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Fight Choreography in Film – Style with Substance

Fight Choreography in Film – Style with Substance

fight with substance

Films are one of the biggest pieces of media the world has seen, and for good reason; it adapts timeless tales. It captures both our eyes and ears and has us in a trance, wanting to know what’s next. There are many elements in a screenplay that are meant to convey an emotion or move the plot along. One of those is Physical Conflict – The Fight Scene.

Karate kid training
Photo | Oreganian

What are we fighting for?

Many stories center on a conflict that the protagonist or main characters must resolve. While some of these conflicts are internal and personal, others are about protecting loved ones or rescuing people from doom. These objectives must be accomplished by fighting any characters who stand in the way of them.

Photo | Techbeacon

Why the fight matters

Most fight scenes in film come at the most climactic parts of the story, the resolution of the conflict. As such, it is most often given the most screen time and attention. A fight scene will convey a character’s skill or philosophy, without having to use words. But bad fight choreography can affect a person’s suspension of disbelief and detract from what would’ve been an amazing experience.

You call that a punch?

fighting
Photo | Indiatelegu

A lot of things in a fight scene can make it frustratingly hard to watch. Quick cuts, the rapid transition from one shot to another, is often used to hide bad choreography. This can leave the viewer feeling confused too.

Whiffing is an instance where an attack can be clearly seen to miss, but the recipient still reacts, making the scene look silly. Related to that is telegraphing, the over-exaggeration of movement so as to make the action clear to the viewer. It makes it even more embarrassing when the attack whiffs or misses.

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Good Choreography and Cinematography don’t need to fight

fighting stance

It’s not always necessary to have a clear shot of the actor’s face if he runs the risk of being attacked by a sword or struck by a bullet. When conveying a sense of logic, the characters are intelligent enough to know how to avoid being killed. Some scenes can take positions that sacrifice aesthetic appeal. A single well-shot fluid fight scene will let viewers appreciate just how much time the actors and director put into making the choreography both presentable and believable.

The use of realistic hand-to-hand combat maneuvers, sword fighting stances, and firearms discipline is commendable. It enhances the experience and demonstrates that the film went above and beyond the standard narrative conventions. Regardless of how straightforward the plot may be.

john wick action movie
Photo | dlh.net

And in this way, some decades-old misconceptions about how fights are done may be corrected and can change public perception. As well as garner appreciation for the technical side of fighting.

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