This marks the final installation in our ten part series detailing the use of Eskrima in famous films. The list of the top ten Eskrima fight scenes is featured here: insights.looloo.com. This article focuses on the final clip, the gold medal winner… coming in at number one is a vicious forest fight sequence between The Hunted’s main characters, L.T. Bonham and Aaron Hallam. Bonham is the older gentleman and Hallam’s former combat instructor as their dialogue alludes. After murdering a pair of hunters because of their “unfair” tactics using high powered rifles and scopes, the A-WOL Hallam is tracked and confronted by his one-time mentor L.T.
Bonham wastes little time in engaging the deranged Hallam, instigating several swift exchanges and landing a crushing blow to Hallam’s spine. Seeking an advantage or a means of escape, Hallam draws his long hunting blade and plunges forward with a sequence of Eskrima knife techniques.
L.T. Bonham evades the assault initially by retreating, until he finds the space to seize a stout tree branch and deliver several blows to Hallam’s body and head. As Hallam regains his feet and attacks anew both men become temporarily disarmed. Although it is clear both have studied Eskrima for self defense, they appear to have different goals. L.T. wishes to bring Hallam in alive, not kill him, and while Hallam is a deranged murderer he respects his former mentor and passes up several opportunities for a swift kill. This provides an interesting eskrima fight scene in which disarming and debilitating techniques such as hand strikes and takedowns replace the vicious face smashing, strangling styles seen in earlier examples.
Top Eskrima Fight # 1: The Hunted
Although he does not necessarily wish to kill his opponent, L.T. is forced to implement many principles of Eskrima. He is older, slower and weaker than Hallam, and must rely entirely on experience and timing to achieve victory. This is exemplified when the knife falls an equal distance between the two men. Rather than attempting to gain possession of the blade Bonham waits for Halalm to claim the knife, and then attacks the man directly. Unfortunately the technique backfires and Bonham ends up trapped beneath Hallam’s weight and the knife point. L.T. uses his superior technique to execute a sweep and in desperation drives his knee into the grounded Hallam’s ribs several times. Although not a clean or beautiful looking attack, the knees to the ribs capture the spirit of Kali as Bonham uses everything at his disposal to pursue victory.
Despite Bonham’s efforts Hallam fights out and again gains the advantage, grappling with Bonham to make the most of his superior strength and endurance. In the end only a tranquilizer dart fired by some of Bonham’s allies saves him, but this emphasizes another element of Kali: it is better to fight with numbers on your side.