When facing off against a dangerous villain, you'd think movie characters would want to finish the brawl as quickly as possible and claim victory. Oddly enough, many movie characters adhere to some idea of a fair fight, where they can only challenge their opponent if the two fighters are somewhat evenly matched.
How do they accomplish a fair fight? Well, it depends on the situation. Sometimes the characters throw aside their weapons and rely on their hand-to-hand combat skills. Other times, characters might focus on the timing of the fight in order to ensure their opponent has a fair chance. In a famous Princess Bride fight scene, Inigo Montoya saves his opponent from a perilous fall and then gives him plenty of time to rest, simply to ensure the two can engage in a satisfying sword fight. Unfortunately for Inigo, that decision is his undoing.
Characters who want to fight fair may be noble, but they're not exactly the sharpest tools in the box. A fair fight is all well and good, but it often results in a more dangerous brawl than simply maintaining your advantages and ending things quickly. Take a look below at movie fights that lasted way longer than they should have, simply because the characters decided to fight fair.
The Fighters: Vietnam veteran Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) now runs an elite mercenary team in the Central American jungle. When he's assigned to rescue a foreign official held hostage by rebels, his mission takes a turn when his team encounters an alien being known only as the Predator.
Who Suggests Fighting Fair: After the Predator wipes out most of Dutch's team, Dutch finally discovers he can use camouflage to hide from the creature. He manages to fight the Predator, but inflicts only minimal damage. However, his efforts are enough for the alien to change his tactics. Realizing that Dutch is a worthy foe, the Predator removes his mask and weapons, unprompted. Though he's still an alien, the absence of these devices makes the fight a little more fair.
Weapons Discarded: The Predator gets rid of a mask that improves his vision and a plasma caster weapon.
The Brawl: Although the Predator can't see Dutch quite as well without his mask, he manages to put up a good fight. Dutch uses various trees and branches from the forest to aid him in combat, but he still can't manage to defeat the beast. The creature has Dutch on the run and almost manages to end him, but Dutch smashes him under a previously constructed trap.
The Victor: Dutch
The Fighters: Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is a witch hunter on a mission to keep the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), subdued so she doesn't destroy the Earth. As he's facing off against Malkin in the final showdown, he's tasked with fighting Malkin's servant, Radu (Djimon Hounsou). Radu uses his magic to transform into a dragon before fighting Gregory.
Who Suggests Fighting Fair: While facing off against Radu, Gregory tells his opponent that he has no honor if he fights as a dragon.
Weapons Discarded: Radu takes Gregory's bait and transforms back into a human. He maintains his ax, and tosses Gregory a chain to use.
The Brawl: Against Radu, Gregory can hardly stay on his feet. At first, he's clearly the weaker opponent. As the melee continues to rage, however, the tides turn. Gregory manages to knock Radu off his feet and sinks a blade into his chest. He finishes the fight by commenting that Radu should have remained a dragon after all.
The Victor: Gregory
The Fighters: Although Caesar (Andy Serkis) is a fair and just leader of the evolved ape tribe, his rule is threatened when Koba (Toby Kebbell), a former laboratory test subject, decides to rebel. He incapacitates Caesar and takes over the apes, but Caesar nurses his wounds and returns, intending to take back his place as a leader.
Who Suggests Fighting Fair: Caesar faces Koba when the fellow ape is still in possession of an automatic weapon. While Caesar doesn't directly ask for a fair fight, he insinuates that Koba is weak, goading his foe into throwing aside his device and fighting hand-to-hand to prove his strength.
Weapons Discarded: Koba throws aside his automatic weapon.
The Brawl: Koba strikes first and he and Caesar square off on the precarious metal structure, eventually falling to the ground. During this fall, Koba sustains a bad injury that makes him more vulnerable. Still, he's not ready to give up. He picks up a pole and goes after Caesar once again, chasing the ape through the unfinished building. Caesar dodges every one of Koba's maneuvers and eventually picks up a metal grating to use as a shield. Noticing Koba's difficulty fighting hurt, Caesar drops his shield and waits for Koba to swing, taking the opening to hit him right in the gash across his abdomen.
Eventually, the two apes knock over some structures in the unfinished building. In the resulting confusion, Koba regains his weapon, but Caesar finds an opening and pounces on him. The blow knocks Koba off his footing and he's left dangling over a chasm. Caesar grabs his hand as if to pull him to safety, but lets go and allows Koba to fall.
The Victor: Caesar
The Fighters: After learning that a drug lord and his right-hand man, Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey), are responsible for the passing of a close friend's daughter, LAPD sergeants and partners Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) decide to go after the bad guys. Although they try to ambush Joshua and his men, Joshua manages to get away and goes after Murtaugh's family in retaliation. Riggs catches him on the front lawn and the two engage in a fight.
Who Suggests Fighting Fair: When Murtaugh and Riggs catch up to Joshua, they force him to put his hands behind his head and check him for weapons, all while training a pistol on him. Rather than allowing the many cops to detain him, however, Riggs challenges Joshua to a hand-to-hand fight.
Weapons Discarded: Riggs throws aside both an automatic weapon and a handgun before engaging with Joshua.
The Brawl: Riggs and Joshua engage in a vicious fistfight on the front lawn, in the rain, surrounded by cops. They each manage to get a few good hits in and end up bloody and bruised. Joshua grabs a pole from a Christmas decoration and forces Riggs to stay away. Murtaugh then tosses Riggs a pole of his own, which Riggs uses to disarm Joshua once again. Although Joshua appears to gain the upper hand when he pushes Riggs's face into the mud, Riggs regains his strength and pins his opponent.
The Victor: Riggs