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Free-Fall Fight

"I didn't really think this through, but it looked dramatic, didn't it?!"

Typically, the fight starts on solid ground at the top of a building or some other high point. The fight closes in on its climax and the combatants are too engaged in the fighting to really notice they're now falling toward a pavement-splattering end. On the other hand, both of them are usually too powerful to really be harmed by any impact, or they can avoid it by usage of a super power.

A free-falling fight illustrates a strong conflict between the protagonist and antagonist, where the death of the other is more important than the death of oneself.

Seen often in video game Boss Battle scenarios. Compare/contrast High-Altitude Battle.

If those falling are falling in love instead of being locked in combat, it's Free-Fall Romance.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Afro Samurai vs. Afro-Droid, part 2. Afro-Droid could fly, so the freefall portion was entirely its choice.
    • This fight is also carried over to the video game adaptation.
  • Black★Rock Shooter vs. Dead Master in the OAV.
  • Before it was typical for characters to know how to fly, this was common in fights in Dragon Ball. Case in point, the end of the the Tien Shinhan arc climaxes in one of these as Tien blows up the ring, forcing Goku and him to take to the air and try to knock the other toward the ground with whomever touching it losing via ring out. Goku winds up losing as while he manages to knock Tien further to the ground. He collides with a car and hits the ground first.
  • In Tower of God, Urek engages with Viole in a fight that's partially free fall, inside a giant monster that just turned on it's belly.
  • At one point in Blassreiter, flying Combining Military Mashup Machine has to separate as it was the only chance to win. Thing is, only one of three components was able to fly on its own, so they climbed as high as possible before dropping and tried to finish their respective targets before two of three are squashed.
  • The Franky vs. Fukuro fight in One Piece which resulted in the two fighting over a waterfall and trying to finish each other once they were above land. Franky wins.
  • Freesia vs. Jubei's Freefall Fight in the second season of Jubei-chan. This was also the season's Growing the Beard.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz scales things up: Heero and Wu Fei start off dueling in low Earth orbit, but during a Blade Lock they plunge through the atmosphere, stop fighting long enough to worry about re-entry, then start fighting again. While Wing Zero can fly, Altron/Nataku can't, which is why the fight falls under this trope and not High-Altitude Battle.
  • The Tower of Druaga has one of these. On a series of frozen pillars. In a tower a mile up. Did we mention only one of these characters can actually fly, and the one who actually wins it jumps with no ropes or other aid?
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds had Yusei and Ushio continuing to duel while falling down an elevator shaft.

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens towards the end of the fight between Shifu and Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gandalf fights the Balrog while falling into the chasms of Moria. In both this and the book, they hit a lake on the bottom, but they are both too powerful to be killed by the impact.
  • The A-Team film has the fight between the team's tank and two Reaper UCAVs. It is Awesome.
  • The Matrix
    • Happens in The Matrix Reloaded, when Trinity is thrown out of a window, and the agent jumps after her. They are both shooting at each other. This is one of the examples of where not only does she hit the ground, but it's a significant plot point.
    • In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo has a climactic battle against Agent Smith where both combatants fly and float in the air, at one point one slamming the other into the ground. This and some other acrobatic scenes were filmed on NASA's Vomit Comet zero-G training plane.
  • Shoot 'em Up has this one toward the end of the movie as its second-to-last major shoot-out.
  • Spider-Man 2 and 3 has lots of these.
  • In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Agent Fox (Rob Corddry) leaps out of an airplane without wearing a parachute just so he can shoot at the title heroes on the way down.
  • Happens between Johnny and Bohdi in Point Break.
  • In Crank, Chev Chelios and the baddie he's been chasing the whole movie have one. Chev wins the fight, and dies anyway. He gets better.
  • In TRON: Legacy, happens between Clu and Rinzler after the latter crashes their Lightjets together, to seize the remaining Lightjet rod.
  • The beginning of Moonraker. Although this fight was actually over a parachute.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry grabs Voldemort and they plunge off of the Astronomy Tower together. Being a wizard, Voldemort eventually does that black-smoke thingy to fly around the castle until they both crash into the ground, non-fatally.
  • In Blade II, Blade and Nomak fall off a gantry mid-fight and fall all the way to the floor, each still grappling and punching all the way down.
  • In Pacific Rim, Gipsy Danger and Slattern continue duking it out while they plummet into the rift, ending with Gipsy Danger killing Slattern by frying him with its Chest Blaster.

