The 411 MMA Top 10 10.29.12: Top 10 MMA Movies
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at the top ten mixed martial arts movies. But first,
Thoughts from last week and other random stuff:
• Last week’s list was the top ten fighters in the history of Strikeforce and there weren’t any dumb comments which is always a plus. I replied to some of your thoughts in the discussion section but I’ll address some more here as well.
• It was asked how did Dan Henderson make the top ten and not Alistair Overeem. Overeem only fought three times and there was a three year gap in between winning the title and his first title defense. Henderson only had one more fight in Strikeforce but I think it was more impressive overall. The fight with Shields sucked but it was just as bad as Overeem’s fight with Werdum. Then Henderson beat former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ and UFC #1 contender Renato Sobral. Then he beat Cavalcante and the best heavyweight of all time. Just better wins than Brett Rogers and Paul Buentello.
• It was said that Rousey should have gotten the top spot over Gilbert Melendez. I understand the logic behind it but Melendez is definitely the top fighter in the organization’s history. Rousey has only been with the company since 2011 and has one title defense. Melendez has been the foundation of the company since the start.
• Gina Carano only had two fights in the company and just wasn’t as good as the other female fighters that were on the list.
• And the comment of the week goes to Random Dude, “Any list of top Strikeforce fighters that omits Tito Santana AND Rick Martel cannot be taken seriously.”
• Once Strikeforce finally closes I’ll do a top 20 fight list.
Back to this week’s list
So this is going to be a different list of sorts. Midway through the week I decided not to rank all those direct to DVD MMA movies. Instead I decided to expand it to also include movies with fighting tournaments with fighters with different styles, techniques, and disciplines. There may also be a movie on the list about an MMA fighter. Movies that are more UFC-like will have a little more value but other than that this week’s list is pretty much just based on my personal taste. So let me know your personal top ten movies in the comment section.
• Never Back Down- It wasn’t bad but it was targeted more towards a younger audience. It had the basic but entertaining story of the new kid in town getting beat up by bullies and eventually getting his revenge.
The Quest came out in 1996 and was Jean-Claude Van Damme’s directorial debut. It wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece and it does blend in with a lot of his other work but it was still a fun movie. JCVD is a pickpocket living in New York City in the 1920’s that eventually gets sold into slavery near Siam by Roger Moore. Yes that actually happens. Roger Moore later buys him out of slavery so he can fight in an international fighting tournament called Ghang-gheng. Van Damme is also accompanied by a female American reporter and a washed up boxer. Not a must see film but its definitely a fun watch.
If you like Stone Cold Steve Austin this is the movie for you. This was one of his first movies and it was surprisingly good. Austin plays an ex-con who was just released early from killing a man in self defense. Austin eventually meets this man’s wife and finds out that her daughter needs money for a heart surgery. So Austin teams up with promoter Walter Goggins and waitress Laura Vandervoort to enter in underground fighting tournaments to raise the money. It had a solid plot, some good fight scenes, a cameo by the Smoking Man, and just Stone Cold being awesome for an hour and a half.
Matt Hamill isn’t always the most exciting fighter but it’s not hard not to respect him and all he’s had to overcome in his life. The Hammer is mostly about Hamill’s time in college and is well done. Hamill is played by Russell Harvard, a deaf actor. The film covers when Hamill was cut from the wrestling team at Purdue University and then he became a walk-on at RIT. Rich Franklin, Matt Hamill’s former opponent actually played the coach at Purdue. Check it out, maybe you’ll even forgive him for his fight at UFC 152.
Once every generation, there is an inter-dimensional martial arts tournament known as Mortal Kombat, designed by the Elder Gods to limit invasions between the realms of the universe. If the realm of Outworld wins Mortal Kombat ten consecutive times, its Emperor Shao Kahn will be able to invade and conquer the Earth realm. Based on the 1992 video game, this movie was great for gamers and those who had never heard of the game either. The movie did as good of a job as they could at bringing the game to the big screen. The graphics are a little cheesy now but at the time they were cool and it had some solid casting. Robin Shou as Liu Kang, Christopher Lambert as Rayden, Veronica Vaughn as Sonya Blade, and Frank Welker voiced Shao Kahn. The sequel wasn’t great and there is talk of a reboot ever couple years. I’m sure it well get remade eventually.
