By; John M Jerva
Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
In 2010, a host of action legends came together to make the awesome 80’s inspired action throwback The Expendables which saw Sylvester Stallone team up with Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts and Stone Cold Steve Austin in a story of an elite team of mercs who take on a dictator and his army, winner take all.
The climax was an action lover’s dream and MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture and WWE wrestling superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin engaged in a battle royale surrounded by none other than a freaking ring of fire. This week’s Foot Fist Fridays features these two icons as they lock horns whre only one man will walk away from!
When the first Expendables film was announced, action fans lost their collective minds, as did I, when the cast was revealed and it featured some of the most iconic names from the past and present. Stallone assembled a crack team of action professionals including Statham, Li, Lundgren, Couture, Roberts, Rourke, Austin Crews for a bone crunching love letter to fans. Some fans and critics felt that it didn’t live up to its lofty expectations but I was more than pleased with the outcome and feel that the film’s climax is a three pronged assault on the senses. This film remains one of my favorites to this day.
The first prong is the epic battle in the underground tunnels where Stallone and his gang took on the baddies which also featured British action legend Gary Daniels. That scene was a hectic and brutal display that was matched only by the film’s second prong final shootout where our merry band of mercs decimated an entire army on their home turf complete with massive firepower and explosions galore.
I’m here today to talk about the third prong which is the epic beatdown between mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture who played Toll Road and WWE superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin who was on bad guy duties as Dan Payne, the right hand man to villain Eric Roberts.
The fight was simplistic in its choreography and there wasn’t any flash to it but it did feature some brutal and bone jarring moves from both competitors. These two guys don’t need flash when they’re this good. Couture and Austin were evenly matched and the fight even contained a ring of fire surrounding both men. Now how’s that for Action-Flx Approved?!
Now, any serious action fan knows how the outcome is gonna go because Couture is the good guy and Austion is not but it still warrants numerous viewings even to this day as the fight, which was staged by John Wick creator and action maestro Chad Stahelski, is a clinic of what a real brawl should look like between two matched behemoths who are the best at what they do.
I had the great honor to interview Mr. Couture this past week for his new film Final Kill, and I asked him about the fight and how it was to work with Austin. Here’s what he said:
First of all, he’s a gret guy. He’s a huge fan of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and we were riding to and from set in a van everyday and he asked a million questions. He knew every single guy’s stats at that time from top to bottom and it occured to me that if this was ten years prior, he would absolutley be walking out of that tunnel and into that cage to take on somebody. He was absolutley that kind of fighter with that fighter’s mentality so it was fun to be around him and his passion for the sport. It was fun to work with him. He was a very big, very talented guy who moves very well for a man that size. Chad Stahelski set up that whole fight and how it was going to go and we had a blast doing it. It was fun.
How’s that for some behind the scenes goodness on an action classic. My full interview with Randy will be out later today so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Now in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer, “Enough Talk!” Lets get down and dirty and watch “The Natural” and Stone Cold center the ring of fire!