Top 10 Movie Fights Where the Hero Loses

Written by Garrett Alden When it comes time for heroes in movies to fight their greatest adversary, they can't be expected to win all the time, but sometimes they get completely pummelled. WatchMojo presents the top 10 movie fights where the hero completely loses! But what will take the top spot obn our list? Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to Ryan Hill for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check ou the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movie+Fights+where+the+Hero+Loses
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You win some, you lose some. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Fights Where the Hero Loses.



For this list, we’ll be examining big screen fistfights, shootouts, and other close combat engagements where a protagonist is defeated or suffers a loss - regardless of whether it’s temporary or permanent. These entries are going to primarily be between two people or one person against a group, which means we’re excluding large-scale battles, like in “Aliens.” Also, a spoiler alert is in order.



#10: Fire Extinguisher Fight
“Deadpool” (2016)


Imprisoned and tortured by the sadistic Ajax, Wade Wilson makes a desperate escape bid by igniting a match in his oxygen rich prison, and only survives due to his powerful healing ability. With the lab ablaze, Ajax arms himself with a fire extinguisher, but must soon use it to defend himself against an angry, semi-nude Wade. The two are pretty evenly matched. However, Ajax claims to be able to fix what his experiments have done to Wade’s skin. This causes Wade to hesitate, leading to his impalement and Ajax abandoning him in the burning building. The fight marks Wade’s first attempt at revenge against his tormentor, and is a goal that drives him for much of the film.



#9: Kirk’s Bar Fight
“Star Trek” (2009)


James T. Kirk is a lot of things, but diplomatic isn’t one of them. When chatting up Uhura in a bar, Kirk angers some already belligerent Starfleet cadets. Despite bloodying a few noses himself, Kirk is unable to hold off so many opponents at once, and gets thoroughly trounced. It’s only at the intervention of Captain Pike that the fight is broken up. The bar fight helps serve as an introduction to Kirk’s reckless character and also leads to his meeting with his mentor, whose encouragement gives Kirk the push he needs to join Starfleet.



#8: RoboCop vs. ED-209
“RoboCop” (1987)


RoboCop is seen by many other police officers in the film as the thing that will eventually replace them. However, even the cyborg formerly known as Alex Murphy is immune to feeling like he’s yesterday’s model. Upon confronting the corrupt corporate president of the company that “upgraded” him, RoboCop faces an even more formidable cybernetic foe in ED-209, whose firepower far outstrips his own. After taking heavy damage, the cyborg policeman must accept defeat and is only able to escape thanks to his decision to take the stairs. Despite all its advancements, ED-209 can’t handle them with its big feet. Stairs. Why did it have to be stairs?



#7: Church Parking Lot Shootout

“John Wick” (2014)


John Wick kicks a lot of ass in his first film, but he also experiences his fair share of setbacks. John’s biggest defeat occurs following his battle with the Russian mobsters in and around a church. Although he manages to mow through plenty of them with his characteristic efficiency, an enterprising henchman eventually manages to ram a car into the vehicle behind which John is taking cover, sending the assassin flying. This lost fight leads to a gripping confrontation between John and Viggo, the head of the crime group he’s been relentlessly pursuing. Even in defeat, though, John remains in control.



#6: Drax the Destroyer vs. Ronan the Accuser
“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)


Midway through this film, Drax gives away his location in the hopes of challenging Ronan the Accuser, who murdered his wife and daughter. While Drax demonstrates earlier in the film that he is a fierce and intimidating fighter, Ronan heavily outclasses him and hands him a one-sided beat down. Sometimes a hero has to lose to show the audience just how strong the villain really is. In wrestling, this is known as “jobbing.” Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, is a former pro wrestler himself, and probably familiar with the idea.



#5: T-800 vs. T-1000
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)


Several fights between the liquid metal T-1000 and standard T-800 occur throughout “T2,” but the biggest loss occurs in the climatic fight at the foundry. Although the T-800 manages to keep the implacable T-1000 at bay for the majority of the film, this memorable, atmospheric confrontation sees the malleable Terminator come out on top, due to its superior skills in close combat, which outmatch the older model. Although it could be argued that this is not a true loss, since the T-800 does manage to destroy the T-1000 in the end, the combat between the two does see the heroic Terminator bested, so it counts in our books.


#4: Gandalf the Grey vs. Saruman the White
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)


Early on in the first part of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Gandalf the Grey turns to Saruman the White for help when he suspects Bilbo’s old ring may indeed be the Dark Lord Sauron’s. However, he soon finds himself fighting for his life when Saruman reveals himself to have come under Sauron’s influence. Although Gandalf puts up a good fight, Saruman ultimately turns the tables when he gets a hold of Gandalf’s staff, leading to the grey wizard’s imprisonment when Frodo needs him the most. This sequence is only implied in the books, so seeing this wizards’ duel come to life was a real treat for fans.



#3: Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed
“Rocky” (1976)


With so many entries in the franchise, it’s easy to forget that Rocky Balboa loses his big fight in the first film. It’s not a clear-cut loss, however. While Creed is far more experienced, Rocky’s tenacity allows him to fight him to a draw, only losing by a split decision from the judges; a result echoed in “Creed” between Donnie and Conlan “Rocky,” along with its sequels, are among the rare sports movies that highlight an aspect of athletics that many others ignore in favor of a victorious conclusion – self-improvement. While Rocky may not have won the match, his journey to become better, both inside and outside the ring, is the true message of the fight, and the films.



#2: Bane Breaks the Bat
“The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)


Betrayed by Catwoman and penned in with the imposing, masked man Bane, Batman is surrounded and outmatched from the beginning of this fight. Despite the Dark Knight’s gadgets and impressive fighting prowess, he is no match for Bane’s monstrous strength and endurance. Along with the impressively crafted atmosphere created by the setting, the lack of music really lends weight to every sound and impact in the fight - particularly its final one, when Bane brutally breaks Batman’s back. This fight also sets the stage for Batman to be at his lowest point, from which he must rise to achieve his greatest triumph.



Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



Raphael Gets Beat Up on Rooftop
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990)



Rorschach vs. Police

“Watchmen” (2009)




#1: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader
“Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)


If you’ve seen “Star Wars,” you probably saw this coming. If you’ve never seen “Star Wars,” you really need to fix that. Luke’s confrontation with Darth Vader at Cloud City may not have the flashy choreography of some of our other entries, but in terms of the fight’s environment, character investment, and growth, it’s absolutely unmatched. Vader’s victory over Luke is particularly brutal, both for how he literally disarms Luke and for the famous revelation he delivers to both his young opponent and the audience. With its integral importance to the “Star Wars” franchise, and popular culture in general, this had to be our number one choice.
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