Total Recall: Punching and the Movies -- A Solid Combination

Never Back Down and the art of cinematic fisticuffmanship.

Hitting theaters this week: Never Back Down, the story of a rebellious teen who channels his rage into underground fighting. With that in mind, we've devised a tribute to that wonderful cinematic element for this week's Total Recall: the punch.

Everyone loves a good sock to the face. It's the one thing that unites the disparate strands of filmgoers like nothing else. From early newsreels of boxing matches to Edward Norton's descent into Fight Club, audiences have displayed little sign of cooling toward the practice of one person striking another. There's no way to whittle down a list of the best jabs, uppercuts, and hooks from the entire history of cinema; with millions to choose from (and that's just Jackie Chan's filmography!) it's an impossible task. Nonetheless, we've compiled a by-no-means-definitive list of the punches we find particularly jarring.

The Wicker Man (2006, 16 percent on the Tomatometer)

Some critics feel there's an undercurrent of misogyny in the films of Neil LaBute. We're not here to weigh in on such matters (we follow the Tomatometer, not the Sexismometer), but we have to admit that this clip from his remake of The Wicker Man gives us pause. Nicolas Cage plays a cop who's investigating the disappearance of his daughter on a mysterious, cult-infested island. During his search, he punches a lot (and we mean a lot) of women in the face. Give LaBute points for originality: Cage delivers one K.O. while wearing a bear suit.



Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989, zero percent)

Though boring, sloppy, and all-around reprehensible, the eighth Friday does give us one of the Jason's finest moments. After deciding to stand his ground, teen survivor Julius Gaw (V.C. Dupree) commences landing punches on Jason for two non-stop minutes. Afterwards, he utters these ill-chosen words to Jason: "Take your best shot." Sorry, Julius. And you were doing so well!



Riki-Oh (1991, 78 percent)

Endless bloodletting, strangulation by intestines, and an ending sequence affectionately referred to by fans as "the meat grinder finale:" Riki-Oh is not a post-apocalyptic movie applauded for its subtlety. The movie became a cult sensation for the clip of this thuggie getting his head punched in, which Craig Kilborn played obsessively when he hosted The Daily Show.



Fist of the North Star (1986, 17 percent)

And along the lines of Riki-Oh, we come to the similar Fist of the North Star, one of the most ridiculously violent animes ever. Traveling around a ravaged Earth, Kenshiro protects the innocent with wicked martial arts, including a punch that expands and pops heads like balloons. If you're squeamish, we will definitely not tempt you into pressing play on the clip below. We will also not entice you to fast-forward to the 2:00 mark when the awesomeness starts. We have your best interests in mind.



The Fast and the Furious (2001, 53 percent)

There are a lot of punches thrown in The Fast and the Furious; Vin Diesel and Paul Walker seem to be teeing off on someone every time they're not behind the wheel. But we'd be remiss if we didn't give props to Michelle Rodriguez. In the world of movie punches, it's quality, not quantity, that makes a blow particularly devastating, and at around the 2:50 mark in this clip, Rodriguez brings the pain in a big way.



Comments

MaxFisher14

Jack Essenberg

This is a super crazay list

Mar 12 - 04:57 PM

MaxFisher14

Jack Essenberg

I forgot 2 add it is also probably the dumbest article I have seen.

Mar 12 - 04:58 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

Never Back Down looks obscenely stupid, and that's coming from a fighter...

Also what exactly is this a list of? Movies where people punch something?? How did Do The Right Thing make it into the same list as Fast and The Furious for anything?? You might as well make a list of movies where the main character yells really loud in the climax....Oh but I guess shouting hasn't become a big enough trend on its own yet.

Mar 12 - 06:02 PM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

You are absolutely correct, Mr. Turk. It's a list of movies where people punch stuff.

Mar 12 - 07:31 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I'm sorry I wasn't trying to be smug; this is a pretty funny article, I've started calling my hands my fistcuffs.

Mar 13 - 11:41 AM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

No, no offense taken, YT. Glad you liked it. Good luck this weekend!

Mar 13 - 02:38 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I appreciate it!

Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

What a great list. So many forgotten classic punches! I can't wait to see how the poll turns out.

Mar 12 - 06:13 PM

Actaphu

Phu Bui-Quang

I'm sad that not one of the five Kickboxer or four of the Bloodsport movies made this list.

Mar 12 - 07:01 PM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

You are absolutely correct, Mr. Turk. It's a list of movies where people punch stuff.

Mar 12 - 07:31 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I'm sorry I wasn't trying to be smug; this is a pretty funny article, I've started calling my hands my fistcuffs.

Mar 13 - 11:41 AM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

No, no offense taken, YT. Glad you liked it. Good luck this weekend!

Mar 13 - 02:38 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I appreciate it!

Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

matthardy881

mat cragun

Fighter my @S$!

Mar 13 - 01:55 AM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I have a tourney this weekend, if you want to see the video I'll link it for you on youtube.

Mar 13 - 11:18 AM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

This list is an instant classic if only for the inclusion of Riki-Oh. Sickest thing I've ever (partially) seen.

Mar 13 - 09:43 AM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I have a tourney this weekend, if you want to see the video I'll link it for you on youtube.

Mar 13 - 11:18 AM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I'm sorry I wasn't trying to be smug; this is a pretty funny article, I've started calling my hands my fistcuffs.

Mar 13 - 11:41 AM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

No, no offense taken, YT. Glad you liked it. Good luck this weekend!

Mar 13 - 02:38 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I appreciate it!

Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

frogleg

Josh Quarles

Holy crap. This is the funniest thing I've EVER seen on RT. Now I have to rent "Wicker Man". Thanks a lot.

Mar 13 - 12:34 PM

digitalrelic

Jason Stieber

god, nick cage in the wicker man cracks me up

Mar 13 - 12:50 PM

donwillymo

Will Padin

What about elbow smashes to the face movies? Or headbutts to the groin movies?

Mar 13 - 01:09 PM

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

No, no offense taken, YT. Glad you liked it. Good luck this weekend!

Mar 13 - 02:38 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I appreciate it!

Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

Young Turk

Joe Massino

I appreciate it!

Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

Jimithing

Patrick Luce

I love this list if for no other reason than the inclusion of Friday the 13th. Second funniest Jason Vorhees moment ever, after sleeping bag baseball in Part VII.

Mar 19 - 11:03 AM

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