Jet Li’s last martial arts epic definitely did not suck. The movie was based loosely on the life of Huo Yuanjia. At this time China was being ripped apart by Western imperialism and Japan’s influence as well. Yuanjia helped bring pride back to his nation by challenging foreign fighters of all different styles. In the movie he took on a wrestler, boxer, fencer, lancer, and finally the Japanese champion. Yuanjia also founded the Chin Woo Athletic Association. Just a great movie if you appreciate the historical significance of the man or if you just like awesome fight scenes.
You should go see this movie if you haven’t already. I expected it to be funny but I was surprised by how good it was. The film stars Kevin James as a biology teacher who starts competing in MMA to raise enough money to save his school’s music program. Henry Winkler was entertaining as the music teacher with his job on the line and Bas Rutten was hilarious as his trainer who is trying to become a US citizen. Some MMA fans may not feel it was very realistic but it did a pretty good job of representing lower level MMA events. It was also cool because I’m sure a good amount of MMA fans have thought about how some preliminary card fighters make ten grand even if they lose. It had some cheesy humor like a food fight but the most hilarious parts of the movie were the side elements of it. Like James’ friend who has a dysfunctional family and his US citizenship class. It had the expected finale but it was filled with MMA references and cameos that should make MMA fans pop. It also had some nice values for the family like inspiring your students and following your dreams. Definitely worth seeing as I expect it to go down as one of the better sports comedies.
Unfortunately this was Bruce Lee’s last film due to his untimely death but not only was Enter the Dragon a great film but it also has a great amount of cultural significance. It was the first Chinese martial arts movie to be produced by a Hollywood studio, Warner Brothers. It was also very important to Lee as he took great care in having it represent his views of Chinese culture. In this movie, Lee works with British Intelligence to capture a crime lord involved in drug trafficking and prostitution. This crime lord was also responsible for the death of Lee’s sister. In order to infiltrate the operation, Lee has to enter into an underground fighting competition. So of course there is a large amount of great kung fu throughout the film. I’ve never been a big fan of kung fu movies but this one should be on everybody’s list.
Bloodsport was the movie that really put Jean-Claude Van Damme on the map. Of course it wasn’t for his brilliant acting. JCVD plays Frank Dux who competes in an illegal underground martial arts tournament called the Kumite. The movie is said to be based on a true story but Frank Dux’s life has been called into question and a good amount of people think he stretches the truth a great deal. Many have tried to recreate the essence of this movie but all fall short as Bloodsport is one of the best mixed martial arts movies ever made.
This is probably number one on a lot of people’s lists but falls just short on mine. Warrior was an amazing movie and even got some attention around the award season. The movie followed the stories of two brothers who entered into the Sparta Grand Prix tournament. Tom Hardy is a former marine and Joel Edgerton is a former UFC fighter now teacher struggling to provide for his family. Nick Nolte was nominated for an academy award for playing their father and Kurt Angle played the champion coming into the tournament. Even if you don’t like MMA it’s impossible not to like this movie. The characters’ stories were all compelling and the action was brutal. The climax of the film and tournament is a bit predictable but you’re still at the end of your seat watching it. I’ll probably get a lot of comments arguing that it should have the top spot and understandably so.
This was far from action packed but I personally think it’s the best MMA movie made to date. Chiwetel Ejiofor starred as Mike Terry the struggling owner of a jiu-jitsu gym who married into a corrupt Gracie-like family. Ejiofor is constantly trying to do the right thing but just keeps getting screwed over. Starting with a gun going off accidentally in his gym to his training methods being stolen and eventually being betrayed by his in-laws, he just refuses to compromise his own moral code until the end. The movie also stars Tim Allen (he was actually good in a serious role), Joe Mantegna, and Emily Mortimer. There were also appearances from Randy Couture, John Machado, and Enson Inoue. There were a few brief fight scenes throughout the movie but it wasn’t really as much about fighting as it was his struggle to hold onto the honor and values of jiu-jitsu. The final fight scene was great as Ejiofor lost everything at that point but his honor. Unfortunately it didn’t get a great amount publicity at the time of its release but it’s one of my all time favorite movies.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a movie out that would be in your top ten.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Save the date: Nov 9th, Pro Wrestling Syndicate is having another stacked show in Rahway NJ. As of now the show has Jerry Lynn, Matt Hardy, Colt Cabana, Davey Richards, Kevin Steen, Tony Nese, Rene Dupree, Sami Callihan, Kevin Matthews, yours truly, and Mr. Belding will be returning to challenge for the titl
• Next week will be the ten bloodiest fights.
Try not to die til next week.