Who are you?
My name’s Eric Spratling.
I’m just some dude.
What do you do here?
I grade fight scenes!
No kidding. What criteria do you grade them on?
I consider not just the choreography but everything that goes into making the scene what it is:
· how the scene is shot
· how it sounds (both music & sound effects)
· how it’s paced
· how it’s edited
· how well the actors & stuntmen sell it
· how it’s set up
· how believable it is (in realistic terms and/or within the world of the story)
· how well the dialogue (or lack thereof) in it works
· how satisfactory it is to the story
And more! All as applicable, of course. Note that last criterion: I do not have one specific, objective standard which I apply across all fights. I judge each fight for how well it accomplishes what it tries to accomplish and/or should be accomplishing, and all within the context of the story.
With each entry I will try to grade all the noteworthy fight scenes in a specific movie or, if more practical, across an entire franchise. On occasion I will break from that and call out specific fights from media which I found exemplary or worth discussion.
Isn’t this all subjective?
Of course. I try as best as I can to step back and take a reasonable, measured view of a scene’s components. If something resonates with me personally, I will say so, and explain why.
What constitutes a “fight scene”?
Hard to pin down. It can be an impromptu duel to the death or a sanctioned sporting match; unarmed or with any manner of bladed/blunt weapons; one-on-one or melee. Sometimes it can even be godlike superheroes blasting each other through cities, but only when we’re very lucky.
Not every “action sequence with a violent conflict” qualifies, though. No car chases or large-scale war sequences, for instance. No shootouts, but small-scale gunfights *might* count, under limited circumstances. Nothing that is completely one-sided and brief, either, such as a simple assault or an unexpected murder.
What makes you the expert?
Nothing in particular. But no one else was doing this, so.
I will say right now that while I know a few things, I claim no special expertise in fields such as martial arts, fencing, medicine, munitions, or metallurgy. I am not a violent person and frankly I’m not even in very good physical shape.
I do consider myself very well-versed in movies & entertainment, but again I will not claim to have any mastery in this field. I just like to be entertained without being treated like an idiot. And I love a good fight scene.
Why are you doing this?
Aren’t you just criticizing other people’s hard work?
Criticism, properly done & understood, is not merely complaining about what we don’t like but also about celebrating what we love. And as I said, I love a good fight scene.