    Literature 
  • When in Wyvern's Spur the hero transformed into a big wyvern fights another guy in the dragon form, they ends up wrestling, and can't keep their altitude.
  • Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, grappling with each other as they plunge over the Reichenbach Falls (supposedly).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Battlestar Galactica episode "Razor", a young William Adama collides with a Cylon fighter in atmosphere, forcing both to eject. The Cylon, apparently upset by this turn of events, attempts to shoot Adama while falling to its death. Unfortunately for the Cylon, a handgun is a poor choice of weapons while moving at terminal velocity and it fails to hit Adama.
  • In GARO, the first battle between Saejima Kouga/GARO and Suzumura Rei/ZERO started out as an ordinary melee/sword fight and turn into this after they transformed into their armors while jumping to the top of two adjacent skyscrapers, in which after that, they proceed to fight while falling hundreds of feet between the skyscrapers. It's awesome.
    • And later in the TV-movie Beast of the White Night, we have a fight scene in a forest where gravity has been turned on its side, turning all the trees into hazardous vertical obstacles.

    Video Games — Action Games 
  • The PS1 game of Ghost in the Shell had its final battle as this. The final boss, on top of the tallest skyscraper in the city, proceeds to blow up like any other....before ramming THROUGH the explosion to shove both of you off the building, whereby you have to defeat him in 90 seconds while slowly turning in midair before you hit the bottom and die.
  • Also part of the fight against Erynnis' One-Winged Angel form in Ghost of Sparta.
  • In Metal Slug 3, the final boss fight. You end up falling through the atmosphere while battling the alien overmind. And use his dead body as a platform to protect yourself from the impact.
  • Get close enough to a dragon in PS3's Lair and you can enter a grappling match during freefall.
  • The penultimate boss battle of Kirby's Adventure and its remake is an Unexpected Shmup Level in freefall. The ground acts as an Advancing Wall of Doom, though it's hard to tell because the ground doesn't appear until the player takes too long.
    • The final boss battle in Kirbys Dreamland 2 is also a free fall battle, but instead of outright killing Kirby, he just takes damage until he's dead.
  • In the fourth level of Cybernator, you have to survive atmospheric reentry and freefall, chuteless, while fending of waves of assault suits until your rescue arrives.
  • The final level of Batman: Vengeance is this. Simply put, the Joker has jumped out of his airship with Batman in hot pursuit. Batsy has to contend with thrown Joker cards, exploding balloons, and hot lead from the Joker's tommy-gun. At the end, when he's thrown the last punch and grabbed the Joker in time, the Batwing appears and Batman grapples his way into the cockpit. This fight is timed. Bats would survive but not the Joker. The Have a Nice Death message reminds you, "Death is no substitute for justice."
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II has Starkiller battling the Gorog while falling.
  • The Final Boss of Mega Man Zero 4, is fought in a huge space-station the size of a small country that is barreling towards the planet at high speeds. The main villain is intent on slamming into the last vegetation on the planet to force the world into extinction, and the hero is focused on destroying him and breaking the satellite so it breaks apart and burns up harmlessly in reentry. Needless to say the hero wins, and everything on the satellite is destroyed. A Bittersweet Ending for the human race having just survived, but at the loss of its greatest hero.
  • The Final Boss of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Prince Ahmet, is fought while he and Ezio are falling from a very tall cliff. He is not that tough, but adjusting to the controls may cost you a few synch bars.
  • The final battle against Tiberius in Hard Corps: Uprising during his One-Winged Angel form.
  • In Sly Spy, the first stage begins with the protagonist shooting Mooks skydiving over Washington, D.C.
  • The Legend of Spyro Dawn of the Dragon has the second part of the Final Battle with Malefor take place as the entire stage the battle is taking place on plummets down a volcano to the core of the world. Probably justified by the fact that Malefor has to be stopped and Spyro and Cynder can't afford to risk him surviving. It's every bit as epic as it sounds. They stop when they reach the core and end the fight with a Beam-O-War that Spyro and Cynder win.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, the fight against a demon/Satan takes this approach, and you have to dodge Death Blocks while falling.

