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Fight Scenes That Went Too Far

All great stories have conflict, and all great conflicts end with one person eating their words by way of a knuckle sandwich. There's honestly no better way to move a movie along sometimes than by simply ensuring an antagonist is beaten to a pulp and unable to wag that nasty finger of theirs any longer. And thanks to the power of movie magic, some of the greatest scenes in cinema have happened when two characters finally come to blows without anyone actually getting hurt. 

However, nothing has a 100 percent success rate. As a result, some of the best fight scenes in movies are guilty of going a little bit too far and resulting in one or more of the cast members succumbing to real-life injuries, all for the sake of making the moment look as authentic as possible. After all, what's a black eye or broken nose in the grand scheme of things if it means you get to create one of the rawest and most realistic battles in Hollywood history? From sci-fi showdowns to bloody brawls, here are the fight scenes that went too far.

Linda Hamilton beat an actor with a broom

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Linda Hamilton got more than a little carried away after another actor botched a physically demanding scene one time too many. 

According to information revealed in the film's commentary track, Hamilton was doing a scene with actor Ken Gibbel in which he had to strike her in the stomach with his baton. Unfortunately, Hamilton had to repeat her fall to the hard floor several times because her co-star wasn't able to sell the hit out of fear of hurting her. The actress grew increasingly frustrated as her knee started to get banged up from the falls, and she quickly found an opportunity to prove that she didn't share Gibbel's fears of hurting a co-star. 

Fans may remember a scene in Terminator 2 in which Hamilton escapes a mental hospital by beating a guard with a broom handle. That guard was played by Gibbel, and Hamilton was so furious with him by that point that she held nothing back when it came time to do the fight scene. As a result, the three bloody blows directly to the guard's face are not at all stagecraft. The actress really whacked him as hard as she could with the stick and left him with some injuries and a pretty great story to tell about over-dramatic actors. 

Although it sounds harsh, to hear it discussed in the commentary, the mood on set was almost gleeful as everyone involved must have known they had the perfect shot.

Michael B. Jordan took real punches in Creed

Sylvester Stallone once said that he had to go to the hospital for four days after asking Rocky IV co-star Dolph Lundgren to go all out to get some good shots for the film. As a result, he was able to convince Creed star Michael B. Jordan that one has to take some real hits in order to film boxing movies like Rocky

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show in 2018, Jordan explained the now-infamous clip where he appears to get knocked out by a professional boxer. "In the Rocky films, it's like a badge of honor to take a real punch, and when you do slow-mo shots, you can't fake it," he explained. "So you have to take a real punch." Fortunately, the star was a champ when it came to absorbing the punishment and even revealed that they had to do the same punch twice since the pro boxer's glove accidentally hid the star's face from the camera. 

In the clip, Jordan turns into the blow and hits the mat incredibly hard and stays there. Anyone who has ever seen a real knockout likely recognized the moment all too well. However, the star explained that he was simply acting and was wide awake ... and feeling the pain the whole time. Jordan explained that he definitely got dazed by the blow, but he wasn't knocked out in the most technical sense. However, he admitted to the talk show host that it felt like he had been in a car accident for four days afterward, the same amount as Sly.

Steven Seagal doesn't do stage combat

There are countless stories about action star Steven Seagal being difficult to work with. Whether he wants to rewrite a script on the fly so that his character looks better or whether he's allegedly attacking John Leguizamo for laughing at him, there's no shortage of reasons that you should cross the street if you see this man. However, it's specifically worth talking about his part on the set of Under Siege 2, in which he simply refused to pull his punches during a fight scene, to the point that his co-star had to simply agree to accept the blows. 

In the book Twisted: Tales of the Wacky Side of Life, actor Everett McGill, who played the villain in the film, explained that Seagal wouldn't hold back in scenes. "Seagal has one thing to offer," he said. "The truth of what he does as a fighter. For him to pull punches in a fight, he can't sell it." 

