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Author Topic: fights to win
natas
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Babbler # 4211

posted 19 June 2003 07:39 PM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This one takes off from an observation from RookieActivist in the Matrix Reloaded discussion:

"The fight scenes were exciting, but not at all revolutionary."

It took me a second to figure out that this means the EFFECTS aren't revolutionary. I thought it was some Marxaholic saying that the scene didn't meet the objective dialectical criteria of the revolutionary fight scene. (after all, isn't a fight scene, like, the ultimate dialectic?)

Which leads me to ask: what ARE the objective dialectical criteria of the revolutionary fight scene? And what historical fight scene wins the crown? (or the, well...tractor?)

Here's mine to get things started:

1) rejects catharsis while retaining kinesis
2) anti-authoritarian (a neat trick)
3) Advances character and theme as well as plot
4) funny

And what does that leave us with but...the greatest of all time...the 'put on the glasses' scene in They Live! The revolution will be cheap on Tuesdays.


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 19 June 2003 09:01 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know what you mean by fight scene dialectics and all that, but what I do know is that my favorite fight scenes happen in Jackie Chan movies. I love that guy! The fight scenes are pure dance, with lots of humour thrown in for good measure. It's one of my guilty pop-culture pleasures.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 19 June 2003 09:13 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, if you want my nomination for a good part of the Matrix, it's when Merovingian states that choice is an illusion created between those who have power and those who do not.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 20 June 2003 05:12 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Holy crocus! And I thought I was pedantic about my entertainment!

The fight scene from "They Live" is certainly one of the longest and most preposterous of all time, so it has a special place in my heart, but I don't see it as anti-authoritarian or lacking in catharsis. The fight centers around one character insisting that the other obey his command and refusing to accept no for an answer, and it is a clear cathartic symbol for the frustration of self-appointed enlighteners who can't get the rest of the world to adopt their perspective. To me, it fails on both counts, but damn, it is funny.

The sword fight in "The Princess Bride" fits your criteria better (it's only drawback is that, despite being well-coreographed, the actors involved are of mediocre martial skill). But then, it's not terribly revolutionary, in any sense of the word, so maybe the criteria aren't that good.

What kind of revolution are we talking about? The spiritual revolution beyond opposition and towards unity, perhaps? In the dialectic fashion of thesis, anithesis, and synthesis, we would think that such a fight scene would involve neither side defeating the other, but instead becoming one in purpose through their conflict. Maybe the final confrontation between Luke and Vader in "Jedi"?

Luke says right off the bat that he doesn't come to fight Vader. He is eventually goaded into combat but at the last minute he recovers himself and refuses to kill his enemy. But it is this that saves him, for his compassion brings his father back from the dark side to unite against the Emperor. On the other hand, this isn't really synthesis, since Luke isn't getting much from Vader. In a spiritual sense, he is defeating him by bringing him back to the good side of the force, instead of creating a whole new paradigm.

But maybe this isn't what you mean, anyways. Care to define "revolution" in this context?

(Okay, I KNOW I'm pedantic about my entertainment)


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 20 June 2003 08:44 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of my favorite fight scenes ever is the one in, I think, Raiders of the Lost Ark, where this big, macho, sword wielding guy approaches Harrison Ford's character, doing all this fancy sword-swinging and looking all intimidating, and then Ford just takes out his gun and shoots him dead.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
natas
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posted 20 June 2003 09:58 AM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was hoping my criteria would be challenged and amended! You call yourselves progressives! Don't wait for the Q & A...(all right, I'll stop)

But I do think the They Live scene is a brilliant answer to the whole fight ethic, because it just goes on so fricking LONG, and they get all exhausted and stuff. Can I at least call it 'subversive?' (Not that I think John Carpenter is a state-smasher, mind you, not with that misogynist ending...and did you see Assault on Precinct 13? Why do so many good artists insist on not thinking???)

The Raiders scene would appear to be the perfect opposite number, but dear me, Mr. Steve does have an Arab problem doesn't he (can't go blaming it on George Lucas, even if he is now a fully uncloseted racist weiner; Spielberg had enough clout to object, I do believe). There's even one Good Arab, to set the record straight, thanks a lot guys. Can't very well ignore this stuff any more. Oh my lost youth!!!

