From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Fantasy’s Top Ten Fight Scenes: One Against Many

Of all the fantasy-fight archetypes, this one is automatically the most rousing: one against many. Whether it’s the hero testing her mettle for the first time, or the sidekick showing his loyalty to the very last, there’s a well-earned mystique to the warrior willing to tackle all enemies at once. (Plus, it’s the best way to show off your stunt coordinator.)

Below, ten of the best one-against-many fantasy fight scenes.

10. Xuehu vs. the Army, An Empress and the Warriors

Wuxia is a pretty crowded category for amazing fight scenes, but when you’re willing to go up against an entire army, including horses, all by your lonesome, you’re more or less guaranteed a spot on this list. When the valiant Xuehu is called on to defend the honor and the throne of the new Empress, he does not mess around.

9. Robin Hood vs. The Prince’s Guard, the Adventures of Robin Hood

This iconic fight established Robin Hood as a character every bit as legendary as King Arthur, and singlehandedly assures Errol Flynn’s place in cinema history. Using rock-climbing skills, archery, and a rapier (wit), Robin Hood makes it clear to all assembled that Prince John is out of his league. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iA1VxAsBQ8]

8. Eric Draven vs. The Syndicate, The Crow

When wrongfully-murdered Eric Draven comes back from the dead as The Crow, he finds revenge a dish best served one at a time, but crime boss Top Dollar doesn’t like the sudden loss of reliable employees. When Top Dollar kidnaps the last remaining thug to draw out The Crow and staffs the room with his syndicate, it ends just about as well as you’d expect when you put an immortal being in a room full of nervous guys with guns.

7. Jen vs. The Bar, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The reason you don’t bother people in bars is because you never know when one of them has been trained in deadly martial arts and is itching to kick the living daylights out of you just to prove she can. This clip of Jen clearing out the top floor of a bar reminds us all of this one thing: whatever you do, don’t drink and tease.

6. Batman vs. the Dockmen, Batman Begins

When Christopher Nolan announced this ground-up Batman reboot, people were skeptical. How could a movie build Batman’s legend in real time? This way: send Bruce Wayne to the docks, let him loose on some mob muscle, and watch him knock them down like ninepins, so fast that none of them sees more than a terrifying flash of movement. By the end of the scene, you know exactly how Batman’s legend gets started. (Check it out here. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq85kxJfcLA])

5. Leeloo vs. the Mangalores, The Fifth Element

Because nothing says “kick some ass” like a little opera techno.

4. Trinity vs. the Cops, The Matrix

Science fiction, but too good not to include. Though it’s been mocked into ubiquity since, when The Matrix came out, it changed the game. The first time I saw it was in a crowded theatre; when hacker Trinity is busted by the cops, turns around, and hovers in the air as the camera pans, the whole place went wild. You’re not required to applaud when you watch this at home, but you have to admit, it’s still pretty damn good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPtk7mweahY

3. Blade vs. Eight Kajillion Vampires, Blade

This scene is so 90s it hurts a little; Traci Lords, rave culture, Kangol hats, Donal Logue. But no matter how time-capsule it looks in retrospect, Blade came out back in those bygone days when vampire movies were rare, and seeing a room full of vampires with fangs bared meant something a little more sinister than baseball. Luckily, if there’s one thing Blade enjoys, it’s making an enormous mess

2. Boromir vs. the Uruk-hai, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Of all the warriors who fought against the odds, Boromir wins points for Most Determined, thwacking the crap out of Uruk-hai long after receiving his fatal wounds. After falling victim to the power of the ring and trying to steal it from Frodo, Boromir certainly earned his forgiveness here…and is immediately upstaged by Aragorn, who just HAD to get the last word in. (Typical.)

See here:

1. Mani vs. the Brotherhood of the Wolf, The Brotherhood of the Wolf

“Hey Mani, would you mind investigating that mysterious lair all alone while I have dinner with my rich girlfriend’s folks?”

(Most. Underappreciated. Sidekick. Ever. )

Genevieve Valentine’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Federations, and more. She is a columnist at Tor.com and Fantasy Magazine. Her first novel, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, is forthcoming in 2011. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks on her blog.