20 Furious Film Face/Offs
Awhile back we made a compilation of 10 Furious Battles which mainly focused on one character vs many or large groups fighting each other. Our latest list deals with the Face-Off. These are slightly different scenes that just have two main characters (usually protagonists and antagonists) squaring off in some type of arena. Moreover, their shared history throughout the story reaches some kind of conclusion followed by an exciting duel. These scenes can be either a match of wits, strength or weaponry. As per usual we’ve tried to cover a nice range of genres from classic westerns to kung fu to modern comic book movies.
Blondie Vs. Tuco Vs. Angel Eyes – The Good The Bad and the Ugly – The three bandits who have been searching for Bill Carson’s stolen gold (hidden in one of the graves on Sad Hill) have a Mexican stand off, after which the survivor will have dibs on the treasure. You can see throughout his films that Sergio Leone wasn’t really interested in killing so much as the tension that built up to that conclusion. The editing of this sequence, heightened by Ennio Morricone’s amazing music, is cinema at its most invigorating. It’s simply one of the greatest sequences in film history.
Jim Stark Vs. Buzz – Rebel Without a Cause – One of the most iconic and influential teen movies features two rivals, a new kid in town (James Dean) and the local popular tough guy (Corey Allen) having a stick match with the weapon of choice (switchblades). As Buzz states, it’s not about slashing each other up to bits, it’s all about the picking.
Bruce Lee Vs Chuck Norris – Way of the The Dragon The legendary Roman Colliseum fight between these two friends remains one of the standout sequences in Bruce Lee’s film career next to his work in Enter The Dragon and the Pagoda scenes in Game of The Death. Chuck Norris plays Colt, a fighter hired to take down Lee’s character Tang Lung. It’s another fantastic showcase for Lee’s unique modern fighting techniques. After Bruce’s death in 1973, Chuck Norris went on to have his own career as an movie action hero.
Alice Vs. Mrs Voorhees – Friday The 13th – After the entire camp is massacred, final girl Alice (Adrienne King) must try to survive Mrs. Voorhees’ psychotic, vengeful wrath. Following a nasty catfight on the beach, Alice reaches for a nearby machete and Mrs. Voorhees loses her head! An unforgettable sequence from this slasher film masterpiece.
Blonde Gargantua Vs Green Gargantua – War of the Gargantuas As far as Kaiju films go, there’s many with incredibly entertaining giant monster battles but this one in particular always stood out for me because of the way the gargantuas take part in what is basically a domestic quarrel only it’s in the the middle of the city and instead of furniture, buildings get demolished. It’s a very visceral supersized Man In Suit smackdown.
Robert De Niro & Al Pacino – HEAT, 1995 from lance on Vimeo – These two legendary actors had co-starred in The Godfather II 20 years earlier, but had never been in an actual scene together until this Michael Mann crime thriller. When they do sit face to face, it’s the most memorable scene in the film and really in cinema history considering both men’s status as masters of their artform. One thing I really liked about their relationship in the movie is even though one was a cop and one was a criminal, they still clearly respected each other as professionals.
The Bride Vs. Elle Driver – Kill Bill – What happens when two rival blonde amazon assassin/warriors (played by Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah) go at each other full force in a cramped white trash trailer? Well, if The House of Blue Leaves was epic in scale, this fight is epic in down n’ dirty catfighting. Heads are dunked in toilets, faces splashed with spittle, feet are crushed, noses bashed and walls crashed through.
Nada Vs Frank Armitage – They Live – This is the most epic alley streetfight ever put on film. Roddy Piper and Keith David beat each other into the ground for a very long time. It’s comical, excruciating and tiring but fun as hell to watch.
Luke Vs. Dragline – Cool Hand Luke – The theme of never giving up is at the center of this 1967 southern fried crime film/character study. It is exemplified many times throughout the film at different points but this boxing match between Paul Newman’s Luke and George Kennedy’s Dragline shows it very clearly.
