Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Never punch a big man in the gut

After watching the most excellent Ma Dong-seok in South Korean cop film The Roundup recently, and seeing him slap the living shit out of various scumbags, I have been reminded of the truly awesome cinematic pleasures that come with really big guys just smacking the crap out of people.

Big men have been part of fight scenes since the start of film, throwing their bulk around. And for my money, in a century of cinema, the gold standard for big guys in brawls is Carlo Pedersoli - otherwise known as the mighty Bud Spencer.

The films he did with Terrence Hill were spectacular entertainment, especially when the two pals would invariably end up in some huge brawl. And while Hill's acrobatics and kung fu styling were always fun, it was never as much as Bud bonking someone on the head with his closed fist, or watching in active bemusement as some poor lug pounds around at his mighty belly with little effect.

I'll never get sick of fighters using their bulk to clean out rooms. Obvious contenders like the great Sammo Hung, or Pat Roach and his entire career as 'big guy who can take a punch from the hero without flinching'. Or even Idris Elba (my favourite part in Luther - apart from when he bellows 'We can't do this anymore, Alice!' is where he tells one of the bad guys that if he pulls a switch that kills a bunch of kids, Luther will just walk over and instantly fucking kill him, and you have no doubt he could.)

But there are also surprising efforts, like Nick Frost, beating up the alien punks in The World's End, and slapping the crap out of martial arts masters in Into The Badlands

I think the scenes with Scott Adkins in John Wick 4 are a parody of this whole thing - it's genuinely alarming to see the very sexy Adkins in a grotesque fat suit, and he only gets away with it by using that bulk in an athletically balletic way that a dude who wears 400 pounds couldn't actually do.

But you don't need prosthetics, you just need someone with a ham of a hand, a giant melon of a head and a big gut which can absorb any punch. Because big guys are always hard to put down.

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