Fisticuffs on Film: Five Great Bouts for LA Athletic Club’s Fight Night

Boxers from USC and UCLA duke it out in downtown L.A.’s oldest private club.

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Tonight the Los Angeles Athletic Club turns into Fight Club. The private, members-only venue will host one of its rare public events, Fight Night, a Collegiate Boxing Invitational, featuring the best university pugilists including a main event between rivals UCLA and USC.

Boxing has been a mainstay at the LAAC since it opened in downtown in 1880, and this event aims to offer pugilism in a sophisticated setting. Black ties are optional, but there will definitely be cigars, hors d’oeuvres, and classy desserts. Think of it as the opposite of watching a Pay-Per-View brawl at home while brushing Cheetos dust off your Lazy Boy. Before you settle in to clink whisky glasses and applaud face-punches. At LAAC’s event, here are five underrated movie fights to prepare you for tonight’s amped-up action. (Sorry, no Rocky allowed.)

Fight Club (1999)
Of all the bloody dust ups in this touchstone of 1990s cinema, the best is the scene where Jack (Edward Norton) beats himself up in his boss’ office. It’s a visceral metaphor for the torpor of working a dead-end job.

Bloodsport (1988)
While Jean Claude Van Damme basks in the internet glory of his Volvo splits video, let’s take a moment to honor the original. Here he is executing some epic splits and a classic crotch punch.

They Live (1988)
John Carpenter’s underrated and delightfully campy 1980s horror film has achieved cult status with street artist Shepard Fairey crediting his OBEY posters to the movie. It’s a great L.A. flick, following a down-on-his-luck journeyman (Rowdy Roddy Piper) who finds a pair of sunglasses that reveal rich people as aliens. Really. Here, Piper fights a construction worker and his friend (Keith David) as he tries to make him wear the sunglasses so he can see his reality. It’s nearly six minutes of exhausting but awesome alley fighting.

Oldboy (2003)
Chan-wook Park’s insane, disturbing, and unbelievably enjoyable Korean revenge drama is a classic of modern Asian noir. (Spike Lee’s remake, which stars Josh Brolin, comes out November 27.) In this fight scene from the original film, the incredible Choi Min-sik takes on a hoard of thugs fighting in a hallway. Lit with inky chiaroscuro, it’s one long, tracking shot, done in a single take, and a stunningly choreographed setpiece of cinematic violence.

Mean Girls (2004)
High school queen Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is once again fishing for compliments so nerdy girl-turned-vixen Caty Heron (Lindsay Lohan) reacts with a ferocious attack more suitable for the animal kingdom. There’s only one problem: It’s imaginary.


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