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Top 10 Brawlers of All Frickin’ Time

Category: 300 News
Article Date: March 26, 2007 | Publication: Michigan Daily | Author: Paul Tassi, Film Editor

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The film ‘300′ has inspired us all in myriad ways. For some: Grecian democracy. For others: top-10 lists. Our film editor, Mr. Paul Tassi, compiled this list for your consideration. We hope you enjoy.

Since my bloodlust from seeing “300” still hasn’t died down yet, I decided to throw this little list together. Whether it’s with gun, swords or their bare hands, these 10 are the most vicious, most deadly and most enduring fighters in modern film:

10. Neo (Keanu Reeves, “The Matrix”) — Perhaps the most stylized of all the fighters on the list, Thomas Anderson sits at No. 10 because he’s allowed to break every law of physics. He gave us the greatest office-lobby gun fight in history and then had the heart to battle an invincible computer virus in a subway station shortly after. But then things just started getting unfair when he began stopping bullets. Whoa.

9. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” series) — A different kind of fighter from the rest on the list, but probably the true definition of “brawler.” Balboa boxed his way right into our hearts for six films with the body of a genetic experiment and the mind of a first-grader.

8. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, “X-Men”) — Say what you will about Hugh Jackman’s Broadway escapades — when he puts on that leather suit he’s a tornado of claws, teeth and mutton chops tearing through S.W.A.T. teams like they’re paper-mache. Sure, he’s more or less completely invincible, but that doesn’t make him any less badass.

7. John McClane (Bruce Willis, “Die Hard”) — Responsible for one of the greatest movie lines in history (do I really have to say it?), off-duty cop John McClane shot his way through an entire skyscraper full of blond terrorists aided only by Carl Winslow. And now he’s coming back to do it again this summer for the fourth time.

6. King Leonidas (Gerard Butler, “300”) — His legend only growing the last few weeks, Leonidas already earns himself a spot on the 10-best list. What’s harder than fighting against an army when you’re outnumbered 3,000 to 1? Doing it with wearing little more than a leather fetish outfit. With spear and sword the king and his men diced through an onslaught of encroaching outsiders to (insert allegorical/biblical/historical significance here).

5. Ash J. Williams (Bruce Campbell, “Evil Dead” trilogy) — The man lopped off his own demon-possessed hand with a meat clever, then welded a functional chainsaw into the still-bleeding stub. You don’t get much more hardcore than that. Ash carved and blasted his way through zombies from the Michigan wilderness all the way to the middle ages, and did so with quippy catchphrases along the way.

4. Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt, “Fight Club”) — The man who made you turn to your friend and tell him “I want you to hit me as hard as you can,” this highly unstable street fighter/philosopher brought new meaning to the term “identity crisis.” It doesn’t matter if he’s imaginary or not, he’ll still kick your ass, or maybe make you do it yourself, because really, how much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

3. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman, “Kill Bill”) — The sole woman on this list (sorry Lara Croft), the vengeful Bride is most remembered for tearing through 88 crazy katana-wielding gang members and one sadistic school girl at a restaurant in Tokyo. Easily the best swordsman in movie history, Kiddo firmly earns her place in the top three, and no, I’m not going to make a joke about “girl power.”

2. James Bond (Various) — Bond has probably killed more terrorists than everyone on this list combined. Granted, it’s spread out across 23 movies, but he does it with such style and class you don’t really care. Bond’s latest incantation has become less velvety smooth and more Cro-Magnon, which only serves to amplify his beat-down prowess. If he existed in real life he’d have already killed Bin-Laden, stolen his car and slept with his wife. Now that would be a solid end to the war on terror.

1. Ting (Tony Jaa, “Ong-Bak”) – Now I know you’re thinking “who the hell is this at No. 1?” but Ting is a martial arts action hero unlike anything seen before. Since this list is about characters rather than actors, I won’t go into the sheer ridiculousness of Tony Jaa’s fighting skills. Alright fine I will. While all of the previous entries have been actors playing fighters, Jaa is most definitely a fighter masquerading as an actor. No wires, no special effects, just crazy Muay Thai elbows, knees, and shins. It doesn’t matter if the entire plot revolves around finding a missing statue head or a baby elephant; Jaa’s character gets the job done in some of the most realistic, jaw-dropping fight sequences ever seen on film.

There you have it. Do not e-mail me about “Lord of the Rings.” I swear to God …


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