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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
How do you feel about fight scenes in movies/television?
Poll: How do you feel about fight scenes in movies/television?
I generally enjoy them
I generally don’t enjoy them
Whether or not I enjoy really depends upon the individual plot
I enjoy them if they’re funny
I don’t enjoy when they’re supposed to be funny
Other
I am female
I am male
I am under 35 years old
I am over 35 years old
View Results (84 votes)
 

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens


Apr 8, 12:49pm

Post #1 of 23 (4051 views)
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How do you feel about fight scenes in movies/television? Can't Post

Personally, fight scenes bore me with few exceptions. I am curious to know if anyone else feels the same and if opinions differ based on gender or age.

Whether flying fists or a shoot-out or whatever, with very few exceptions, I find myself zoning out into you’ve-seen-one-you’ve-seen-them-all la-la-land. Meaning no disrespect to the talent and skill of those who choreograph and perform these scenes, I cannot summon the attention and feelings of suspense/excitement fights are supposed to generate. I fully understand such scenes are often necessary, but any more, when one surfaces, I feel only impatience because it takes storytelling time away from what I’d rather be watching, typically character moments.

I’ve never seen this topic discussed before so wondering what others on Torn feel.

Thank you for all who reply. Smile


(This post was edited by The Grey Elf on Apr 8, 12:51pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 8, 1:04pm

Post #2 of 23 (3991 views)
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Sometimes fight scenes are necessary. [In reply to] Can't Post

In action shows and movies especially, a fight scene might be an important element of the story. And a good, well-choreographed bar fight can be entertaining in its own right (see the original Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"). In Firefly, Malcolm Reynolds starts a fight in a bar on Unification Day as a way of showing his contempt for the established order and to demonstrate his generally ornery nature.


The Grey Elf
Grey Havens


Apr 8, 1:28pm

Post #3 of 23 (3987 views)
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That fight falls under “funny” [In reply to] Can't Post

so, ya, that’s a rare one I enjoyed Wink


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 9, 2:41am

Post #4 of 23 (3928 views)
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Depends. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sword Master Bob Anderson said every fight should tell a story. Unfortunately, most fights in films today are so badly edited you can't tell what's going on, who's fighting whom, or where the participants are located in relation to each other. (Plus most fights take place between dark clothed individuals, at night, in an ill-lit location.) Many blame directors for over-using a flurry of cuts in an attempt to convey action and excitement. But it really goes back to Anderson's statement regarding storytelling. If you feel bored during a fight scene it's because the filmmaker has failed to utilize the fight to communicate a story. That is, the scene is "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".


The Grey Elf
Grey Havens


Apr 9, 11:14am

Post #5 of 23 (3896 views)
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In other words [In reply to] Can't Post

a fight scene should by rights tie into what I value most, character and story, rather than simply be a poorly executed action sequence. Cliches and shortcuts = Tongue


Annael
Immortal


Apr 9, 1:59pm

Post #6 of 23 (3883 views)
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what he said [In reply to] Can't Post

half the time these days I have no idea what's even going on. I do enjoy a well-choreographed fight scene. I think my favorite has to be Black Widow taking on four men while TIED TO A CHAIR. It went on just long enough (most go on far too long) and made the point that this lady is not one you mess with.

Also, Coulson listening on the phone to the fight sounds as if he's on hold listening to Muzak was hilarious.

Same with car chases. Too many, too long, too much mayhem (cars do not explode that easily) seems to be the rule these days, and I'm usually bored.


(This post was edited by Annael on Apr 9, 1:59pm)


Annael
Immortal


Apr 9, 2:04pm

Post #7 of 23 (3876 views)
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on the issue of fight scenes that go on too long [In reply to] Can't Post

the final swordfight between D'Artagnan and Rochefort in Lester's "The Four Musketeers" was good even though long, because both combatants tired during the fight and by the end could barely stand, making it far more realistic. The swordfight on the ice with everyone slipping and falling down ditto. (Although I wince imagining the bruises . . . I think those falls were real, and no stunt doubles.)


The Grey Elf
Grey Havens


Apr 9, 3:10pm

Post #8 of 23 (3870 views)
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Speaking of favorite movie fight scenes [In reply to] Can't Post

one of mine, a classic partly because it sends up duels in general, is Indiana Jones facing the sword-swinging baddie in RoLA and dropping him with a shrug and a bullet. Cool (Though I guess this is more accurately a chase scene interrupted by a fight.)

Totally get enthusing about the Black Widow fight though part of its appeal has to be the novelty of a petite woman schooling villains in badassery.

So we’re back to fight scenes being elevated by humor.


