In this day and age, the mainstream media cover everything and anything that looks good. What am I saying, that is what they have always done. Then, it is really no surprise that grappling arts are starting to invade Hollywood even. Yup; If we go ahead and youtube grappling in movies we will find a lots of movies with some awkward shoulder throws in them. But, really, nothing beats the sensation of watching a movie and seeing a triangle or an armbar happen just out of the blue. Just stop reading if you want to experience this yourself because we will spoil it for you. Our top three picks are John Wick, Never Back Down and Warrior.
Number one on our list is John Wick, just because of the sheer amount of BJJ presence.
You are watching a movie and you are an hour in. You see a triangle choke. Reaction: Holy cow, that’s my move. Well that is going to happen to you during the whole movie.
The first John Wick installment came out in 2014. Really well received by audiences and critics; Rotten tomatoes has both the sequel and the first movie at around 86% approval. Luckily for us, a third installment is in the making set to be released sometime in 2019. The movie centers around protagonist John Wick who refuses to sell his car to a gangster trio who then retaliate, unfortunately for them, by raiding his house, killing his dog, and stealing his vintage Ford Mustang. John (Keanu Reeves) then moves on to mow down his whole family a spectacular fashion, employing a variety of judo and Brazilian jiu-Jitsu techniques mixed with Gun Fu.
There’s a staggering amount of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo techniques in the movie. Still, there are a couple of shots which draw the eye of the Jiu-Jiutero. One shot sequence in fact, sees him struggle with a female assassin. Where John uses mostly standup throws so he can dispatch as many enemies he can, she attacks with some BJJ specific techniques such as the kimura reversal, back control and the guard. ‘Seeing the crucifix in a movie really does something for me’, a friend of mine says. I heartily agree.
Never Back Down
Our second pick is Never Back Down.
Never back down came out in 2008. Predominantly a teenage drama, the movie presents mixed martial arts in a way that few movies have. We see a short-tempered football player experience high school through a fighter’s perspective and all the prestige that Mixed Martial Arts bring.
In fact, there’s even some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu philosophy to be seen in this one. At a critical point in the protagonist’s development, his mentor presents him with the concept of ‘Position before submission.’
There’s a lot happening in this one when it comes to BJJ: helicopter armbars, triangle chokes and lots more. Perhaps not at the same extent as John Wick; nonetheless, in a movie industry which would rather give us CGI fighting scenes this movie is a jewel for the Jiu-Jitsu player.
This one was out in cinemas in 2011. It’s a great movie, and as most great movies go, it’s not just about one thing. It mixes up martial arts, or rather sport, with life’s issues. Its focus is the broken relationship of two brothers. In a dramatic turn of events we eventually see them in the octagon: a grappling specialist and physics teacher fighting his more aggressive striker based brother who’d been in the marines.
‘I remember this movie because I hadn’t even been into jiu-jitsu when I had first seen it. Seeing the omoplata, my thoughts were: what the hell is that? Years later, I had randomly come across the movie on TV and had a flashback of having seen it before. It’s a weird feeling seeing the same thing through different perspectives. Experience gives us new eyes. Whatever the case, that Omoplata was hell of a lot good.’
We voted this list @Jiujitsulegacy.com. Perhaps you’ve got a different list. If so, do let us know.