5. CliffhangerFight: Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) vs. Eric Qualen (John Lithgow)
The bad news first: a gang of evil white-collar criminals are holding your sister hostage approximately 10,000 feet above sea level. To make matters worse, it tends to be cold on mountaintops, and for no discernible reason you're only wearing a tank top.
Now for the good news: you're a trained mountain climber who, as luck would have it, grew up climbing the mountain on which they're holding her, so you've got a Coors Park-sized home field advantage. Oh, also, you're Sylvester Stallone and the guy you're fighting is the dad from
3rd Rock From the Sun
That's right, when faced with the job of finding a villain fearsome enough to menace Stallone's maverick climbing instructor, the makers of Cliffhanger
settled on John Lithgow, a man whose previous villains spent their time trying to convince kids to stay home from prom.
In an attempt to even the odds, Cliffhanger
emphasizes the fact that Stallone is haunted by the memory of watching a woman plunge to her death. He is not, however, haunted by cerebral palsy, the only thing that could make a fight between Lithgow and Stallone anything other than laughable.
When they finally meet in the climactic scuffle, Lithgow manages to get Stallone in a head lock, and improbably appears to have him on the ropes before the helicopter they're dangling from (don't ask) falls off the side of a cliff, taking Lithgow with it.
4. GladiatorFight: Tommy Riley (James Marshall) vs. Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy)Gladiator
is better known as that movie you accidentally started watching because you thought it was the one with Russell Crowe, and had to keep watching because you couldn't believe how bad it was.
It almost feels like nitpicking to call out just one aspect of a movie about underground boxing as being absurd. To begin with, we're pretty certain the world of illegal underground boxing doesn't exist, or at least isn't as easy to get trapped in as the filmmakers ask us to believe. Even more absurd-they ask us to buy Cuba Gooding Jr. as a black man.
The story follows Tommy Riley's rise through the seedy world of some strange boxing-like sport that's illegal for some reason. After beating his final opponent, you think the movie's over, but instead Riley goes on to fight the same guy who played Chris Farley's dad in Tommy Boy
, who we think is supposed to be an evil trainer or something. To get an idea of just how mind blowingly strange this turn of events is, imagine if after Rocky beat Ivan Drago at the end of Rocky IV
, there was a 20-minute scene in which he fought Drago's 65-year-old boxing trainer.
The highlight of the final fight has to be the tankini that Dennehy is sporting, though it just barely beats out the part where Dennehy punches Riley in the balls. You've got to hand it to the filmmakers, no one saw that ending coming.
3. Out For JusticeFight: Gino Felino (Steven Seagal) vs. Richie Madano (William Forsythe)
First things first, Seagal's name in Out For Justice
is Gino Felino. (Gino Felino!) His quest throughout the movie is to kill his childhood friend Richie Madano because Richie killed the third member of their childhood trio, Bobby Lupo. We swear to God we didn't make up any of those names, and in case you haven't picked up on it yet, the director wants you to know that these guys are supposed to be Italian.
Seagal spends the first 80-plus minutes slicing through a sea of Richie's street toughs in typical Seagal fashion, handing out compound fractures like a Chinese lady handing out free Szechuan Chicken samples at a mall food court (yes, that simile has been copyrighted).
Once he gets to Ritchie, the only real suspense is how he's going to kill him. Of course, rather than spending their energy devising a cool stunt in which Seagal stabs Ritchie through the heart with his own femur, the filmmakers dawdle through a completely drawn out fistfight that brings even more attention to the fact that there's no way that an overweight middle-aged man would last more than three seconds in the ring with Gino Felino. Good lord, that name is just fun to write.