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  • Realistic Violence in Movies

    Just for the heck of it, I'm starting a new thread discussing how violence is depicted in movies.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not starting a moral crusade about there being too much violence in movies - just how well the director and fight choreographers manage to capture realistically combat on film.

    I'll start off. I used to think that the Bourne movies were right up there in depicting fights, especially hand to hand combat. However, I must say that this evaluation did not hold up with time. The fight scenes were still beautiful to behold, but the problem with them is that they were just TOO choreographed. Too perfect. No one really fights like that in real life, except in martial arts demonstrations (when you want to impress the crowd, not teach them a thing or two about defending themselves).

    Quite ironically enough, I find that the fights in the Daniel Craig James Bond movies hold up better. There's that little bit of chaos, of unpredictability in the fights, that little bit of brutishness and grit. I've really become more a fan of this new James Bond than Jason Bourne.

    Take for example the knife fight scene in Quantum of Solace. It's certainly not as dramatic as the Jason Bourne Munich knife fight scene, but it's also a more realistic depiction of the dangers of a knife fight, and how a well trained operator can counter an opponent with a knife, and how one can inflict fatal wounds with a small pair of scissors (or is it a manicure knife?). There's the right amoung of stumbling, realistic intervals before the opponents react, and then the right counter-moves. All these are in contrast to the perfectly timed cut and thrust in the Bourne Munich fight scene.

    [PS: Another fight scene that has really climbed the charts in my books is the Turkish bath fight scene in Eastern Promises. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you really must watch that one! ]

    [PPS: I'm trying to teach my wife unarmed combat now. As a sort of instruction video, I'm showing her the new James Bond films. It's more realistic, and it just happens that she thinks Daniel Craig is cuter than what's-his-name. So that helps. ]

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
    Just for the heck of it, I'm starting a new thread discussing how violence is depicted in movies.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not starting a moral crusade about there being too much violence in movies - just how well the director and fight choreographers manage to capture realistically combat on film.

    I'll start off. I used to think that the Bourne movies were right up there in depicting fights, especially hand to hand combat. However, I must say that this evaluation did not hold up with time. The fight scenes were still beautiful to behold, but the problem with them is that they were just TOO choreographed. Too perfect. No one really fights like that in real life, except in martial arts demonstrations (when you want to impress the crowd, not teach them a thing or two about defending themselves).

    Quite ironically enough, I find that the fights in the Daniel Craig James Bond movies hold up better. There's that little bit of chaos, of unpredictability in the fights, that little bit of brutishness and grit. I've really become more a fan of this new James Bond than Jason Bourne.

    Take for example the knife fight scene in Quantum of Solace. It's certainly not as dramatic as the Jason Bourne Munich knife fight scene, but it's also a more realistic depiction of the dangers of a knife fight, and how a well trained operator can counter an opponent with a knife, and how one can inflict fatal wounds with a small pair of scissors (or is it a manicure knife?). There's the right amoung of stumbling, realistic intervals before the opponents react, and then the right counter-moves. All these are in contrast to the perfectly timed cut and thrust in the Bourne Munich fight scene.

    [PS: Another fight scene that has really climbed the charts in my books is the Turkish bath fight scene in Eastern Promises. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you really must watch that one! ]

    [PPS: I'm trying to teach my wife unarmed combat now. As a sort of instruction video, I'm showing her the new James Bond films. It's more realistic, and it just happens that she thinks Daniel Craig is cuter than what's-his-name. So that helps. ]
    I guess the whole things turns on what is "realistic", or, what do we perceive as realistic. After all, how many of us have been in, or witnessed from a theater seat perspective, a life or death hand-to-hand struggle with or without weapons? I laugh everytime a filmaker talks about unparelelled realism in depiction of something because what does he have to compare it to? Now the poster here percieves or believes that there should be "stumbling, realistic intervals before the opponent reacts" in the depiction of fight scenes. Well is that actual realism or what the poster perceives as realism? You are talking about fictional depictions of combat so how can there be an objective criteria for what realism is? Now you can sell me in a heatbeat that the stylized moves in the various martial arts movies have no real world counterpart, but for the rest, I mean, what is reality? All you have to do is watch a prize fight, or a number of prize fights, to know that some are a joy to behold in graceful, athletic manoeuver and others are a couple of stumbling boobs just trying to get at (or get away from) one another and it can vary wildly even from round to round in the same fight. I doubt there is an objective standard, just what the viewer likes, and if his vision coincides with the directors, great.