To clarify my drift...most fight scenes try to turn men into machines, and we remember what ideology THAT recalls...Chan gets away with it because he knows his Buster Keaton, and the above satirize it, but the basic problem is not to VALORIZE yourself as you pound your opponent into tartare.

So what answers have we seen to that dilemma, is what I have been getting at. Oh, look at the time...


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 20 June 2003 10:04 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Using your earlier criteria, I would have to agree the best fight scenes are with Jackie Chan. Particularly, Rumble in the Bronx. I don't remember ever laughing so hard during a martial arts movie. But, then again, the best, dare I say subversive and anti-authoratarian, movie involving fights, gun fights, and more fights would have to be the spaghetti western My Name is Nobody.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 20 June 2003 08:12 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hah, Jackie Chan

I have to concur; I've seen two or three Jackie Chan movies and I've never failed to crack up at the fight scenes (and especially the outtakes ) in them.

As a general rule I don't watch movies for the fight scenes, so I can't be as pedantic as some of us movie critics can be on that score, but I think I may have on occasion criticized the flimsy scientific basis for some things being done in movies.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
scrabble
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posted 20 June 2003 08:26 PM      Profile for scrabble     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Jackie Chan

AHEM. I met him. He's so cute. We walked into a (swanky, ok?) sushi bar in Vancouver, and there he was! I fell to my knees with a suppressed scream of worship - okay, I didn't, but pretty close - and he smiled at me (!!baDUMP!!) and said I was the only person who recognized him that day. He was in town filming Rumble. I guess most folks hadn't seen any of his stuff yet.
quote:
one Good Arab

If you mean John Rhys-Davies, you notice he's not even really arab?

From: dappled shade in the forest | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 20 June 2003 08:30 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

If you liked the Clint Eastwood westerns, but need a laugh, you will love this.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 20 June 2003 09:54 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I fell to my knees

Typical!


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 22 June 2003 05:23 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The best fight scene in film is the three-way draw between Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lyle (er, Lee) van Cleef in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly which, coincidentally, is the best film ever made.

Ennio Morricone's music enhances the tension between the three gunfighters. The violence itself is over in a split-second - it's the anticipation that matters. One can look into their thoughts, rather than be amazed by computer-enhanced digital visual effects.

There are two kinds of cinema my friend...


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory
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posted 22 June 2003 06:50 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't forget the very intense final confrontation scene from Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West. The hero (ol' stone face Charles Bronson, playing the part intended for Clint Eastwood) squares off against psychotic gunman baddie Henry Fonda (his only villain role, played with great gusto), while replaying the murder of his brother by Fonda (by hanging, in excrutiating slow motion!)in his mind. The rest of the film is great too, don't miss it!

Most memorable hand-to-hand fight scene: Sean Connery vs. Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love. Shaw is a well-muscled,sadistic assassin from SPECTRE who impersonates a fellow British spy to get close to 007 and the precious decoding machine in his possession. He revels himself as a killer while locked in a small train compartment with Connery, spitting out hatred and telling Bond how he will enjoy killing him slowly. What follows is the only credible battle-to-the-death in the entire Bond series -- 007's evil dopelganger seems perfectly able to win the fight. Another must-see movie.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
rob.leblanc
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posted 22 June 2003 02:03 PM      Profile for rob.leblanc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
the funniest fight scene I've ever seen is the one in Family Guy between Peter Griffin and a guy in a chicken suit that gives out coupons. Starts in the town, ends in New York City. I saw it about a week ago and I was on the floor laughing.
From: Where am I? Where are YOU? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 24 June 2003 02:39 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An amusing fight scene took place in "Change of Habit." Some swell challenged Elvis to hand to hand combat by affecting a martial arts pose and saying, "I call karate."

The King kinda shrugged, said "Aw, shut up," and slugged the guy.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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Babbler # 3807

posted 24 June 2003 11:59 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Then there's the chase scene in "The Dead Pool," where Squint Eastwood is being pursued by a tiny radio-controlled model car...
From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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