In the movie John Wick (2014), the final fight scene pits the eponymous hero against crime boss Viggo Tarasov. As it seems Viggo is about to get the upper hand and stab John Wick, Wick uses Viggo's leverage against him by pulling the knife into himself and finishing Viggo with a fatal strike.

In perhaps a lesser popular but earlier movie, Safe House (2012), one of the final fight scenes pits (again) the hero against another safe house housekeeper (unnamed). As they struggle on the floor of the remote safe house, the unnamed housekeeper reaches for a large glass shard from a window. He has leverage on the hero (Matt Weston), and is about to stab Weston with the shard when Weston pulls him in to change leverage and eventually kill his foe.

When I saw Safe House (I had seen it after John Wick), I assumed this was unadulterated plagiarism from the successful movie, but it seems it might be the reverse.

Somebody must have done this type of move first, where [the bad guy] is about to kill [our hero], and the hero inflicts harm upon himself to change the leverage, enough to win the struggle.

Does anyone know what the first occurrence of this is?

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    Related -- tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroicSecondWind
    – Charles
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 12:12
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    There’s a scene in some other movie where a character is stabbed with a sword and then pushes themselves farther onto to blade to get close enough to kill the sword wielder. So it’s definitely been a thing. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 16:05
  • @ToddWilcox ah, good memory. Rob Roy I believe. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


This trope can certainly be traced back to 1981, and John Boorman's Excalibur.

The final scene where King Arthur lets Mordred stab him with a spear, and then pulls himself along the shaft to get close enough to kill Mordred with his sword.

You can find a poor-quality version of the scene here. Of course, this scene differs slightly in that

Although King Arthur does indeed defeat the villain, he still dies from his wound.

I'm sure this is not the first instance but I can't think of any earlier offhand, and at least it gets the ball rolling, so to speak.

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