If you’ve seen any SciFi or fantasy films over the last 20 years, you know the fight scenes are ridiculous and unbelievable. When did it become okay for archers to make impossible shots time after time, sometimes with two arrows fired from the same bow at once (Legolas in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings)? When did it become okay for characters to routinely do acrobatic stunts that defy the laws of physics? When did it become okay for characters to be struck by something massive, hurled fifty feet, land hard, and then get up as if nothing happened?
I’ll tell you when: Hercules, the Legendary Journeys. I remember first catching this TV show in the 1990s and laughing at the stupidity of Hercules sending someone flying that far and them getting up, no broken ribs, death, or anything else the matter with them. At least the 50-foot throw made some sense, since it was Hercules. After several minutes thinking, “God this is stupid,” I realized the producers and directors were well aware of that and exaggerating for comedic effect. I got over it and laughed with them. This was part of their genius, I think, as they got us to laugh with them instead of at them. The smash hit Xena: Warrior Princess soon followed and made that silliness a household thing.
And now we’re stuck with it.
The scenes aren’t an accident. It takes a lot planning, animation, and actors being filmed after extensive rehearsal.
Without risk, there’s no dramatic tension to a fight scene. Why should anyone care what happens? The irony is that I suspect the producers/directors are going so over the top in an effort to keep our attention but are actually causing us to tune out.
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