In “Deadliest Warrior:” Sun Tzu vs Vlad the Impaler, the show matched up one of history’s master strategists against one of history’s most vicious mass murderers, separated by 2500 years of history.
Spoilers may follow.
The choice of Sun Tzu is an interesting one. Sun Tzu literally wrote the book – “The Art of War” – on strategy, still used in the War on Terror today. One of Sun Tzu’s great maxims is that it is best to achieve victory by not fighting, i.e. to maneuver your enemy into defeating itself.
While it would have been interesting to see a combat in which Sun Tzu tricks Vlad the Impaler into falling off a cliff, drowning in a river, or tripping and falling and breaking his neck, that doesn’t serve the purpose of “Deadliest Warrior” very well, a show which is all about the blood, gore, and the shedding of the same in great abundance in various creative ways.
This episode of “Deadliest Warrior” got downright gratuitous, with a demonstration of impalement on a ballistic gel dummy. The sharp wooden stake was not a weapon of combat, of course, but Vlad the Impaler used it effectively as a weapon of terror. There is nothing like a forest of your buddies writhing in agony impaled on sharp wooden stakes to cool your adore for combat.
The one salient point that this episode of “Deadliest Warrior” made was that Vlad the Impaler outclassed Sun Tzu technologically. Vlad had better armor and better weapons, including that wicked curved sword that could chop up a pig carcass in one blow. The only superior weapon Sun Tzu had was a machine gun cross bow, something that would have been useful in any pre-gunpowder action. (Vlad, by the way, had a hand cannon, which I think was depicted as being more accurate and easy to use than it really was.)
In any event, the combat showed an interesting contrast in styles. While Vlad the Impaler relentlessly and remorselessly pressed forward, with a sneer of joy on his face, Sun Tzu followed the maxims of his book by using guile, hiding and suddenly striking from unexpected directions.
But, in the end, ruthlessness and technology won out over cunning. Vlad’s super sword was just too much for Sun Tzu, master of strategy though he was. Then, Vlad the Impaler lived up to his name by erecting Sun Tzu up on one of his infamous stakes, cackling with glee as he did. Vlad may have been the deadliest warrior, but also the sickest, most twisted semblance of a human ever to be on the show.
Blood on the Sand: Deadliest Warrior: Sun Tzu vs. Vlad the Impaler, Spike TV