Friday, July 22, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! Bridget Jones's Diary: Daniel Cleaver vs. Mark Darcy

This week's FSF - the latest in our series on fight scenes - is by Jess from French Toast Sunday! Check out her other posts here.

There's so many typical directions to take the theme of fight scene. There's plenty of action movie fight scenes that I could praise effusively, but when I saw the prompt for this and started considering some options I was surprised that this scene came to mind so quickly. I truly adore Bridget Jones's Diary and think it's one of the best romantic comedies ever. I know that title may not hold a lot of weight with many, but it's a genre that has some gems. Bridget Jones is certainly one of them.


It's got a likeable but imperfect lead, and not in the way most rom com heroines are where she just trips a lot. Bridget has some big flaws and is quite crass, but she's hilarious and relatable. The story follows her romantic misadventures, pining after her rakish boss Daniel Cleaver while the constant presence of the less charismatic Mark Darcy lingers in her periphery. After Daniel predictably reveals his ugly side and hurts Bridget, she and Mark finally click and make a connection that proves they may actually be compatible. It might not be the most unique territory for this sort of movie, but it works really well with Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth bringing a lot to the table. 

After all of Bridget's misadventures, she finally seems like she might be heading towards happiness.That's until the tension between her two love interests comes to a boil when they both end up at her house at the same time. Throughout the movie you find out they've had their own unfriendly history over another woman (because of course), and it's finally come to a head.

There's just something extremely satisfying about watching two proper Englishman fist fight in the street. I'm not talking a post-football tumble between tough men who'll probably stab each other with a broken beer bottle if my stereotypes are correct, but two men in suits who have no business raising fists. They have no idea what they're doing when they're not throwing sucker punches. Grant and Firth display funny physical comedy and because it's a rom com a crowd gathers and "It's Raining Men" is the soundtrack. The fight is interrupted by a restaurant singing "Happy Birthday". It's so damn silly, but I'm such a sucker for the whole scene.

What's your favorite scene from Bridget Jones's Diary?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Favourite Scene Friday! Wheels on Meals: Jackie Chan vs. Benny "The Jet" Urquidez

Today's FSF, the latest in our series of fight scenes, is by FSF newcomer Tony Cogan from Coogs Reviews! You can follow Tony on Twitter at @tonycoogs.

When I decided to do a piece for Favourite Scene Friday, I knew that I wanted to do a fight scene, mainly one that focused on hand to hand combat, but originally I had a hard time choosing one. Should I go with the fight between Rama, Andi and Mad Dog from The Raid, the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris from Return of the Dragon or go a different track and into one of the boxing matches from the Rocky series or Raging Bull. In the end though, there was only really one fight scene that I could choose, one that I feel is the greatest hand to hand fight scene committed to film, that being the fight between Jackie Chan and Benny "The Jet" Urquidez in Wheels on Meals.


Now for full disclosure, I haven't actually seen Wheels on Meals. I first found out about this fight scene when I was watching videos about fight scenes done by Jackie Chan in general and this one always stood out for me from the brief clips I saw in the original video. So I eventually watched the full fight and I was so impressed by what I saw. The main thing that has always impressed me about this fight is the speed that Chan and Urquidez fight at, mixed in with the choreography of the fight. So many moments in the fight look like they were planned down to the millisecond to ensure that each punch and kick had full weight behind it, particularly the moment when Urquidez kicks and at that split second Chan kicks as well, his kick connecting with Urquidez. Of course the highlight in terms of the speed of the fighters is when Urquidez delivers a kick so swift that the wind generated by it blows out a set of candles. There is no trick photography here, Urquidez is just that good with his kicks.

As I said before, the choreography and speed give real weight to the punches and kicks, enhanced by the use of slow motion. Every hit that Chan and Urquidez get on each other looks intensely painful and this helps make the part when Chan gains the upper hand, especially after getting owned by Urquidez early on, all the more impactful. When the synthesisers and electric guitars kick in in the second half of this scene, it lets you know that the fight is going to shift Chan's way. The way he taunts Urquidez, baiting him so that he can gain the upper hand, is a brilliant piece of martial arts choreography.

