The All-Time Greatest (non) Fight Scene/RIP Powers Booth

The CFL has been a little pressed for time lately, so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.

I don’t know about you, but the 1992 Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston vehicle, The Bodyguard, remains a guilty pleasure 25 years (!) on.

Ably directed by Mick Jackson, the film features a reliably sturdy performance by Costner, a bunch of hit songs sung by Houston that more than compensate for her wobbly acting, a surprise appearance by Ralph Waite (Mr. Walton from The Waltons) during his late career renaissance (he also appeared in 1993’s Cliffhanger)a villain whose dialogue consists entirely of inflecting a single word (Nooooooo! No. No!), an appearance by Entertainment Tonight‘s John Tesh and his perfect blonde hair, and, of course, a fight scene that ranks very highly in my pantheon of fisticuffs. As the title of this post suggests, it very well may be the greatest epic fight scene in which barely a punch lands. A little table setting:

Actress/singer/dancer extraordinaire Rachael Marron (Houston) has grudgingly hired ex-Secret Service agent Frank Farmer (Costner) to protect her from a pervert who’s making threats on her life in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards. (She’s nominated for Best Actress — oof!) As Farmer takes over her security operation, the guy who’d previously been in charge, Tony Scipelli (Mike Starr, a character actor you’d recognize in a heartbeat) starts to feel under appreciated. The tension between the two men escalates when Farmer whisks Rachael from a concert appearance that has gotten out of hand, the quick exit leaving Tony in the rain as the limo peels away.

Farmer gets the shaken Marron to bed and heads to the kitchen to eat any apple with a very sharp knife. Tony, soaked to the core and none too happy, barges in to give Frank the what for. Frank isn’t having it. As with the scene, let’s let the action do the talking:

Gotta love the economy of scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s dialogue!

RIP Powers Booth!

News made the rounds today that Powers Booth passed away at 68. Like Mike Starr, Booth was a character actor you’ve seen many times but maybe weren’t aware of his name. On the movie front, Booth had memorable roles in Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort (1981) and John Boorman’s Emerald Forest (1985). However, because of his intense tough-guy good looks, villain roles presented themselves with regularity throughout his long career. Not only was Booth unafraid to be typecast, he relished being a bad guy, making it a point of pride to chew scenery with the best of them. And chew he did for his turn as Cash Bailey in Walter Hill’s hilariously over-the-top Nick Nolte vehicle Extreme Prejudice (1987). What else can one say when, not 10 minutes into the film, Bailey picks up a scorpion, considers it as it crawls over his hand and then squashes it dead between his fingers?

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While arachnids rejoice, the rest of us mourn. RIP!

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