    That being said, I agree that the Craig Bond films have great fight sequences, but the best 007 fight goes back to Connery in From Russia With Love when he has it out with Robert Shaw on the Orient Express. that is the fight scene that I compare to all others.
    Last edited by mjhbuckeye; 12 Aug 09, 11:47.

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    • #3
      I'll say this about the fight scenes in the Bourne movies...

      The techniques are extremely viable, no doubt...however the "fights" are not.
      "Choreographed" is a good word. In reality an experienced fighter seeks to end the fight as quickly as possible. Even an "inexperienced" fighter will try to do as much damage as soon as possible to try to achieve victory.
      When I watch "Bourne" fights, the game "pattycakes" comes to mind. A sort of "tit-for-tat" type of the thing. A ballet, for sure.
      Almost like some "3 Stooges-slapstick" style of martial art.
      Real fistfights just don't last that long. People get hurt. They can't take all of those hits, shrug them off and keep on fighting.
      However, I guess this is an improvement from seeing the ol' Duke amble his arm behind him in almost slow-motion as his opponent stands awaiting the almighty "one shot-knockout" haymaker.

      Shooting...

      'Saving Private Ryan' was revolutionary cinematography. The bullets "zinged" past, "pinged" off metal obstacles, and ricocheted around. The camera shook as it followed soldiers, as if you were running behind them. Cameras panned down the barrels of jumping, sputtering rifles and machineguns as they were being fired, showing targets in their view, as if you were the one doing the shooting. The lighting was dark and overcast. Soldiers and equipment was actually filthy looking. The ground vibrated with the approach of Tiger tanks. People shot with large caliber anti-tank guns practically exploded. Walls did not stop bullets. The cinematography in that film was so intense, I felt like I was in the movie. 'Band of Brothers' uses the same cinematograpjic style.

      'Memphis Belle' gives a good feel of what WW2 aerial-combat on a bomber might've been like.

      'Master and Commander' has intense, seemingly realistic scenes depicting ship-to-ship combat from the age of "wooden ships and iron men".

      For 19th century (and earlier) large-unit manuever combat, I was impressed with the movies 'Glory' and 'Gettysburg'. Sadly, I have not seen 'Gods and Generals', yet. It's on my list though.

      For swordplay and such...Hmmm?...I liked 'Braveheart' although I think that film has some "detractors" on this forum. I don't know. Although 'Rob Roy' was enjoyable and impressive, I find it hard to believe that some sword duels were so long-winded. Afterall, you're playing with long, sharp lethal weapons. Some of the tactics depicted incorporating kicks, strikes, grappling, etc. did seem authentic.

      Life is precious, but also cheap. For without war, there is no peace. GS ~ A Soldier's Ghost. A Warrior's Soul.

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      • #4
        I agree whole-heartedly. To Daniel Craig's credit, he reacts to being hit as if he really had been hit, with the momentary confusion and recovery to be expected of someone trained to fight, but still human and vulnerable.

        The choreographed fight scenes in the majority of films have reached the heights of ridiculousness, with tremendous blows that knock people clear through walls resulting in no harm, just an opponent who gets up and starts fighting again.

        And the perfect reactions to each move and counter-move are incredibly unrealistic. Real fights are very much spur-of-moment, react-and-counter-react, hit-and-be-hit, even for trained fighters. Just watch two boxers, or a pair of unlimited fighters, so see real fighting in real time.

        This has been extended into all aspects of the stunt industry - actors routinely continue on unhurt after absorbing crippling physical blows, horrific car crashes, plane crashes, building collapses and enormous explosions within just a few feet of them, not to mention being routinely shot with large caliber weapons, and defy gravity and the laws of physics while doing it.

        Unfortunately, the average movie goer doesn't seem to know any better and assumes this is real, and sometimes that they, too can survive these events.

        Hollywoody, where isn't just their stock in trade; it's their whole reason for being.
        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GhostSoldier View Post

          'Memphis Belle' gives a good feel of what WW2 aerial-combat on a bomber might've been like.



          My late father who flew B-17s over Germany thought Memphis Belle the largest, most unhistorical and unrealistic turd laid by Hollywood and I would have to agree. See, this is what filmakers can do to reality. Create a totally false perception and make it look pretty (or gritty, or complex, or whatever) thereby implying verisimilitude. Since Ghostsoldier has never been on a WW2 bomber in aerial combat (or talked to anybody who was), he gets hoodwinked into believing the film gives a "good feel" of reality. Got news, filmakers don't try to make things real, they try to make them dramatic, or visually stimulating which isn't the same as the real McCoy. You could portray ten guys stuffed in a very noisy aluminum tube in sub zero temps for hour after hour of boredom, isolated so that they had no idea what their fellow fliers were doing and no knowlege or opportunity to know what was going on with other airplanes and a very limited field of vision, but hey, who would go to see that?

