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Training From Hell / Live-Action Films
aka: Film

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  • Star Wars:
    • Yoda forces Luke to perform inhuman feats of strength, dexterity and stamina as part of his Jedi training. (The novelization/written version of the stories mentions he had to do a thumbstand, i.e. a handstand on one thumb.) The implication, however, is that Luke is being forced to rely on the Force — Yoda is making him perform superhuman feats that, as a human, he is not capable of performing — but as a Jedi, with the Force flowing through him, he is.
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    • It should be noted, however, the Luke is essentially getting the crash-course-through-hell version of Jedi training, as Yoda has to skip past most of the ceremony, lessons and traditions that most of the Jedi Order had to undertake- everything Luke has to do in training is painful, intensive, and emotionally taxing; essentially a condensed version of what a Jedi had to put up with, all in the course of a few weeks. Then again, who better than the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, to undertake the training of a second Skywalker? It's possible they might have done an incredible job in the end, had Luke not left abruptly to save his friends, leading to the revelation of Vader's identity as his father.
    • Sith lords usually got Training from Hell, in order to make them desperate and angry enough to turn to The Dark Side. Several ended their training by killing their masters. After Bane sets up the Rule of Two, the only way for a Sith to graduate is to kill their master.
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  • Soldier: All of first-generation soldiers were picked as infants and then put into regular military training, probably since they were able to comprehend orders. There is a flash-back later on, where 8 years old Todd pulls No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on one member of his future squad, and just after this, he sit back to his exam, calmly continuing it. It's the age of those kids what made the Training Montage at the beginning so disturbing.
  • The hero of the So Bad, It's Good B-Movie The King of the Kickboxers underwent some of this to prepare for his battle against the unstoppable Scary Black Man Khan. Besides working out with an impressive array of Bamboo Technology gym equipment, and being tied up, seemingly accomplishing nothing the highlight was the set up designed specifically to prepare him against Khan's lethal Finishing Move which consisted of swinging logs meant to be blocked by various body parts, including his wrists. As in, "catching a log between your wrists."
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  • The main character in Wanted goes through all kinds of physical abuse as he is trained by the Fraternity to be a sort of super-assassin, including being kicked, punched (similar to the comic example, but only until he finds a reason to why he's there), sliced open by various sharp objects, and smashed into a wall from the top of a moving train. Owie.
  • 36 Chambers of Shaolin has the protagonist subjected to such training alongside other trainees at the temple, including carrying heavy buckets of water with hands held straight to the side (with blades preventing trainees from lowering their arms) and having to ring a bell with a heavy, long-handled hammer. With one arm, as long as one's wrists can take it.
  • This describes poor Officer Jake Hoyt's Training Day to a t. Forced to smoke weed at gunpoint, beat up by two homeless guys, shot at by gang-bangers in Crenshaw... And it's all part of Harris' scheme to frame Hoyt for corruption so that Harris can steal the drug money he needs to pay off the Russian mob.
  • Jackie Chan's training scene in the Drunken Master films, where he has to do such things as sit-ups while hanging upside down to scoop up water in tiny teacups to fill a bucket at the top of his feet, and doing a 90-degree sitting stance for hours as punishment from his dad. He often tries to trick or cheat his way out of these, but is usually caught (filling the bucket from the well just graduates him to emptying it with the same motions as before, putting a bench behind his legs gets it kicked out from under him). Based on Jackie's real life training to be part of an acrobatic troupe.
  • Describes how Big Daddy trained Hit Girl (as in, his daughter) in Kick-Ass; in one scene she tests her bullet-proof vest against live ammo. For whatever it's worth, he admits to using low-velocity rounds when she says that getting shot by actual criminals was more painful.
  • The Bride from Kill Bill undergoes a hellish training regimen under the cruel master Pai Mei. Highlights of the training included carrying heavy buckets of water up and down the very long staircase to his temple, and learning to punch through blocks of wood with three-inch punches (which would help her escape her own casket years later).
  • Patches O'Houlihan in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story trains the 'Average Joe's' dodgeball team by tossing wrenches at them, making them run through traffic, and even having a contraption which continuously shoots dodgeballs toward them at high speed.
    Patches: If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball!
  • A similar process is alluded to in Fight Club. This prepares them quite nicely for "Project Mayhem". The induction for Project Mayhem is standing on the porch for three days while the leaders occasionally come out to insult you and tell you that don't make the grade and should leave.
    Narrator: A guy who came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.
