And how about Ben Hur duelling with Messala in the 15 minute chariot race? Wow!
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Shan
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quote:
Originally posted by Beren One Hand:
Liam Neeson in Rob Roy.

See, Beren - this is why I love you so. [Big Grin] I was reading this thread and despairing of anyone ever saying that, and preparing to add my .02 after I had checked out all the responses.

It's just so obvious that we're soul mates. [Razz]

***************************

Edit to add: No one has mentioned Arnie and that red-head in Red Sonja, yet. Now that was a battle. *giggles*

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Dan_Frank
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"Magua vs Chingachgook"

Wasn't that the one that lasted roughly fifteen seconds? If that's the one I'm thinking of, it was indeed awesome.

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sndrake
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Well, I'm one of the "Princess Bride" fans, but I don't think anyone has mentioned my favorite duel:

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

--Inigo and the Man in Black.

And shame on anyone who found any redeeming feature to the newest version of the "Count of Monte Cristo," (the DVD came with an interview with the scriptwriter who *bragged* about "improving" the story by giving it a happy ending). [No No]

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Orincoro
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HAs no-one thought of "Hero" yet? the duel in the grotto with the cool old zither player and the rain drops falling everywhere?

Best star wars duel was definetly Obi vs. Anakin in Revenge of the Sith

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