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  • 100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes

    August 19, 2009, 3:47 pm
    The protagonist walks into a room, ready to pick a fight with the bad guy and save the world (or some damsel in distress). The moment is akin to the last level of an old video game, where the mega-boss stands 5 inches in front of your character on the screen then laughs as the controller freezes— preventing you from moving your character to attack the boss. Suddenly, the rest of the boss’ lackeys pour out from every orifice in the room and threaten to take our hero out. He’s outnumbered 20 to 1... how is he going to get out of this one? Well, thanks to the magic of movie editing (and some nice choreography) he can beat an impossible amount of attackers all by himself!

    Criteria:
    - Character must be in a situation that involves him/her fighting a huge number of people
    - Story and characters must be kept clear and relevant throughout scene
    - Effective use of editing so that you don’t notice the cuts.
    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    5. Enter the Dragon (1973)

    This film is in here because the classic scene in which Bruce Lee takes on a school full of martial arts masters is one of the most famous of its kind. Even with all the people attacking him, he is able to coolly single out where the boss is going and pursue him while knocking out random baddies left and right. Kurt Hirschler and George Watters edit the footage in such a way to make the already faster-than-lightning choreography even more artful and make Lee look completely undistracted.

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    4. Yojimbo (1961)

    From an editing perspective, Kurosawa always tends to have his editor cut very deliberately, and it shows. Because of this, the cutting is always very clean and fluid, and if you’re really ensconced in the film you don’t pay attention to edits and the film just "is." And isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Yojimbo has a great example of a 100 to 1 scene using purposeful edits. This technique harkens back to my first blog article because it is similar to a showdown with a slow build up of tension and quick release. The big difference is that Toshir? Mifune, takes them all out with his quick katana swipes instead of a speedy trigger finger.

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    3. Dragons Forever (1988)

    Keep in mind that when I pick the top 5 that I’m not necessarily taking the film as a whole into consideration, but instead I am choosing a particular scene that pertains to the topic of the day. Dragons Forever is a good example. This film is totally goofy in every respect— except for the fight scenes. When you watch the amazingly creative and quick movements of the unbreakable Jackie Chan it’s hard to believe that what you are watching is actually all real! Every stunt is pretty unbelievable in the first place, but the editing (even though it’s a bit sped up for dramatic effect) is so smooth and rhythmic that makes all the stunts look easy. The edits have such a natural rhythm that the scene doesn’t even need music. (Oh sure, it’s nothing to do a backflip over a handrail and land perfectly on a rafter beam that’s a foot wide.)

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    2. Kill Bill (Vol. 1) (2003)

    I remember when I first saw this film in the theatre, when I had the biggest "there’s no way she’s getting through this one" moment. The great thing about the editing style in this movie is the... I guess you could call it "homage," to the cheesiest of the cheesy kung fu and karate movies of the east but still manages to be extremely smooth and not jarring at all. Sally Menke makes you, the viewer, pay attention to the editing in this one, but in a way without taking you too far out of the film. Even though you know some of these editing choices are silly, you still walk out of the theatre taking it seriously.

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    1. The Matrix: Reloaded (2003)

    I actually think editing-wise, Kill Bill Vol. 1 was really better than the Matrix: Reloaded, but the reason why this one wins first place in my book is the sheer awe (and maybe pity) for Zach Staenberg, who had to deal with editing a scene in which there are hundreds of the same actor cloned over and over again. I’m such a fan of Hugo Weaving that, when the film came out I was happily reeling over seeing hundreds of Hugo Weavings try to kick Keanu’s butt (and disappointed to see them fail) and I spent the next two months trying to figure out how the poor editor cut it so smoothly. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to put that together. So, props to you, Zach Staenberg.

    100 to 1: Overwhelmed Protagonist Fight scenes
    Runner Up
    Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)

    It would be an injustice not to include some sort of zombie film because this topic is one of the more common situations that occur. Editing-wise, most of those films don’t really make the cut, and I went through a lot of zombie and campy horror films trying to find a scene that held up. This film is beyond ridiculous in so many ways, but the way that the main character gets out of the 100 to 1 situation is pretty unique, and for what it is it was edited very well— at least enough to mention here! You really get the feeling that the zombies are getting the best cuisinart treatment they’ll ever experience.

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • Light Sabre Battles! (v)
      EDITING

      Light Sabre Battles! (v)

      January 18, 2012, 3:00 pm
      As an interesting note, it was conveniently blocked by FOX just as the internet is on blackout strike today in solidarity against SOPA. American friends, please be aware that if SOPA passes, videos like this where I attempt to teach about film editing in a fun way will not be available anymore, even if I am in compliance with the Fair Use clause— in fact, I could be shut down, fined, and/or jailed without due process. If you like the internet and the ability to find information freely and easily, please educate yourself about this bill, and do whatever you can to stop it from passing!

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    • Top 5 Marx Brothers Films
      EDITING

      Top 5 Marx Brothers Films

      January 4, 2012, 1:19 pm
      First EDL of the new year up! Marx brothers, see? nyaah!

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    • Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)
      EDITING

      Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)

      December 14, 2011, 4:44 pm
      Have a video version of my very first Christmas blog, the best edited Moments of Despair in a Christmas film!

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    • Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine

      November 30, 2011, 11:29 am
      Check out this week's EDL, featuring the top 5 edited scenes with steam engines!

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    • Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!

      November 16, 2011, 1:28 pm
      I know I've covered this one in the past, but with the new video format I feel like I can really do some of previous written blogs justice. This one especially!

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    • Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop

      November 3, 2011, 1:54 pm
      Vlog number 3! Scenes on a mountain. See my epic climbing skills (not)...

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    • Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!
      EDITING

      Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!

      October 19, 2011, 1:19 pm
      In Vlog number 2 of the Edit Decision List, I look at the best edited scenes in a Mad Max Movie, as well as manage to completely butcher an Australian accent.

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    • Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes

      October 5, 2011, 12:07 pm
      My very first vlog covers the top 5 scenes in a Die Hard movie!

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    • Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis
      EDITING

      Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis

      September 21, 2011, 4:25 pm
      Metropolis is one of the most influential science fiction films of all time, and it's obvious that the editing has a lot to do with it. The expressive nature of the acting is superbly juxtaposed with epically framed shots in such a way that story isn't only easy to follow, but really fun to watch!

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    • Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes

      September 7, 2011, 12:16 pm
      Great scott! I must've blown a hole in the space-time continuum with my 1.21 "Jiggawatt" blog entry…

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