Fight scenes are generally dominated by the subjects’ actions, and this can often mean that the camerawork is quite static. Most of the time the actors animate the scene via combat.
However, there are instances of amazing camerawork (and for the sake of this list I’ll consider post-production as well) that augment the brilliance of the choreography of the fight.
In no particular order, here’s a list of 5 fights that do this quite amazingly.
It’s not the actual fight, but rather Sherlock’s visualisation of the fight that’s pretty awesome. The use of speed ramping to emphasise each meticulously directed blow to his target is a stunning breakdown of the action. Shots oscillate between close-ups and medium length. The whole idea ties in so nicely with what the audience knows about Sherlock’s attention to detail, making it much more exciting to watch.
The Book of Eli (Bridge fight)
An ambush on our hero sees him outnumbered in the middle of a dessert. He lures his targets under a bridge into darkness, and as a result we get to see the whole fight play out in silhouettes. It’s really quick and the entire thing takes place in a single shot. One of the more innovative ways to film an action sequence I’ve seen in modern cinema.
Kill bill (Crazy 88 fight)
Excessive violence. At first glance this seems like any other high-action fight scene that depends heavily on medium or medium-close shots with lots of action on the part of actors to animate the scene. However, if you take a closer look, the shot variation is quite varied, and also very innovative. I especially like when the axes get thrown, and the birds-eye view.
Man of Steel (Superman vs Faora)
Not only is this fight scene visual effects- intensive, but the camera compliments the movements and provides a front row, shaky-cam view of the action. The action here does not suspend disbelief, but these are aliens fighting after all, so we’ll let it slide this time. See our review here: Man of Steel Review.
I know I said this list was in no particular order, but I kind of left the best for last. This remains to this day my favorite fight sequence in any movie to date. I don’t have words to describe how epic this is, so just take a look and decide for yourself.
With two Zack Snyder films on this list. you can guess I’m a fan of how he approaches the action genre. Have a look at my post on film auteurs where I discuss this in more detail: 5 modern film auteurs
What do you think of the list? let me know which scenes you think should be on this list as well.
About the Author: Aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter, Stephen is co-founder of BTG Lifestyle