This is just an expertly executed fight scene, the speed and strength at which Chan and Urquidez fight is mind boggling to see, the choreography is outstanding, and there's a part of me that loves the cheesy honour that ends the fight with Chan pulling Urquidez in after he's knocked out of a window. That's the kind of cheese that I like seeing in fight scenes and it's what helped make this probably my favourite hand to hand fight scene.

What's your favorite Jackie Chan fight scene?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! King Kong: Kong vs. the Dinosaurs

All month long we'll be looking at fight scenes for FSF! So tune in every Friday for some brawling.

When Robert told me this month we were celebrating our favourite fight scenes in film, I took my usual tactic of trying to work out how I could crowbar in a Jurassic Park scene somewhere. Other than a brief but pivotal climactic showdown, the first JP movie is largely devoid of small-scale confrontations, as is The Lost World, and if you think I'm even going to consider the T-Rex vs Spinosaurus debacle from JP3 then clearly you don't know my feelings on that travesty. Jurassic World has the awesome fight at the end, but still it didn't feel quite worthy of this list, so I sought for some dino-on-something carnage elsewhere, and I think I struck giant furry gold with Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong.
Sanjulian via

WI think I'd consider this my favourite "long" (read: more than 3 hours) films, with Titanic, Magnolia and The Green Mile following closely behind in an undetermined order, and it's one I deeply regret not seeing in the cinemas, being released at a time where films didn't seem all that important to me. Now I see it as the visually astounding if a little drawn out action-adventure-romance spectacle that it is.

In the scene in question, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) has been brought to the mysterious Skull Island to shoot on location for a new film, but she has been kidnapped by the giant ape Kong (motion-captured by Andy Serkis), who took a liking to her ability to scream louder and more shrilly than anyone has ever screamed before. Now, Ann has attempted to escape Kong's capture, only to run into a giant Vastatosaurus Rex, or V-Rex for short, but fortunately Kong is on hand to save her. The trouble is, there's more than one V-Rex around:

I love this scene, in fact I love pretty much the whole movie, but this scene has always been one of the stand-outs for me. The action is so kinetic yet fluid, and the choreography makes great use of the environment and the specific movement abilities of the combatants. Kong uses all four limbs and his jaws to his best advantage, all the while having to keep Ann safe from the monstrous beasts, who in turn attack the great ape with everything they have. I've never been a wrestling fan but this fight reminds me a great deal of wrestling matches, particularly with Kong throwing the dinosaurs around and body-slamming into them. Kong's opening gambit is awesome too, swinging round to deliver the first V-Rex a massive kick to the face, then landing, catching Ann as she falls from a ledge, and sailing her just out of reach of the attacker's snapping jaws; it's almost balletic.

I enjoy the entrances of the other two dinosaurs as well, each adding something to the overall scene. As Kong fends off the first guy he keeps Ann well out of its reach, only for her to spot number two approaching from the distance (slurping up the remains of his last meal seen in a previous scene), thus adding even more tension as she must somehow alert Kong of this newcomer's presence before it eats her. Then, once Kong has marginally subdued both attackers and retreats in a near stalemate position, number three attacks from behind, instigating round two of the whole bloody affair. The clip above ends with all involved falling into a mesh of vines, which in itself leads to a tremendous scene with one dinosaur swinging trying to get Ann whilst Kong dangles with another V-Rex below, but unfortunately I couldn't find a clip of that. Instead there is this clip of what happens when Kong is left one-on-one, Kongo e Dino, with his last opponent:

This is where it gets a bit brutal, but damn if Kong's finishing move isn't effective. Plus, and this is something I missed the first few times I watched it, but Kong rips out the V-Rex's tongue with his own damn teeth. That is badass.

What's your favorite scene giant monster fight?