The Grey Elf
Grey Havens


Apr 9, 3:15pm

Post #9 of 23 (3867 views)
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Favorite Middle-earth fight scene? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just throwing this out there if anyone’s still reading.Wink

I personally don’t have one off the top of my head, but I suspect it would involve either Aragorn or Sam (elves seeming to have an unfair advantage over most others, sorry Legolas Laugh).


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 9, 7:14pm

Post #10 of 23 (3849 views)
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Is that possibly the best character introduction in a movie? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think my favorite has to be Black Widow taking on four men while TIED TO A CHAIR.


Not only was it cool to watch, it told us a lot about her.

Although Vigo smouldering in a corner of The Prancing Pony has to be right up there. Cool


Lissuin
Valinor


Apr 9, 9:37pm

Post #11 of 23 (3843 views)
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The shield maiden of Rohan and a hobbit against the Lord of the Nazgûl. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just re-read that scene and got choked up, as I always do, and the film sequence was well done.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 9, 10:00pm

Post #12 of 23 (3840 views)
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The Battle of Helm's Deep. [In reply to] Can't Post

From build-up to finish, it's wonderful - critical to the story and superbly told, with great moments from Aragorn. Cool


Hasuwandil
Rivendell

Apr 13, 4:33am

Post #13 of 23 (3788 views)
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Drama by other means [In reply to] Can't Post

When I was younger, I was attracted to the chaos and drama of warfare. I still like a good fight, but I think a good fight needs a reason. I've gotten to the point where I don't really care for punching, slashing, or explosions for the sake of punching, slashing, or explosions. It seems to me that many fight scenes lack an adequate reason, goal, or both. (Of course, if the background is, say, the First World War, there may be a good reason for there to be no apparent reason or goal for the fighting.) What's worse, too many war scenes these days are filmed and edited in such a haphazard manner that, even if there was a purpose to the fighting, it would be impossible to tell what that purpose was from the film. Also, they tend to go on longer than is necessary. One thing that strikes me as odd is that, although I would expect film to have a stronger impact on me, being a visual medium, I actually tend to find written military history more interesting than fictional—or even supposedly historical—battles portrayed on screen. Not that I've seen every war film there is to see.


As for fight scenes that I actually like, the fight between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black in The Princess Bride has always been one of my favorites. I also like the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, although why the Empire needed to land ground troops to destroy a generator that, for some reason, was totally exposed instead of tucked deep inside an ice cave is beyond me. Perhaps it was ray-shielded, but even if the Empire didn't have any kinetic weapons per se, couldn't they have just fired a dozen or so probe droids at the generator?

As for Tolkien's battles, I tend to find them enjoyable, but not especially memorable. The ones that most impressed me from my reading were the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the fight in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. From the Peter Jackson movies my favorites were the Battle of the Hornburg and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, especially when the Rohirrim charged. Long as the Battle of the Hornburg was in the theatrical version of The Two Towers, I felt the payoff was too short. Éomer shows up with Gandalf, and then it's over.


Annael
Immortal


Apr 14, 2:16pm

Post #14 of 23 (3670 views)
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Aragorn vs. Lurtz [In reply to] Can't Post

the bit where Lurtz throws a knife and Aragorn deflects it with his own sword . . . which was real.

I did love the whole long, single-shot scene of the Fellowship battling Orcs at Ammon Hen. Impressive cinematography, that, especially for pre-drone-camera days.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 14, 3:36pm

Post #15 of 23 (3665 views)
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Wonder Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [In reply to] Can't Post

I fall into the camp of wanting fight scenes to have a purpose and advance the story somehow. For that reason, I find Diana charging the German lines very moving because she goes from a sheltered, naive debutante to someone who can take control of a situation with courage and leadership. On the surface, it's not much of a fight since the German bullets bounce off her, but that doesn't matter. Something about the music, the camera angles, and what we've seen of her so far as an audience just make that scene moving to watch. As far as kinetics go, her later climactic battle is more fun to watch, but I think there's an underdog element in her charging the trenches that stirs up a lot of emotion.

I'm not a fan of martial arts movies as a genre where they just seem to fight to show off their skills, impressive as they may be, but Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is in a category all its own, where the fights are not only beautifully choreographed (like swooshing around the top of a bamboo forest), they are playing out the tensions in relationships between characters, and those relationships evolve over the movie, so it's not "just another fight," but story progression.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Apr 16, 9:37pm

Post #16 of 23 (3547 views)
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Super-hero fight scenes make me sleepy [In reply to] Can't Post

When I go to superhero movies with my family I have a terrible time staying awake during over-the-top action scenes. I think it's a kind of sensory overload making me shut down.

Realistic fight scenes disturb me.