          Be careful before you jump on something as being realistic.

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          • #6
            Right.
            Life is precious, but also cheap. For without war, there is no peace. GS ~ A Soldier's Ghost. A Warrior's Soul.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GhostSoldier View Post
              Right.
              I'm not a guy that said that piece of crap was realistic. Surely you must have some answer better then that?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                I agree whole-heartedly. To Daniel Craig's credit, he reacts to being hit as if he really had been hit, with the momentary confusion and recovery to be expected of someone trained to fight, but still human and vulnerable.

                The choreographed fight scenes in the majority of films have reached the heights of ridiculousness, with tremendous blows that knock people clear through walls resulting in no harm, just an opponent who gets up and starts fighting again.

                And the perfect reactions to each move and counter-move are incredibly unrealistic. Real fights are very much spur-of-moment, react-and-counter-react, hit-and-be-hit, even for trained fighters. Just watch two boxers, or a pair of unlimited fighters, so see real fighting in real time.

                This has been extended into all aspects of the stunt industry - actors routinely continue on unhurt after absorbing crippling physical blows, horrific car crashes, plane crashes, building collapses and enormous explosions within just a few feet of them, not to mention being routinely shot with large caliber weapons, and defy gravity and the laws of physics while doing it.

                Unfortunately, the average movie goer doesn't seem to know any better and assumes this is real, and sometimes that they, too can survive these events.

                Hollywoody, where isn't just their stock in trade; it's their whole reason for being.

                That's a beef I have with the movies, but I have the same beef with some martial arts about this as well.

                Some martial arts just give their practitioners way too much confidence in themselves - not a good thing when they have to understand that actual fights can be far dirtier, far more traumatic, and far more exhausting than their practice sessions. Not that martial arts training sessions are not useful, it's just that they should not lead the youths to think they can take on the world.

                I have seen several cases when we put young chaps who have black belts in TKD or karate (or some other martial arts) against someone from another discipline, particularly if he's someone into Mixed Martial Arts or Unarmed Combat, and the young chap would come away traumatised. They simply were not prepared for the mental agility required to go up against someone who doesn't fight by the same rules, and who was far more experienced than them in the number of fights he had been in.

                The opposite is also true. I think the martial arts mystique, often build up by carefully choreographed demostrations, became a barrier to people learning the skills needed to defend themselves. They see a TKD instructor jump a metre into the air to break bricks or tiles with his feet, and they come away thinking "I can never do that." They don't understand that they don't have to be as good as that, that they can learn some tricks that may very well save their lives in most situations against most criminals.

                I encountered this with my wife. She's simply too intimidated by the seeming high levels of skills required to defend herself, to want to learn self-defence.

                In this, I found an episode of Fight Science talking about simple but effective self defence techniques (can't remember the title) was of immense help in changing her mindset. Once that mindset is changed, once she picked up the boxing gloves and discover that she can also deliver powerful punches with the right techniques, then everything changed, and she has sufficient self-confidence to begin learning the tricks needed to stay alive.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GhostSoldier View Post
                  I'll say this about the fight scenes in the Bourne movies...

                  The techniques are extremely viable, no doubt...however the "fights" are not.
                  "Choreographed" is a good word. In reality an experienced fighter seeks to end the fight as quickly as possible. Even an "inexperienced" fighter will try to do as much damage as soon as possible to try to achieve victory.
                  When I watch "Bourne" fights, the game "pattycakes" comes to mind. A sort of "tit-for-tat" type of the thing. A ballet, for sure.
                  Almost like some "3 Stooges-slapstick" style of martial art.
                  Real fistfights just don't last that long. People get hurt. They can't take all of those hits, shrug them off and keep on fighting.
                  However, I guess this is an improvement from seeing the ol' Duke amble his arm behind him in almost slow-motion as his opponent stands awaiting the almighty "one shot-knockout" haymaker.

                  Shooting...

                  'Saving Private Ryan' was revolutionary cinematography. The bullets "zinged" past, "pinged" off metal obstacles, and ricocheted around. The camera shook as it followed soldiers, as if you were running behind them. Cameras panned down the barrels of jumping, sputtering rifles and machineguns as they were being fired, showing targets in their view, as if you were the one doing the shooting. The lighting was dark and overcast. Soldiers and equipment was actually filthy looking. The ground vibrated with the approach of Tiger tanks. People shot with large caliber anti-tank guns practically exploded. Walls did not stop bullets. The cinematography in that film was so intense, I felt like I was in the movie. 'Band of Brothers' uses the same cinematograpjic style.

