Fight scenes where the hero is obviously outclassed

Inspired by the mention of Rob Roy in another thread.

Fun as it is it eventually gets a bit eye-rolling when the main character of a movie is depicted as the most lethal killing machine ever and as such is surprising when s/he comes up against a superior opponent.

I found the climatic fight scene in Rob Roy memorable for two reasons, firstly because like the climatic fight in Aliens it takes place with virtually no music and secondly because it showed the villian as markedly superior in sword-skills than the hero who wins only because of said villians overconfidence and by doing the utterly unexpected.

I recently watched Die Hard 2 again and while its a very fun movie I couldn’t help thinking all through it that Bruce Willis’ character shouldn’t really be able to hold his own against most of the bad guys. I don’t know what police training is like in the US of A but over here police unarmed combat training is mostly defensive in nature and I don’t think it would be much use against very specifically offensively trained soldiers and special forces. As such I found it interesting that during the final fight scene on the wing of the aircraft that John McClane is given a comprehensive hiding by the main bad guy, granted by that point he has already been beaten, blown up and shot but still its obvious that the bad guy is simply more talented and better trained than him.

Any other examples?

Actually remembered another example myself Tom Cruise’s character VS The Lord of Darkness at the end of Legend.

Like Kirk and Commander Kruge? And Kirk still won?

The fights in Serenity between Mal Reynolds (generally tough and somewhat trained) and the agent (highly trained assassin) both involve Reynolds being kicked around by an obviously superior opponent.

Deckard gets the holy hell beaten out of him by Roy Batty at the end of Blade Runner, followed by a speech of some sort.

ETA: Heck, Harrison Ford gets the holy hell beaten out of him in the first 2 (3?) Indiana Jones movie too, and only survives because of the convenient deathtrap nearby.

Wasn’t John McClane a former Marine?

I didn’t remember that, but apparently he did have a USMC tattoo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_mcclane

Indiana Jones in the original Raiders of the Lost Ark
Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China

That would explain that one then, “Objection!” withdrawn…

How about Shanghai Knights? Jackie Chan’s fight with Donnie Yen was pretty much an even match, and I havn;t seen it in a long time, but I think Chan pretty much lost the fight and was saved by another.

Then in the sword fight at the end Jackie Chan outright got his ass kicked. He was outclassed like Muhammad Ali vs. a random guy on the street. He only came out alive because the bad guy kept messing with Chan and not killing him (to rub it in his face how the fact that he can;t win), until Jackie Chan cut the ropes holding up the catwalk they were both on. A move that would have killed them both if not for another turn of events.

Well, Paris (Orlando Bloom) sure looked like a feeble pipsqueak when he took on Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) in “Troy.”

Just as Homer described it.
If TV counts, Jim Rockford (James Garner) regularly got beaten up by tougher guys on “The Rockford Files.”

Practically every fight scene involving Whorf.

This is called the Worf Effect. (WARNING: TV Tropes link)

Regarding Indiana Jones, he’s not always outclassed. It’s clear he gets into fights often enough to be on top and on bottom roughly equally. When re-watching RotLA recently I was surprised how quickly he turned to “dirty” tactics, such as dirt-throwing and pointing to something behind the big German mechanic. Yet earlier he took on multiple baddies prior to the basket-chase without a sweat.

It’s not like guys in the military get much training in unarmed combat. They aren’t trained to beat people up, they are trained to grab a weapon and use it. If a soldier is in a position where he has to punch somebody, he’s already screwed.

Or Kirk and Khan; “I have five times your strength!” Or Kirk and the Gorn; I recall the scene where Kirk with great difficulty throws a head sized boulder at the Gorn, which bounces off; then the Gorn picks up and throws a five foot boulder back at him. And then there was the one where a berserk Spock comes after Kirk, punching holes in the walls…Kirk actually faced a fair number of physically superior opponents.

Leonard Smalls vs. H.I. McDunnough in Raising Arizona.

Maj. “Dutch” Schaefer vs. The Predator.

Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed in the first movie.

This is a classic example of where the hero gets 100% of his ass kicked by a guy who’s barely even trying.

Huh? Rocky wasn’t outclassed at all. He was supposed be outclassed - no one had ever gone more than 3 or 5 rounds with Apollo - but lasted the entire fight and won in a split decision.

He actually lost in a split decision.

George Clooney in O Brother Where Art Thou got his ass handed to him.

Balboa survived the fight. He got one sucker punch in at the start when Creed wasn’t taking him seriously, and then spent the rest of the fight as Creed’s punching bag, only going the distance through his sheer masochistic ability to take punishment. Creed only got punched back because he had to stand close enough to Balboa to hit him; and Creed won on points.