Cinema is a medium of motion. So there’s no better way to capture the ballistic poetry of a skull-rattling, tooth & nail beat-down than by putting it on celluloid. In over a hundred years of movie history, directors have subjected audiences to every form of combat imaginable, from a man battling his own possessed and dismembered hand (Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn) to cowboys on horseback firing pistols at alien spaceships (Cowboys & Aliens). When a director gets it right and illustrates the explosiveness of combat onscreen, fireworks result. I present to you a list of exemplars of brutality, clashes that through blood, sweat and ingenuity earned the right to be called ultimate throwdowns. (Spoilers).
12. Tony Jaa Vs. Madame Rose’s Goons – The Protector
They shouldn’t have killed his elephant.
In The Protector, our hero, Kham, attempts to rescue a descendant of the King of Thailand’s war elephants. Kham belongs to a hereditary line of guardians sworn to protect the pachyderms at all costs. Unfortunately, Kham arrives too late to save the elephant’s life from the villainous Madame Rose. When Kham sees the bones of the animal it was his sacred duty to protect, he flies into a psychotic rage and brutalizes dozens of Madame Rose’s hired thugs.
Muay Thai maestro Tony Jaa starred as Kham and choreographed this entry into our list. Jaa went the extra distance for this throwdown, inventing a new style of Muay Thai for the feature: Muay Kotchasan. The style bases its movements on that of an elephant: specifically throw, stamp-on, grab, and break. Jaa demonstrates each of these aspects of his new style as he breaks the arms, legs and dislocates the joints of his assailants in brutal fashion.
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