    Video Games — Beat Em Ups 
  • In Bonesaw The Game, the second stage of the final boss has you falling from orbit before landing in the Clarkson University hockey rink.
  • The Kratos versus Icarus battle in God of War II. The winner gets a pair of wings to make a safe landing with. The loser...
  • Bayonetta
    • Bayonetta versus Balder. The two fight on a chunk of a platform falling several hundred feet.
    • The very beginning of the game is a fight scene atop a ruined cathedral... as it plummets down a seemingly-endless cliff.
  • From the same director: The Wonderful 101's first proper boss encounter involves you jumping from from platform to platform in a free fall as Mecha-King Ghidorah tribute tries to kill you.
  • Asura's Wrath has Asura and Yasha in Episode 21 during their younger years fighting from a tower. Asura punches Yasha out of said tower with the former jumping and pursuing him. You then fight Yasha in a free fall style. It is awesome.
  • Featured in the trailer for the upcoming Deadpool video game. Deadpool and a mook happen to be falling from a skyscraper while the Merc punches him in the face. Clearly he's enjoying it as much as the fans.
    Deadpool: "Best. Ride. Ever!"

    Video Games — Fighting Games 
  • Power Stone 2 has a stage that starts on board an airship which gets destroyed, forcing the fighters to battle in freefall for control of Parasol Parachutes.
  • The end of Sanae Kochiya's storyline in Touhou Hisoutensoku has one of these, specifically Suwako's final attack. Also, the previous attack of the same fight is fought on a rising shockwave from an explosion.
  • This happens in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe if one damages the "walls" of the arena enough.
  • Wolverine's stage in Marvel Super Heroes is a bridge over a canyon in Alaska, with a waterfall in the background. At the start of Round 2, the ropes supporting it snap, and it falls into the gap, smashing to pieces at the end of the match. The winner stands on a rock for the Victory Pose; the loser is washed away.
  • Subverted in Super Smash Bros. Brawl: the Fire Emblem stage has a portion where the floor falls out from under you and everyone seems to be falling into the basement. However, the floor is still there, just invisible (characters walk on it like any other platform).
    • Similarly subverted on Final Destination, which starts in space, goes through re-entry, and ultimately looks like it's on a collision course for the ground, before it whites out and starts over. Interestingly enough, the white out happens at exactly 5 minutes, which is how long you have to beat the boss fight, implying that you did crash.

    Video Games — First-Person Shooter 
  • The first fight against Meta Ridley in Metroid Prime 3. Though in this case, both Samus and Ridley appear doomed when the floor gives out — Samus can't fly, and the tunnel is too small for Ridley to spread his wings. Ridley doing this may be a case of Taking You with Me, but defeating Ridley lets Rundas fly down and save Samus. Ridley himself, however, doesn't die, as usual. Interestingly, there is actually a 'bottom' and you must defeat Ridley before your altitude reaches zero (which isn't the ground in this case, but the planet's core).
  • One of the hardest levels in No One Lives Forever involves you jumping out of a plane just before it explodes and fighting H.A.R.M. mooks as you fall. They have parachutes, you don't. If you don't manage to steal a parachute from one of them before a predetermined time, you fall into a barn and die. Especially frustrating since there's only specific Mook who gets close enough to take his parachute, and if you (quite understandably) shoot him you're fucked.
  • At the end of the final mission in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, you have to shoot the game's Big Bad Arkady Kirilenko while in freefall so you can get your parachute from Sweetwater, who's trying to keep the parachute from Kirilenko.
  • A variation of it happens in Modern Warfare 3 in the level "Turbulence". The plane you are in itself goes into free fall, leading to you having a shootout with Mooks in zero gravity before the plane is stabilized. You even get an achievement for killing all of the Mooks.
  • The fight with the Heretic Leader in Halo 2 takes place while the gas mine is in freefall, although there's no time limit.

    Video Games — Light Gun Games 
  • In Silent Scope, one of the options when infiltrating the Final Dungeon is to parachute in, sniping the searchlights to avoid detection and enemy ambush. Silent Scope EX has sniping by hang glider as one of the paths to enter the enemy base.

