Tag Archives: stunt choreography

Hehe man, i bet a person with your knowledge of fighting must suffer terribly whenever watching any movie with a fight scene

Honestly,
that’s more of an exception than the rule. Most of the time, when a stunt choreographer
is putting together a fight scene, they’re working to create something visually
engaging that meshes with the tone of the film as a whole. Usually, the only
time a fight scene becomes irritating is when the stuntwork doesn’t fit with
what the film is trying to do, or when the performers are trying to kludge something
in a way that really doesn’t work (on screen).

On
screen fights don’t have to follow reality at all. That’s not (usually) a
problem. If the intended tone is spectacle, then flashy and flamboyant fight
scenes can be remarkably enjoyable. There are also a lot of very good martial artists who’ve gone
onto film. If you’re looking at something like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan,
or even Jean Claude Van Damme, you’re seeing some very talented martial
artists, who’ve put a lot of time developing their martial arts into a visually
compelling performance.

The
irony in all of this is, some actors who are, kinda, mediocre as actors are
exceedingly good martial artists, meaning when you watch their films with an
untrained eye, you’re seeing a very different (probably less appealing) film
from someone who’s actually gone through some training, and can really
recognize what they’re seeing. Van Damme is a pretty good example of this. To
put it gently, he’s not a fantastic actor. He is, however, an amazing martial
artist with a real talent for presentation.

In very
general terms, when you’re talking about martial artists on film, the ability
to deliver an entertaining performance is what’s most important. It’s what
separates the martial artists you know by name from the thousands of equally
skilled practitioners you’ve never heard of.

Now, experience
and knowledge does change the kinds of things you value in films. Personally, I
find characters that plan ahead, and start setting up contingencies ahead of
time, far more interesting than ones that simply stumble in and hope things go
for the best.

If you’re
thinking that knowing what you’re looking at ruins films forever, that’s simply
not the case. It just means you’re more likely to recognize a film where the
choreographer and stunt crew weren’t on the same page as the cinematography and
direction.

It’s
probably worth remembering, with films, there are a lot of people working
together to make the action sequences (not just the fight scenes) work. That is
their area of expertise, and unless they’re asleep at the switch, they’ll do
their best to sell the script. Stunt performers are a major, unsung, hero in
modern films.

-Starke

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