Good Movie Fight Scenes - where?

Seems to me that most of the recent crop of big-budget action fest movies have been victims of the same infuriating editing technique. Every time there’s a fight, be it fist fight, gun fight, karate fight, or magic kung-fu fight, the edits are so damn quick that it’s impossible to keep track of the action. It’s been a while since I really…felt a fight scene in a film.

Has anyone else noticed this? Can anyone suggest any films I might watch to re-assure myself that it’s possible to do an on-camera fight well?

I would recommend “Raging Bull.”

I thought Ong Bak was pretty good.

Seconded. I winced often watching that.

Well…there IS a movie with good fighting in it, but the first rule says I’m not supposed to talk about it…
and the second rule is I’m not supposed to talk about it…
and the third…well, you get the picture…


Discounting the entire kung-fu genre, you can try:

The Undefeated
The Quiet Man

A few of my all-time favorite fight scenes are:

From Russia with Love: Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in a fight to the death in a 5x7 train berth. I’ve seen this fight about dozen times. It’s short but not too short, it’s violent, and the camera work is perfect. This may be my favorite.

Kill Bill 2 : Uma Thurman and Darryl Hannah swordfighting in a trailer. I guess there’s something to be said about filming a fight scene in a confined space.

Saving Private Ryan: Adam Goldberg’s hand-to-hand fight to the death with the German soldier was incredibly well done.

Rashomon: The sword fight between the samurai and the bandit looks real - they’re both nervous, breathing hard, and as the fight goes on, they get increasingly tired and desperate in their moves and counter moves.

The long, one-take hallway fight scene in Oldboy is one of my favorites in recent film history. There’s nothing “actiony” about it, and yet it’s ten times as amazing and visceral as any fight scene I’ve seen on cinema.

Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity. Awesome!

May this is brought up too often, but the swordfight scene in The Princess Bride is classic. I just watched the movie again last night. Supposedly it’s one of the best choreographed fencing scenes ever.

If you are going to add sword-fighting to the list, toss in all the fights in Richard Lester’s versions of The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers.

Well, John Cusack and Benny the Jet have a great tussle in Grosse Pointe Blanke… Nothing fancy, just a short sharp representation of what would happen if two well trained martial artists got into a scrap. The pen, it seems, is truely mightier than th’sword.

What puzzles me is where moviemakers ever got that classic “put-chhh” sound effect for when a punch hits a jaw. believe me, thats NOT what a punch sounds like.

The fight scenes in Equilibrium, based on a ficticious futuristic martial art meant for close-quarters combat, are amazing. Ridiculous and impractical for “real life,” but amazing nonetheless.

Also, if you want to be impressed, check out the new trailer for the French action movie District B13, based on parkour, a new fusion of extreme sports and martial arts. This style is going to be huge, I’m sure of it – we’re about to be bombarded with it in commercials, in movies, and I’m sure it will catch on in real life too, at least for a small community of well-trained enthusiasts.

I liked the recent Undisputed. Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes are believable as street-tough heavyweight boxers.

I’d be interested in getting the opinion of someone with a fencing background on that one- I’d always been curious.

I think Raging Bull is an example of what the OP does NOT want to see. The edits in the film are very fast and very disorienting. It’s often difficult to tell who is being hit and who is doing the hitting. Just MHO, of course.

Thanks for all the suggestions, people! It’s just been ages since I saw a fight scene that actually LOOKED like two people were really fighting and where I could actually follow the action. I’ll have a look at some of your recommendations.

This is another one that I wouldn’t recommend based on the OP. The edits are so quick in the Bourne movies that they’re almost disorienting.

I think you’re think of Borne Supremacy, and not Identity, which were done by two different directors. The former was neigh impossible to watch, while the latter was pretty easy to follow, imo.

I believe that you’re thinking of Borne Supremacy, and not Borne Identity, which were done by two different directors. The former was neigh impossible to watch, while the latter was pretty easy to follow, imo.