McGill explained that they "came to an arrangement" wherein he would simply take all the body blows from the over 6-foot-tall actor. However, he wasn't offered the same courtesy, since an errant punch to Seagal could shut down production on the whole film while he healed. So as a result, Seagal got to wail on his co-star, and said co-star had to get the crap beaten out of him, all for the sake of movie magic.

Dave Bautista sent 007 to the hospital during their big fight scene

In the 2015 movie Spectre, James Bond finds himself in a fight with a beefy henchman named Mr. Hinx, played by none other than Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista. In the scene, the former professional wrestler confronts Daniel Craig's Bond on a train headed through Morocco. As massive henchmen tend to do, Hinx throws Bond from one side of the car to another. Unfortunately, in real life, the stunt went wrong, and a nasty injury ensued. 

"We were going at it 100 percent. Very physical," Bautista told Entertainment Weekly. "There was a small, little indentation in the floor. His foot just slipped off it and tweaked and his knee collapsed in. It was that fast."

Production on the film had to stop while Craig had to undergo arthroscopic surgery to fix a tear in his meniscus. However, it's worth mentioning that the actor is every bit as tough as his on-screen counterpart. He didn't let the internal tear to his body stop production for long. "I've injured myself many times," Craig said. "My fear was, if I had a proper surgery on it, it would stop filming for a long time. The amazing thing was, it didn't need it. It slowed me down. I couldn't run without pounding pain. So I took two weeks off, had the surgery and got back to work."

Craig got his payback during re-shoots when he "accidentally" landed a punch that gave Bautista a bloody nose. Regardless, there seems to be no bad blood between the two pros.

Westley got knocked out for real

The Princess Bride is a movie with a lot of thrilling fight scenes that help drive the story along (not to mention establish Inigo Montoya as one of the coolest characters in cinematic history). But despite all the thrilling swordplay, the set was strapped for fake swords. As a result, when it came time for Cary Elwes' character to be knocked out by the sword hilt of Christopher Guest's Count Rugen, some things simply couldn't be faked for safety's sake.

"Westley and Buttercup are confronted by Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen. I'm left with Count Rugen, he's supposed to knock me out with the butt of his sword," Elwes explained in a 2014 interview with SudanceTV. "We didn't have any kind of rubber sword, and so I stupidly spoke up and said, 'Chris just tap me light, it'll be fine.' I woke up in the hospital with stitches being sewn into my forehead, and the scene you see in the movie is in fact me being knocked out for real."

Although the actor clearly regrets the decision to commit to the blow for real, one has to give the Dread Pirate Roberts himself some credit for agreeing to sacrifice his body and a few brain cells to sell what could've easily been a cartoonish knockout.

Sean Bean still has his Patriot Games scar

We all know Sean Bean as the actor we hate to see die in almost everything he's in. However, in a few rare occasions, we're stoked to see his characters die. Such was the case in the 1992 film Patriot Games

After terrorizing Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan for the whole film, the two duke it out on board a runaway speed boat that also happens to be on fire. Ryan ultimately wins the fight by impaling his enemy on an anchor. However, during their high-speed bout, AMC notes that Ford accidentally whacked his co-star above his left eye with said boat anchor. Eagle-eyed Game of Thrones fans may have noticed a distinct scar on Bean's face where the anchor made contact during filming. 

Fortunately for him, the disfigurement actually helped the actor's career. Not only did he get to say he has a scar from fighting Harrison Ford himself, but he was approached by the producers of Patriot Games for a role in the film Sharpe's Rifles. One defining characteristic of the character from Bernard Cornwell's novels is a scar on the left side of his face. The oddly fortuitous injury can be considered a major help in landing Bean iconic roles such as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings and, of course, Lord Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones.

As for whether or not the actor would trade it all for a facial scar again, who knows?

A Crouching Tiger fight scene left Michelle Yeoh in a leg brace

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is responsible for turning a whole generation of audiences onto Asian martial arts actors. It was a breakout hit, a special effects marvel, and a serious Oscar contender that spawned a straight-to-Netflix sequel. However, for brilliant martial arts actress Michelle Yeoh, it's simply the movie where she tore her ACL. 