  • Ninja Assassin contains quite some examples. Orphans, including the protagonist, are trained in martial arts and stealth skills and are brutally maimed, punished or killed for breaking the rules or failing. On one occasion, the protagonist has to walk on a wooden floor in front of his master without making any sound; when he does, his master beats the soles of his feet with a whip, so the protagonist has to do his training while bleeding from the wounds. On another occasion, his love interest refuses to cut a student whom she defeated in combat, and is subsequently scarred with a knife and locked in a wooden cage. However, the arguably most gruesome part of the training is when the protagonist is wounded in a sparring fight, and his master uses some kind of Dangerous Forbidden Technique on him, which leaves him screaming on the floor; the master then tells him that his next challenge is to survive for a night. Oh, and students that try to escape are captured and executed. What separates this example from many others is the fact that, in the end, the master gets killed for being a twisted child-abusing son of a bitch, whereas, in many examples, the protagonist actually thanks the guy for beating him and turning him into an antisocial killing machine.
  • Apocalypse Now. Willard is shocked to read that Kurtz underwent US Airborne training at the age of 38. Willard went through the same training at 19 and it almost killed him.
  • Par for the course for the German team, and self-inflicted for the American team in Broken Lizard's Beerfest. How intense could it be? Among other things, they drink ram's piss.
    Great Gam-Gam: If you can drink ram's piss... fuck you can drink anything!
  • In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is interned in a Bhutanese prison where he beats up the other prisoners, often by taking on large numbers simultaneously. This is after he's been travelling and learning several martial forms on his own for years, so he largely just sees these engagements as "practice." When Henri Ducard asks him to join the League of Shadows, his first task is finding a rare flower at the lower steps of their mountain fortress and carrying it to the top. Then he has to fight Ducard hand-to-hand, exhausted and barely able to stand. It only gets harder from there, but Ducard admits that it's more about mental training than physical.
  • Bloodsport — Dux suffers a few insane training moments including having his legs stretched out in the air while hanging on rope from the limbs.
  • The Coast Guard rescue swimmer school in The Guardian.
  • G.I. Jane depicts the training regime of sailors who want to become part of a Navy SEAL-like unit. The movie goes so far as to show how one of them is tortured during SERE training by applying pressure on his broken leg as well as physically assaulting Jordan, busting up her lips, and threatening to rape her in front of her comrades.
  • Full Metal Jacket has such intense training (coupled with hazing) that one recruit suffers a serious mental breakdown. It doesn't help that the drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the original Drill Sergeant Nasty, was horribly abusive.
  • Naked Weapon has Madame M kidnap 40 teenage girls and force them to be trained by mercenaries on a remote island to be assassins. Any attempts to escape are punished by death. Six years later, several deadly tests imposed by M involve facing off against those same mercenaries in deadly combat, being forced to kill half their number, and the survivors being put in a cage with only one to come out alive. Not a very effective means of training assassins, but M ends up changing her mind and spares 3 of them. Oh, and during graduation, M has them drugged and brutally raped by the mercenaries to show the girls that their bodies are not their own and that they should have no qualms about using sex as a weapon.
  • In The Karate Kid, The Cobra Kai go through it to showcase their merciless attitude. Daniel undergoes Wax On, Wax Off training instead and winds up winning with it.
  • My Fair Lady: Although not as extreme as some examples, Eliza Doolittle goes through some pretty hellish training at the hands of Professor Higgins, being forced to recite her vowels for hours without food or rest. In addition, she is often on the receiving end of Higgins's rudeness.
  • Exaggerated in Edge of Tomorrow. Day after day, Rita gives Cage an unforgiving and literally murderous training routine, which typically ends with Cage killed either by the training robots or by Rita herself. But also justified, because she's exploiting his powers to give him months of training in a single day.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi: The training for Jiro's apprentices at his sushi restaurant. They start by squeezing the hot towels presented to the guests. The water is scalding and burns their hands—but if the apprentice can't hand-squeeze the towels, he won't be able to hack the next ten years of training. Some just leave after the first day, the process is so daunting.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, as stated by Merlin, the recruits are about to embark in the most dangerous job interview in the world, which includes tests such as surviving in a flooding room or making a HALO jump without a parachute. Averted as there's always a safety measure in place and even when the training seems to have claimed a life, it later turns out the recruit was an undercover agent.
  • Shiri. The Training Montage for the North Korean assassins includes:
    • The cadets are made to bayonet a field full of civilians who are tied to stakes. One man shows remorse afterwards and is killed on the spot.
    • Cadets are paired up and each given a disassembled pistol. The first one to correctly assemble it must shoot their partner.
    • A cadet walks past her classmates who are assembled in ranks, firing a pistol past their heads to hit targets in the back row.
    • The cadets must kill a roomful of prisoners with their bare hands (these prisoners are untied so the fight is more equal) then present their severed heads to their instructor.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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