                  'Memphis Belle' gives a good feel of what WW2 aerial-combat on a bomber might've been like.

                  'Master and Commander' has intense, seemingly realistic scenes depicting ship-to-ship combat from the age of "wooden ships and iron men".

                  For 19th century (and earlier) large-unit manuever combat, I was impressed with the movies 'Glory' and 'Gettysburg'. Sadly, I have not seen 'Gods and Generals', yet. It's on my list though.

                  For swordplay and such...Hmmm?...I liked 'Braveheart' although I think that film has some "detractors" on this forum. I don't know. Although 'Rob Roy' was enjoyable and impressive, I find it hard to believe that some sword duels were so long-winded. Afterall, you're playing with long, sharp lethal weapons. Some of the tactics depicted incorporating kicks, strikes, grappling, etc. did seem authentic.

                  The best depiction of ancient combat I've seen was this scene in HBO's Rome.

                  It shows the actual tactics the Romans used. The Gladius is used as a thrusting weapon into the opponents vitals; none of this slashing about like a wildman (except for the Gauls), fighting as a team, the use of the shield as an effective weapon, the periodic replacement of the Roman front rank so they remain fresh, etc.

                  "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                  Homer


                  BoRG

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                  • #10
                    The opening scene in the film "Narc" about a Detroit narcotics officer is the most realistic depiction of the stress and confusion of a foot pursuit in an urban setting that I've seen.

                    "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                    Homer


                    BoRG

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                      Just for the heck of it, I'm starting a new thread discussing how violence is depicted in movies.

                      Don't get me wrong, I'm not starting a moral crusade about there being too much violence in movies - just how well the director and fight choreographers manage to capture realistically combat on film.
                      They don't. Too much gore spraying for one thing. People bleed but it takes a pretty grisly wound to actually make blood fly through the air and gunshots actually don't do that as much as you would think. Same thing for sword fights. I've seen deep cuts before and it actually takes at least few seconds for the blood to start pouring from the wound. Also bloody blades. Once when I was a kid I accidentally slit my finger deep with a hobby razor. Even though I bled pretty bad there was no blood on the blade itself, it was perfectly clean.

                      Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                      I'll start off. I used to think that the Bourne movies were right up there in depicting fights, especially hand to hand combat. However, I must say that this evaluation did not hold up with time. The fight scenes were still beautiful to behold, but the problem with them is that they were just TOO choreographed. Too perfect. No one really fights like that in real life, except in martial arts demonstrations (when you want to impress the crowd, not teach them a thing or two about defending themselves).
                      They were also too long. Any kind of close combat is generally over in seconds. Only in boxing matches will two people hammer away at each other for minutes at a time.

                      Indiana Jones was bad about that. Those guys were taking hits that would knock the stoutest man out and they would get up and keep slugging.
                      A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rome was an excellent series, particularly when depicting the skills of the Roman soldiers.

                        Even without all the sex and bubble baths it would still have been terrific.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GhostSoldier View Post
                          'Master and Commander' has intense, seemingly realistic scenes depicting ship-to-ship combat from the age of "wooden ships and iron men".
                          It came closer than most did. I like how they portray the ship taking time to repair after the initial gun battle. Too many movies tend to show the ships ship shape and under full sail the next day. That being said they still had to have their cutting out party. I'm not saying it wasn't entertaining but boarding actions weren't that common. If you wanted to take a ship without sinking it grapeshot was the tool of choice. With each ship functioning like a fortress an over the top assault just isn't preferable as it favors the defender. Better to hammer him with grape until he surrenders.

                          Originally posted by GhostSoldier View Post
                          For swordplay and such...Hmmm?...I liked 'Braveheart' although I think that film has some "detractors" on this forum. I don't know. Although 'Rob Roy' was enjoyable and impressive, I find it hard to believe that some sword duels were so long-winded.
                          You are correct in your assessment of Rob Roy. They weren't.
                          A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                            Rome was an excellent series, particularly when depicting the skills of the Roman soldiers.

                            Even without all the sex and bubble baths it would still have been terrific.
                            Wow I didn't know Rome had some decent battle scenes. The first few bits I saw of it it looked more like a soap opera and I lost interest.
                            A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              Rome was an excellent series, particularly when depicting the skills of the Roman soldiers.

                              Even without all the sex and bubble baths it would still have been terrific.
                              I just watched the first season over the past week or two.

                              I agree. It's excellent.

                              I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Rome, particularly the late Republic period.
                              "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                              Homer


                              BoRG

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