August 28, 2013 by Laird

From a couple of years ago on a blog far, far away:

The Steve McQueen car chase in Bullitt is probably my favorite modern chase. The hand to hand prize is a draw between Bond and the Russian assassin in the train compartment in From Russia with Love; Viggo Mortenson v the heavies in the bathhouse in Eastern Promises; a brutal fight to the death between two characters, don’t remember who or why, in The Deep; and  Frank Sinatra v Henry Silva in the Manchurian Candidate.


I really enjoyed the techniques Sinatra used as they were a military hybrid of Asian martial arts and western boxing/wrestling–edge of the hand to the back of the neck and sternum, trips, kidney punches, etc.. They appear to have been ripped right out of WWII Combatives devised by W.E. Fairbairn and co., especially the wheeling double chop that misses early on in the conflict. The final bit where Sinatra has Silva down and is wrenching his arm is particularly interesting as that technique doesn’t just cause pain or injury to the shoulder; such quick, brutal jerks send shockwaves up the spine and cause the brain to wobble in its case and was part of a WWII GI knife or bayonet defense–the Germans had a particular bayonet thrust that was their signature close quarters attack and the defense was to sidestep on the weapon side, seize the over-committed arm and yank it hard enough to snap the enemy’s head around, sometimes crippling or killing and certainly disrupting brain to body signals.

In fantasy, its Wesley chasing after Buttercup and the duel with Inigo in The Princess Bride; and Corwin’s hellride and eventual duel with Benedict in The Guns of Avalon. Zelazny sure knew what he was doing.

ETA: my friend Steve Harris pointed out, rightly, that the brawl between Dan and the Captain in Deadwood is among the more visceral things you’re likely to view.

6 thoughts on “Fight

  1. dgpurdy says:

    Good selections, Laird. I’ll throw in the bar fight climaxing ‘The Ninth Configuration’, where Stacey Keach goes bat-shit ballistic on a gang of bikers. For the car chase, I think ‘The Seven-Ups’ is right up there with ‘Bullitt’.

  2. goatpop says:

    For me the car chase in ‘to live and die in la’ hasn’t been dethroned. Fight scene it would be anytime bud spencer bops dudes on the head.

    • Laird says:

      There are a few other good chases. Bullitt is the pinnacle for me, but yes, To Live and Die in LA is another example near the top of my list. Great movie.

  3. Deadwood did, indeed, have some of the best close quarters violence. The slow “let’s just get this done” walk towards each other in “Dan vs. the Captain” is an excellent precursor to the actual fight. Although I quite enjoyed Seth fighting Otis Russell from the same show.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Swift to Chase

Man with No Name

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 14,683 other followers
%d bloggers like this: