Great directors draw from the fight scene palette of roundhouse kicks, explosions and snappy one-liners to paint frame-worthy movie and television battles. These are not those directors.
7. Saved by the Bell
Slater versus Zach
Combatants: A. C. Slater (Mario López) versus Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar)
Why it sucks: This fight looks remarkably like a real scrap between high schoolers, which is exactly why it sucks. High school fights are terrible. There’s usually one thrown punch (which never lands) before the adolescent gladiators awkwardly lean into each other, tumble to the ground, and commence clumsy wrestling. Slater and Morris might nail that perfectly in this scene but there was no reason. We all watched enough of this stuff in our high school gym class.
Highlight: When Slater complains, “Hey you started it man, making me look like a jerk at the Max,” Zach replies “Well, that’s what you are.” Harsh.
6. The Godfather
Sonny versus Carlo
Combatants: Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo) versus Sonny Corleone (James Caan)
Why it sucks: Don’t get us wrong. The Godfather is a great movie, but this scene is just completely absurd. Coppola must have taken a break from directing and left the guy who directed The Three Stooges in charge of the set for this 90-second span. It starts when Sonny Corleone discovers his sister has been walloped and reacts, Curly-like, by bringing his fist to his mouth and taking a solid bite. You almost expect him to rub his hands over his head, run in place, and scream “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” Sonny then proceeds to get revenge with a Vaudeville assault that includes throwing his shoe and gnawing on Carlo’s knuckles.
Highlight: Proof that James Caan needed glasses during filming when his massive haymaker misses a stationary Carlo by a few feet.
5. Strike of the Panther
Bad Actor versus Other Bad Actors
Combatants: One shirtless Australian guy versus a bunch of other Australian guys in suits that hopefully never made another movie in their life
Why it sucks: On paper, the components here suggest an entertaining tussle: a man in a chicken suit, a blow-up sex doll, and ‘80s floozy with a whip. But this one is so bad that not even those unique ingredients can save it. The protagonist shows off both his lack of acting and fighting chops as he woodenly delivers snide one-liners in between repeatedly knocking out the same four toughs. This clip is notable for single-handedly dispelling the stereotype of Australians as tough, hardy people.
Highlight: The bizarre cameo of a grown man dressed as an English schoolboy begging for mercy.