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The Best One-Punch Knockout of 1996: Will Smith Crushes an Alien In Independence Day

August 26, 2016

Decades of cinema have taught us that fighting aliens is terrible. They are big slippery things that ooze acid and have weird exoskeletons that prevent cranial damage. Whether it be Alien, Aliens, Predator, Mars Attacks, Cloverfield, Battleship, Cowboys and Aliens or District 9 we’ve learned that aliens don’t go down easily. Movie characters need robots, water, Harrison Ford or lots and lots of mud to defeat the extraterrestrial menaces.

Arnold Predator mud

Mud Arnold > Predator.

The 1996 film Independence Day taught the world a very important lesson. If you are Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), you can knock out aliens with one-punch. Here is how it went down:

  1. Hiller shoots down an alien ship.
  2. Hiller walks up to the alien ship.
  3. Hiller knocks out an alien with one-punch.
  4. Hiller picks up the heavy alien and drags it across the desert.


What I love about this scene is that it plays against expectations. You’d expect the alien to jump out and murder the unsuspecting Smith. However, the alien pops out without a plan and gets chin-checked for its troubles. Smith’s punch is 100% legit and it actually finds the blind spot of the alien. I’d wager that the alien was way too confident and never thought the angry pilot would hit so hard.

Will Smith’s punch is incredible considering these aliens are actually big suckers who enjoy murdering wimpy doctors. Later on in the film the same alien tricks some unsuspecting doctors and delivers a very squishy death to the wimpy folks. The doctors had no chance and the scene plays with familiar alien attack conventions. Here is the clip.


The alien attack on the doctors makes the one-punch KO all the more impressive. Hiller delivered a perfect punch to the cocky alien and then ended up wiping them out with Jeff Goldblum.  That is why Will Smith wins the award for the best punch of 1996.

Independence Day Jeff Goldblum Will Smith Walking


One Comment leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    August 26, 2016 2:37 pm

    A few of my other favorite one-punch KOs include…

    Friday the 13th part VIII (1989) – Jason boxes the boxer.
    Groundhog Day (1993) – Ned Ryerson!
    Friday (1995) – Deebo, “You got knocked the f#$% out!”
    Wedding crashers (2005) – Vaughn wallops Bradley Cooper at the altar.
    The Wicker Man (2006) – The bear suit punch!
    Superbad (2007) – McLovin’ and the hold-up.

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