    Video Games — Platformers 
  • Moltz the Very Goonie in Yoshi's Island DS.
  • One of the boss fights in Super Princess Peach is like this after taking out half of the boss's health.
  • The second fight against the robotic chicken boss in Level 5 of Earthworm Jim is essentially this. Major Mucus would also count if he and Jim weren't attached to bungee cords during their fight.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • In Sonic Unleashed, you fight the Egg Dragoon while standing on a standard platform, but that platform (along with everything else) is in freefall towards the earth's core. On occasion, Eggman destroys the platform you're on, turning it into an actual freefall fight until Sonic lands on another one.
    • Sonic Adventure 2's final boss combines this with Colony Drop. The final battle is in space, fighting a lizard attached to the Space Colony Ark as it's falling to Earth; if you take more than 5 minutes to beat the fight, you lose... Although you'd deliberately have to drag out the entire fight in order to lose that way. Far more likely is that you'll lose from the OTHER time limit that is your rings, which your Super Mode needed for flight runs on.
    • Sonic Generations features another fight against the Egg Dragoon. The fight is half chasing it along a track, and half aiming for its core and dodging missiles as you freefall.
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu culminates with Jackie fighting a Giant Spider while falling on a Solid Cloud.
  • Stage 9-5 of Jumper Two features Ogmo and The Boss falling from top of the tower, in a tennis fight.
  • One of the Troia Base simulations in Mega Man X8 has you fight a robot in freefall.
  • In Castlevania Lordsof Shadow Mirrorof Fate has Trevor eventually do this when he fights Dracula. He loses...
  • A couple of phases of the final boss battle is done this way in Freedom Fall

    Video Games — Real-Time Strategy 

    Video Games — Role-Playing Games 
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy VI, you have to do this while falling down a waterfall. Amazingly enough, you will continue falling for as long as the fight takes, and instantly hit the bottom when you beat the last enemy.
    • Final Fantasy VI also does something similar with the fight against the Air Force.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers, the opening cutscene sets it up, and then the very first time you are put in control, its like this. Though it's just Layle against some Mooks.
  • The one-on-one fight between Sten and Trubo in Breath of Fire II starts on a bridge, but midway through the battle the bridge collapses, sending the two plummeting towards the ground. The battle needs to be finished before three turns are up; otherwise, they hit the ground.
  • Mage players in World of Warcraft have been known to jump off tall towers or flying mounts and duel each other while slowfalling. This is very fun, and known as mage dueling.
  • The intro to Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories features Adell engaging in one of these with a bunch of random people.
  • Second Boss in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Battle with winged Giant Enemy Crab-like thing takes place on falling platform.
  • The final boss fight in the original Wild ARMs could be seen as a mixture of this and Final Boss, New Dimension. The fight takes place as you travel from a space colony to the planet surface after thwarting Ziekfried and Mother's plan. Mostly Mother's. Zeik interrupts you as you are teleported down, and you fight essentially in free fall in a strange teleportation dimension.

    Video Games — Third-Person Shooter 
  • Saints Row: The Third
    • The game starts out with one which includes falling back into and through the plane you just jumped out of.
    • Another level has you jumping from one plane to another, then when it blows up you free fall in a tank. At the end, that tank blows up and you free fall to hijack another one.
  • WET has a level dedicated to this trope. In short, a gunfight destroys the plane everyone is standing in, nobody has a parachute, and they all decide to keep shooting at each other on the way down for lack of anything better to do.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron has the first boss fight against Trypticon in freefall towards the planet Cybertron. It's as awesome as it sounds.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has one against the final boss starting in low orbit.
  • In the James Bond game Everything or Nothing, the Bond Girl is thrown off a cliff, so naturally Bond jumps off after her, and then has to dodge outcrops from the cliff manned by rocket-launcher equipped mooks Bond has to shoot on the way down.

    Web Animation 
  • Dead Fantasy II. A good quarter of the battle involves an insane Freefall Fight down the side of a building.
  • Red vs. Blue season 9 episode 15 brings us the scene (appropriately, with Falling Towards the Sky in the background), where Tex, Wash, Carolina, and York battle the flying mooks and Hornets to get the Package into 479er's Pelican. Wash shoots one of the Hornet pilots out while standing on the falling package.
  • Manly Brawl on a Big Tree ends with one of these.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Budgies sometimes do this, at least cocks. (Hens usually try to bite each other's toes off instead.)
  • Done during judo and sambo matches between astronauts on the International Space Station.


I'M STILL FALLIN'!


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