Comic fight scenes, as in Cat Ballou, are OK but only mildly funny.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Apr 16, 9:41pm

Post #17 of 23 (3546 views)
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I agree about the Princess Bride [In reply to] Can't Post

That was some beautiful choreography, and humorous banter. One of the very few fight scenes I enjoy.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Apr 17, 5:48pm

Post #18 of 23 (3441 views)
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Wonder Woman has some of my favorite fight scenes [In reply to] Can't Post

When she storms the German trenches, that was brilliant.


Mari D.
Rivendell


Apr 17, 7:33pm

Post #19 of 23 (3430 views)
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Yes, if you can't tell what's going on it becomes meaningless ... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Sword Master Bob Anderson said every fight should tell a story. Unfortunately, most fights in films today are so badly edited you can't tell what's going on, who's fighting whom, or where the participants are located in relation to each other. (Plus most fights take place between dark clothed individuals, at night, in an ill-lit location.) Many blame directors for over-using a flurry of cuts in an attempt to convey action and excitement. But it really goes back to Anderson's statement regarding storytelling. If you feel bored during a fight scene it's because the filmmaker has failed to utilize the fight to communicate a story. That is, the scene is "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".


... and also, I get bored by such scenes if they are so fast I can't tell what the stakes of an individual move are. Then, for me, the fight moves become meaningless.

Brutality or mere display of physical power or skill in martial arts don't fascinate me anymore. The repetitiveness. (Also if it were a battle of wits, or fighting to by finding the right reaction/words defuse a verbal fight ... then I could at least learn something, but when am I ever going to be in the position of an action hero?)

I like fight scenes when they actually advance the plot and you see the strategic significance of both the moves within a fight and of the fight within the plot. A fight that interests me actually needs to tell a story.


(This post was edited by Mari D. on Apr 17, 7:42pm)


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


May 7, 3:29pm

Post #20 of 23 (2680 views)
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Black Widow... [In reply to] Can't Post

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

That was one of the best.

I've done just enough medieval swordplay and martial arts to appreciate the difficulty of a well choreographed fight.

As a storyteller, I see the external conflict reflecting the internal one. Hard to show internal conflicts in a visual medium like film.

There are some actors, like Dwayne Johnson or Chris Hemsworth who can take a fight scene to a level of hilarity we had no idea existed...

That said, action just for the sake of action is pointless.


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


May 7, 3:30pm

Post #21 of 23 (2677 views)
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WW, Tiger... [In reply to] Can't Post

oh YES!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 8, 8:54pm

Post #22 of 23 (2633 views)
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I love the phone call! [In reply to] Can't Post

I about died during that one! Sly That was such a funny fight scene!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 8, 9:16pm

Post #23 of 23 (2630 views)
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In order for a fight scene to work [In reply to] Can't Post

it has to do 2 things:
1. Be realistic within the context of the setting (Helm's Deep did this well), and

2. You have to be personally vested in the characters and the outcome.

In LOTR, we are vested in the success of the Fellowship members, where if they won we'd be thrilled and relieved and if they lost, we'd be devastated. We are also vested in the outcome as well, because we know the stakes are very, very high, and if even one major fight fails, then we know that the world will descend into darkness and ALL those characters we care about will die.

Additionally, with few points (the Army of the Dead being a little TOO effective at literally wiping the field clean-would have liked for that to take more than three seconds), LOTR did well at making fight scenes very realistic. It was gritty, it was hard, and people died-including some we cared about (like Theoden, Boromir, Gandalf, or sitting there wondering if Eowyn was going to survive, or seeing the numbers of elves and Haldir and all the younger boys fall and the army falling further and further back and wondering of Legolas, Aragorn or Gimli were going to join them).

The two big LOTR battles (and the Amon Hen fight) especially had us sitting there wondering if our heroes were going to make it out alive. Also, the suicide ride Faramir took after his father ripped him a new one for no good reason also leaves us on the edge of our seats because we sense what the riders sense- that this is sheer suicide, and they're charging straight into a ruthless massacre and we do not know in that moment if Faramir is going to survive or not, and HE thinks he's going to die, but he does it anyway.


Just like how Frodo and Sam are pretty darn sure that the world is going to end and all will come to ruin, and they still go anyway. They fight on to Mt. Doom because they said they would do it, and they're going to even if all fails and it makes no difference.


LOTR fights accomplished the two essential rules for fight scenes above- realistic, and made the audience vested in the outcome and the characters who must achieve their goals, or perish in the process.

There was little doubt that our heroes' lives in LOTR were in mortal danger many times, which is often absent in superhero movies because you sit there and go "Well, the baddies are putting up a good fight but come on-our heroes have out of this world superpowers so of course they're going to win", which causes them to be incredibly boring (unless they're comically funny, which makes them slightly tolerable).

If you don't care all that much about the character and they aren't convincingly in any mortal danger during the fight, then the fight scene is completely pointless, IMHO.


(This post was edited by Cirashala on May 8, 9:16pm)

 
 

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