There's nothing that stands out quite like a long fight scene in which the bad guys take on the hero one at a time. It's just not plausible! There's a decent handful of nonsensical things we accept in movies and TV, but taking turns during fight scenes is one of the most conspicuous. For some, it's just an accepted convention of the genre; for others, it's an irritating action movie faux pas. Either way, it occurs more often than you might think.
While waiting on the sidelines until an opponent has defeated one of your buddies - or several of them in a row - doesn't make much sense, it continues to happen in films time and time again. We've compiled a list of some of the best long movie fight scenes that could have ended much sooner if the bad guys didn't follow this unwritten rule.
- Photo: Miramax
In Kill Bill: Vol. 1, one of the most memorable fight scenes occurs between the Bride (Uma Thurman) and a group of skilled assassins known as the Crazy 88. Inspired by old-school Japanese cinema, the scene involves choreographed martial arts, dozens of samurai swords, and buckets of blood (so much so that director Quentin Tarantino had to adjust the scene to black-and-white to avoid an NC-17 rating).
If you look in the background during this extended setpiece, you'll notice the Crazy 88 members foolishly hang out on the sidelines, waiting for their turn to take a swing at the Bride. Rather than working together to take her down, they waste their efforts sparring in the background, doing little to assist their fallen comrades.
Not only do the Crazy 88 allow her all the time in the world to defeat them, they also make her feel relaxed enough to get creative with her professional skill set - including gouging a dude's eye out one-handed. The Bride takes out every foe with relative ease. Still, Tarantino's talent for cinematic gore makes up for the Crazy 88's flawed attack strategy.Bad strategy?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Constantine follows rogue hunter and occult detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) as he attempts to do heaven's work by exorcising demons. In exchange, he hopes the angels will cure him of his lung cancer and extend his life, but he's met with resistance. After an attempt to take his own life leaves him with a one-way ticket to hell upon his eventual passing, Constantine attempts to redeem his soul by exorcising a demon out of Los Angeles detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz).
He's met by an army of half-demons who, despite their numbers, are no match for Constantine and his fire sprinkler system full of holy water. After setting off the sprinkler with a lighter, he watches as the demons writhe in pain. One by one they come after him, allowing him to take them out with minimal effort.
Not only would the demons have taken care of business if they'd taken a smarter approach, but the whole thing also could have been over pretty quickly if most of them didn't disappear halfway into the scene. While at first we can see them all continuing to squirm around in the background, those who don't charge at Constantine strangely go missing. Are they hiding? Did they run away? The opposing army getting inexplicably cut in half is, if nothing else, a nice stroke of luck for our hero.Bad strategy?
- Photo: Universal Pictures
The Mummy follows treasure hunter Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his friends to Egypt, where they accidentally resurrect the mummified high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). During his life, Imhotep was executed for having an affair with the pharaoh's spouse and plotting to assassinate him. When he's brought back from the grave, he is drawn to one of the tourists, Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), as she resembles his former lover.
After Carnahan is captured by Imhotep, Rick goes after them in an attempt to rescue her, and ends up facing down an army of mummified priests. Fortunately for the treasure hunter, these mummies are not only slow but also quite clumsy. Even though they surround him at the start of the brawl, it takes some of them an unrealistic amount of time to reach their opponent. When they're not participating in the fight, they can be seen slowly creeping toward Rick in the background. That, or they are conveniently left off-screen.
At one point, one mummy can be seen tripping over another, adding humor to his slow-paced method. Once the mummified priests are all wiped out, Imhotep instructs his undead army to go after our gallant hero. But apparently, this army never made it through basic training, as they fail to work together at any point during the skirmish. Considering the average guy is fighting against the undead, he shouldn't have even made it past the mummified priests.Bad strategy?
- Photo: New Line Cinema
The film Blade depicts monster hunter Eric Brooks (Wesley Snipes), AKA Blade, as he fights to protect humans from Marvel Comics' version of vampires. As a Dhampir, Blade is the product of an encounter between his pregnant mother and a vampire. This gives him superhuman strength without any of the usual aversions to sunlight, silver, and garlic.
When Blade raids an underground vampire club, we get to witness one of the bloodiest supernatural fights of all time. Though Blade is significantly outnumbered, most of the vampires choose to flee rather than fight. He may have superhuman strength, but the vampires do, too; even if one of them had chosen to stand up to the hunter, it would have been a more-or-less fair fight. That's not how it plays out, though.
Later in the scene, the vampire club's security team appears and decides it would be best to confront Blade one at a time. These guys couldn't have possibly made it easier for him to take them down, even taking his variety of silver-coated weapons into account. If they had simply teamed up against him, Blade wouldn't have stood a chance.Bad strategy?