Yeoh opens the film and helps demonstrate its trademark, gravity-defying fight physics. In the scene where her character is chasing and battling an assassin across the rooftops of a small village, Yeoh explained that the stage combat led to an accident that put her out of commission for almost the rest of the movie. 

"It was a memorable journey, but it was also one of the most painful moviemaking experiences I had," she told Metro in 2016. "During the last hour of the first action sequence [the one where she runs on the rooftops], I tore my ACL. I needed surgery. You couldn't tell the difference, could you?" She then added, "If you watch the movie you see me walking slowly. That's because I had a big brace under those baggy trousers. It took me three months to recover, to be ready for the last fight sequence."

If you need to be told that the actress made the injury look flawlessly absent in the film, you clearly haven't seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and need to change your plans for the rest of the day.

Don't mess with Sonny Corleone

One of the more memorable scenes in an already memorable film, The Godfather sees Sonny Corleone go absolutely mental on his brother-in-law after he finds out that he's been beating up his sister. Even the most ardent anti-violence advocate can't help but feel a little righteous watching Sonny beat Carlo Rizzi up and down the street. Everyone knows that hitting mafia boss' sister, is a big no-no.

According to Time, actor James Caan landed a few of the blows in the scene when he wasn't supposed to. When he threw actor Gianni Russo over a fence and beat him with a trash can, he allegedly broke two of his co-star's ribs and cracked his elbow. The outlet notes that there were rumors that Cann and Russo didn't get along well and that the former may have used the combat scene as an excuse to settle some scores. 

Russo confirmed that rumors in a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly where he revealed just how off-book his co-star went. "We choreographed that scene for about a day and a half. ... Jimmy got a little aggressive, I would say, and he improvised a few things like that little billy club he threw at me when I came off the stoop. He hit me right in the head with that, and then he throws me over the railing,  and he's biting my hands. ... When I crawl out, he literally lifted me up with his kick ... none of that was supposed to happen."

Tarantino insisted on choking Diane Kruger

The film Inglorious Basterds all culminates in a one-night scene that takes place in a theater where a lot of characters meet their respective ends. And other than Hitler's death, perhaps none are more brutal than Bridget von Hammersmark's (Diane Kruger). After getting on the wrong side of Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the two grapple for a bit before the SS officer wraps his hands around von Hammersmark's neck and chokes the life out of her. 

It's a visceral and brutal scene, mostly because director Quentin Tarantino insisted that they simply couldn't fake it. As the director told Deadline in 2018, "I went to Diane [Kruger], and I said, 'Look, I've got to strangle you. If it's just a guy with his hands on your neck, not putting any kind of pressure and you're just doing this wiggling death rattle, it looks like a normal movie strangulation. It looks movie-ish. ... What I would like to do, with your permission, is just ... commit to choking you."

In an effort to make sure that none of his actors or stunt people would potentially have her death on their conscience should his decision to go full-method on the choking not work out, the director insisted he do it himself. Now, Tarantino's directing choices with his actresses is a subject of massive debate, so it's worth mentioning that Kruger has come forward to say she consented to the whole thing. Still, what's portrayed on film is a fight scene wherein a woman is actually choked out by her director.

Burt Reynolds almost died ... way after the fight scene

In 1984, Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds starred in City Heat, alongside another Hollywood veteran, Clint Eastwood. In the film, Reynolds' character has some good fight scenes, but the actor doesn't remember his time on set too fondly. 

According to Variety, Reynolds was doing the choreography for a fight scene with another actor when he was accidentally hit in the face with a metal chair. The blow resulted in a broken jaw for the actor and left him with chronic pain. However, the real consequence of the hit was that it got a doctor to prescribe him pain medication, which the actor said led to a near-fatal dependence on prescription pills. 

It seems that taking a hit in the middle of a fight scene isn't the only dangerous consequence of a stunt-gone-wrong. After that incident, Reynolds said that he wasn't afraid to look like a coward on set if it meant ensuring safety. As he explained, "After that, I was very adamant about the preparation of stunts with directors, some of whom probably thought I was being overly cautious or maybe not as brave as I was supposed to be. But there's just no reason to get hurt on a picture."