I’ve studied and I’ve taught martial arts in my time. I’ve taken lessons in traditional taekwondo, mixed martial arts, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’ve been certified to teach women’s self defense, and I’ve taught scenario-based self-defense to children.
I love some of the acrobatic styles that are used on screen and on stage. I particularly enjoy the parkour style used on shows like the CW’s Arrow. I love the flashy stuff like the action scenes from “The Raid: Redemption” and the more classic styles included in everything from “Die Hard” to “Enter the Dragon.” Let me even point out the cool art developed in California and used in the Batman movies by Christian Bale. Action movies have a buffet of styles and corresponding moves to choose from, with more available every day.
So, here’s my question. Why is it that movies and TV shows continue to go back to the same, stupid, over-used and completely useless move? I speak of what I have called the “Hollywood headbutt.”
It seems like every fight scene requires the hero to grapple with the villain, and in a moment of tension, gnashed teeth and caro syrup blood, he smashes his forehead into villain and the tide of battle turns. (or, if you’re the Avengers, you flip your hair and the Russian guy breaks his nose.)
Guess who uses that move in real life? NO ONE.
A blow to the head is the worst thing you want in the middle of a fight, and no trained fighter would ever voluntarily concuss themselves to get their hands free.
In the past decade, I saw one instance where the Hollywood headbutt made sense. That was, of course, the sci-fi battlefest, “Pacific Rim.” In that context, the giant armored robot headbutts a giant unarmored alien monster, knocking it loopy. That makes some sense. Tonight, I saw the second appropriate use of the HH. In “Dredd“, title character Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) headbutts his opponent. Dredd wears a helmet. His opponent does not. THAT MAKES SENSE!
I don’t want to be a fight snob, if such a thing exists. I just want movies to include realistic fights, just like I want realistic effects. Give me Christopher Nolan flipping a big rig in “The Dark Knight” any day over the cartoon CGI in films like “Torque” or “Catwoman.”
Am I wrong? Have you ever used the Hollywood Headbutt to win a fight? Let me know!