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Dancing With Death

Tuesday 15 May 2012, 18:37

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

There's a fantastic new action movie out this week called The Raid.

The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed - what for you are the best examples in cinema?

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    Comment number 1.

    I would say the Warriors has the best chorographed fight sequences,. As the violence in those sequences could just turn into michael bay crunch, pown, slug sequences. However Walter Hill reigns himself in as nwhen they are fighting the other gang you get to focus on the characters you have come to love and care about. Escpecially in nthe sequence when they fight nthe baseball team

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    Comment number 2.

    I watched this scene again on Youtube to make sure it fit your criterion, and boy howdy, it sure does. I am referring to the hallway fight scene in Chan-wook Park's "OldBoy". The whole film was wonderful, but what makes this scene so brilliant and unique is that instead of a frenetic sequence filled with shakey cameras and techno music, it is slow, violent dance number, with sad music that fits the tragic tone of the story. Our hero becomes wounded in the fight too which is not something you see often in action scenes like this, and yet he defeats tens of thugs in a tight hallway. The sequence is designed to be done slowly so you can follow who is hitting who and where they are coming from, making it part of his journey rather than a gratuitous bloodfest.

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    Comment number 3.

    The one-shot marvel in the middle of Warrior King. Tony Jaa takes on all comers in an uninterrupted glide through carnage. Like a Muay-Thai Russian Ark.

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    Comment number 4.

    Most definitely has to be the hallway fight scene from Oldboy. The fact that it is one-take and lacks CGI really shows how beautifully choreographed this scene is. The music fits perfectly as Oh Dae-su struggles to fight his way through the crowd, and when encountering the last few of the gang you can sense their fear to fight him, and feel Dae-su has overcome a struggle. This scene all beautifully crafted with a nod to old beat 'em up arcade games.

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    Comment number 5.

    I will second any mention of the corridor fight in Oldboy. But I'd always put Jackie Chan at the top of the list when it comes to beautifully choreographed fighting. The man moves like fluid through his scenes, incorporating both the layout of the locations and props seamlessly as he does.

    My personal favourites are the bicycle chase in Project A, which is basically an extended silent comedy style scene. The chair and ladders fight from First Strike, the sheer imagination involved is truly stunning and the final fight in Drunken Master 2/Legend of the Drunken Master, this one builds and builds, like any good song or dance does until he takes a huge drink and tips it over the edge, bringing it to a glorious crescendo, four months worth of shooting pays off in spades.

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    Comment number 6.

    "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Indiana Jones is running through the streets of Cairo. He's hot. He's tired. He's not in the mood for choreography. And he shoots the big man with the fancy swordplay.

    Next, please.

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    Comment number 7.

    Undoubtedly its the corridor fight with the clawhammer in Oldboy. Because we can see it all, with the camera pulled back, and no headache inducing shaky cam. Its beautiful to watch and means something, it isnt just violence for the sake of it.

    Several scenes from The Matrix also are a visual treat, and i wouldn't overlook some of the fighting sequences in Lord of the Rings. Helm's Deep has some great choreographed fighting and Aragorn's fighting scenes in the battle for Gondor at the end of Return of the King are magnificent.

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    Comment number 8.

    Hard Boiled - 3 minutes, 2 corridors and 1 impressive shootout all done in but a single take. Almost impossible to top.

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    Comment number 9.

    The "Singing in the Rain" of fight sequences has to be the chaple shoot out from John Woo's The Killer in which candles explode, bullets fly, white doves get spattered with blood in lyrical slow motion all as the liturgical music swells. Whilst violence may not be the answer, it certainly looks great.

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    Comment number 10.

    Grosse Pointe Blank. Starts as a fight does, posturing; ends like a fight does, messily on the floor. Very quickly. About as realistic as a fight between two trained guys would be. Love it.

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    Comment number 11.

    The fight sequence at the end of Jet Li’s Fist of Legend is the best fight sequence I’ve ever seen. It is impressive not only because of its length and complexity, but because Yuen Woo-ping was able to embody both characters in their fighting styles. Jet Li’s smooth, fluid fight style is contrasted against Billy Chow’s powerful, robotic movements.

    What’s best about the scene is Jet Li uses his opponent’s hubris to beat him in the end, rather than simply punching him to death. The scene is terrific.

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    Comment number 12.

    Though not technically a 'fight scene', the greatest piece of choreography in a film has to be the final chase sequence in the Wallace and Gromit film "The Wrong Trousers".

    The scene would have been impressive enough in a live action film, but to create such a tightly-choreographed and flawlessly paced sequence using clay animation must have taken several agonizing months to design and create.

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    Comment number 13.

    @Oklahoma Kid: I totally agree, a hillarious and brilliant take on fight scenes in movies.

    However one of my favourties would have to be the finale between Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and antagonist Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey) in the first Lethal Weapon film. The incorporation of such fighting methods as 'Jailhouse Rock' and 'Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu' against the wet mud drenched and rain pouring terrain of suburban L.A. was very unique and a masterstroke not only in screen fighting, but in cinematography and editing.

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    Comment number 14.

    The fight scene that springs to my mind, is not from any action movie. Instead I'd like to suggest the swordfight from The Princess Bride; it's fast, gymnastic and witty, with killer dialogue and a cracking punchline to boot. I'm not left-handed either, by the way...

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    Comment number 15.

    The Legend Of Drunken Master has two spectacular fight sequences with the incomparable Jackie Chan. The fight under and around the train near the beginning is impressive. Later when he (and an ally or two) take on practically an entire army, it just goes to ridiculous levels. Sure, it's not a 'great' film, but the fight scenes make the film a must see for anyone who loves action films.

    Some other movies with somewhat unique fight sequence... House of Flying Daggers, which made fighting beautiful... And The Musketeer which had some of the more interesting sword fights you'll ever see. And realizing I could go on and on with this, I'll just stop there (The Bourne Movies, Ash vs Henrietta in Evil Dead 2... Rowdy Roddy Piper trying to force Keith David to put on a pair of Sunglasses in They Live... Wow, there are too many good ones out there).

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    Comment number 16.

    Jackie Chan is the absolute Master of beautifully choreographed scenes. His quasi "I don't know what I'm doing" style is unprecedented and will be very hard to top.

    The best fight I can remember is the final fight in "The Legend of Drunken Master". It's an amazing scene that seems to take forever.

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    Comment number 17.

    For my money, the Chateau fight in Matrix Reloaded. With the electronic opera music, opulent surroundings, multiple weapon play, more brutal action with Neo actually bleeding, it makes for a very theatrical setpiece.

    Shame the rest of the fights were overlong and self-indulgent slogs.

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    Comment number 18.

    Think what you will of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (problem-reaction-solution in space) as a whole, the three-way lightsaber duel - or Duel of the Fates, if you prefer - is superb... the series' best, even.

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    Comment number 19.

    The hotel corridor fight from Inception was the first time I had genuinely been blown away by seeing two people hitting each other. The choreography is great, but when you take into account the fact that it was done on a giant rotating set, it's hard to deny that its greatness.

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    Comment number 20.

    I really enjoyed the action sequences in Kick Ass particularly those including Chloe Moretz and Aaron Johnson. Their action sequences were excellently choreographed and had a great visual style that made them stand out from the action sequences from other comic book action movies that were head ache inducing rather than thrilling.

 

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