Sean Archer Vs Castor Troy – Face/Off – Watching a movie that has John Travolta playing a special agent out to avenge the death of his son at the hands of an evil criminal played by Nic Cage then switching faces and personalities with him has FUN in capital letters. When these outrageous characters finally do battle it’s just icing on the crazy cake.
Cody Jarrett Vs. Vs Cops – White Heat – In the subgenre of gangster movies this film remains one of the crown jewels. The final scene with mad dog criminal Cody (Cagney) and the cops in a firey standoff is now a cinematic legend. It ends with Cody bellowing one of the most well known catchphrases in film history.
Jake LaMotta Vs Sugar Ray Robinson – Raging Bull – This is the most visually brilliant interpretation of the furious nature of a boxing match ever put on screen. Jake LaMotta is as masochistic as they come and let’s himself be hurt in a graphic pummeling. Robinson unleashes a furious beating on him, leaving LaMotta an unrecognizable bloody mess.
Gino Vs Richie – Out For Justice – Unlike most of the picks on our list this scene shows what happens when two opponents are unevenly matched. On one side you’ve got Richie (William Forsythe) a lousy jadrool thug with no self defense knowledge and on the other Gino (Steven Seagal) who is trained in the Japanese martial art Akido. Of course this violence is completely justified, you just have to watch the movie to see why.
Lace Vs Maggie – Switchblade Sisters – This 1975 classic exploitation film directed by B-movie auteur Jack Hill actually has aspects of Shakespeare’s Othello going on in it. The final match between the best friends turned bitter rival gang members is heartbreaking and furious. Their switchblades come out and only one of them will survive to lead the other badass babes on.
Neo Vs Agent Smith – The Matrix – After learning the laws of The Matrix and tapping into the powers Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) told him he possessed, Neo (Keanu Reeves) goes toe to toe with the sinister computer program known as Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). A thrilling concrete crushing battle in the subway setting.
David Vs Michael – The Lost Boys – The mad as hell punk vampire (Keifer Sutherland) vs the new rebel in town (Jason Patric) is a different spin on the old fashioned teen fight we saw in Rebel Without A Cause and other films of that type. After living as a creature of the night for awhile during summer vacation, Michael decides to give up the life and turn his back on David who has been preying on the innocent citizens of Santa Carla along with his bloodsucking brethren. Needless to say, David isn’t pleased. Watch out for those deer antlers dude!
Luke Skywalker Vs. Darth Vader – Star Wars: Return of The Jedi – The student becomes the master in this classic light saber duel between Luke and his father, the evil villain of the epic space opera. The younger Skywalker ultimately helps Vader free himself of the evil that’s consumed him for so many years in this action filled and very emotional finale.
Dalton Vs. Jimmy – RoadHouse – The king of the bouncers vs. Brad Wesley’s most deadly henchman is easily one of the greatest white trash fights on film. These guys use all their bar fighting and combat skills and go ballistic on the side of a river. Dalton is one of the coolest action characters and this film remains a classic in the Good Ol Boy subgenre.
Bane Vs. Batman – The Dark Knight Rises – This was the first time The Dark Knight had truly met his match in fighting hand to hand. Bane, who was also a member of Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Shadows, is even more brutal and quick. Since Bruce is still dealing with past injuries and has been out of the game for 8 years, he ends up losing and having his back broken. One of the most electric and badass beatdowns in a super hero movie.
Johnny Ringo Vs. Doc Holliday – Tombstone
These two Wild West outlaws, although on opposing sides, share a kind of personality trait. Each is a tortured soul with Ringo (Michael Biehn) being a cold blooded psycho, and Doc (Val Kilmer) a very sick man suffering from TB, who is also deadly but knows right from wrong. Doc takes his best friend Wyatt Earp’s place in the gunfight and kills Ringo in a daring, flashy way showing off his heightened quickness as a pistoleer.
What are some of your favorite furious face/offs?