The dastardly doppelgänger trope is not a new one – who could forget Garthe Knight and KARR? – but Terminator Genisys does something interesting with it, putting an older good guy Arnie up against younger CGI bad guy Arnie in a cybernetic smackdown for the ages. On top of this robotic newcomer, we’ve unearthed nine other mano a mano match-ups, with the last being a spoiler for a 2013 sci-fi you may not have seen. You have been warned, potential 2013 sci-fi fans...
Film: Terminator Genisys (2015)
Good guy: T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Bad guy: T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Arnie has played two characters in a film before – Jack Slater and himself in Last Action Hero (1993) – but this one is a little different, as the young Arnie is actually a “synthespian” based on the movements of 27-year-old Australian bodybuilder Brett Azar. Of course, Azar is just a skeleton for the special effects experts to build on, and after a few labour-intensive months a photoreal 1984 Terminator is fighting a “Pops” version 2015 Terminator. How the fight actually ends remains to be seen in cinemas, but know this: The Terminator wins.
Film: Army Of Darkness (1992)
Good guy: Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell)
Bad guy: Evil Ash (Bruce Campbell)
Ash Williams cannot catch a break. It’s not enough that he loses his arm, that he’s beset on all sides by deadites, that he’s trapped in medieval times: he’s got to have an evil twin who wants to hit him over and over and over like a piñata with the biggest chin you could possibly imagine. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, as his evil twin originally came from a broken mirror that spat out dozens of tiny evil Ashes, all with squeaky voices and a Looney Toons-like desire to trip, stab and burn Mr. Williams as much as possible. Still, it all works out in the end, eh?
Film: Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
Good guy: Kermit
Bad guy: Constantine
An odd one, this – odd even for a musical comedy caper film starring The Muppets. Please bear with us.
As “the world’s most dangerous frog”, Constantine is a career criminal who loves insulting people in his thick Russian accent and, well, stealing things. What’s more, if you ignore the mole on his upper lip, he’s also the spitting image of Kermit T. Frog. After assuming the identity of the fun-loving fuzzy greenster to break into banks next door to The Muppets’ European tour venues, he eventually marries Miss Piggy at the tower of London and attempts to blow everyone up with an explosive wedding ring.
Fortunately, Beaker saves the day with a bomb-magnet body suit and the rest of the gang form a “Muppet ladder” to stop Constantine getting away in a helicopter. Saving Kermy from actually laying the smackdown on his froggelganger, Miss Piggy does it for him, right there in the helicopter, with the K-Frog only squeezing in a cheeky slap during proceedings. Like we said, it’s odd.
Film: Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
Good guys: Bill & Ted (Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves)
Bad guys: Evil Bill and Evil Ted (Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves)
Another odd one, this – then again, when it comes to evil twins, perhaps the bar for “not odd” needs to be lowered.
When Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland) sends lifelike robot bastards Evil Bill and Evil Ted back in time to stop Good Bill and Good Ted from winning the San Dimas Battle of the Bands (thereby preventing the world from becoming a totally awesome rock-based utopia), Good Bill and Good Ted are initially a little suspicious but are soon duped by the sneaky cybernetic organisms.
Some plot later – hello Death ! – and Good Bill and Good Ted come up with a cunning plan to beat the their robo-doppelgängers: build kick-ass robot versions of themselves that are good (but not as lifelike). Some smashing through a wall and some uppercut-caused decapitation later and Evil Bill and Evil Ted are distinctly headless and the babes are saved. Excellent! (Air guitar)
Film: The One (2001)
Good guy: Gabe Law (Jet Li)
Bad guy: Gabriel Yulaw (Jet Li)
Jet Li fighting Jet Li would be exciting enough, but The One ups the ante by making them superpowered Jet Lis, capable of leaping extraordinary distances and kicking extraordinary amounts of backside. This is because of a quirk in interdimensional travel: if you’ve killed all – or, in this case, all but one – of the different versions of yourself across the alternate dimensions, you become Neo from The Matrix (super speed, slow-motion punches, dark clothing). Fortunately, none of this really matters, because Jet Li is fighting Jet Li, and everyone’s too busy clapping to care how it all happened.
Film: Replicant (2001)
Good guy: The Replicant (Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Bad guy: Edward "The Torch" Garrotte (Jean-Claude Van Damme)
The fourth time JCVD performed two roles in the same film, and the second time he’d done so in 2001, The Replicant is by no means an action classic, but it does offer up the finest example of a cinematic “mirror match” on this list. With the clone title character created in a lab to defeat his badder-than-bad bad guy original – this bastard is a serial killer who sets single mothers on fire – it’s buzzcut man-child JCVD vs long-haired lunatic JCVD. The thing is, due to “genetic memory” – which is totally a thing, 100 per cent for sure – they both fight in the same way, only their moves are mirrored for some reason. Cue punches meeting punches, legs bumping legs and, incomprehensibly, a fight on a wheeled flight of stairs.
Film: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
Good guy: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera)
Bad guy: Nega Scott (Michael Cera)
The voice of the now vanquished bigger bad Gideon Gordon Graves (Jason Schwartzman) echoes around the room: “You can defeat me Scott... but can you defeat yourself?” A new challenger enters: it's the red-eyed, ghost-zombie-anti-Scott self, a being that goes by the name of “NEGA SCOTT” and looks like he’s ready to crush regular Scott into dust. But he doesn’t, because Edgar Wright lives to subvert tropes and get special mentions on lists like this one, so instead of knocking seven bells out of each other, the two Scotts have a conversation about French toast and decide to meet up for brunch next week because “they have so much in common”. KO.
Film: Superman III (1983)
Good guy: Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve)
Bad guy: Corrupted Superman (Christopher Reeve)
If you ever wondered what happens to Superman when he’s exposed to flawed synthetic kryptonite, Superman III has the answer: Clark Kent / Superman has an awe-inspiring inner conflict, writ large on a junk yard that just so happens to boast an exposed vat of acid and an easy-to-use car compactor. The besuited and bespectacled Clark Kent initially stays passive as the blotto bad guy inside grunts and throws things around, with CK eventually getting pushed about and knocked down until the Kansas farmboy won’t stand for it no more. The resulting scrap – pun intended – is easily the best bit in the otherwise eye-gougingly bad superflick.
See also: Nuclear Man in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, who is basically Superman, but from Lidl.
Film: Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
Good guy: Godzilla
Bad guy: Mechagodzilla
Mechagodzilla is known for his shiny metal hide, as well as his rainbow laser breath attack and those nifty robot boots that allow him to fly. But what is often forgotten is that in the original film – where he is created by an alien race called “The Simians” and not built by man, as is the case in the sequels – he first crops up with a fake green skin on, allowing his evil rampages to appear as if they were committed by the then more human-friendly G unit. Still, come the final fight, he sheds his scales in a flurry of light and sparks, revealing his true form: an evil robot version of the King Of Monsters. We’ll never know whether he’s the most dangerous robot of all time until he battles Talkie Toaster, of course.
Film: Oblivion (2013)
Good guy: Jack Harper-49 (Tom Cruise)
Bad guy: Jack Harper-52 (Tom Cruise)
Satisfying a particularly loud corner of the internet that wanted to see Tom Cruise beat up Tom Cruise – or just wanted to see someone beat up Tom Cruise, and hey, why not Tom Cruise? He’ll do anything – this clone-on-clone catfight features Xenia Onatopp leg chokes and flip-you-over-your-back judo japes.
To give any further detail into how this happens, why this happens, and what happens as a result would be putting spoiler lighter fluid onto the already blazing spoiler fire, but know this: Morgan Freeman wears spooky black welding goggles.