Sunday, March 25, 2007

Action - Tone

One thing that always annoys me about action scenes is when they don't fit the tone of the story. You know, when you're reading a realistic lowkey story and then suddenly a nuclear missile explodes right next to the hero and all he gets is a flesh wound.

Occasionally that can work for shock value or comedic effect (think of the kickboxing priest in Braindead) but normally I find it jars me out of my enjoyment of the story.

Now I'm not saying I always get tone right when applying it to my action scenes but I do my best. If you look at the examples from my previous post 'The Noble Art' features boxing and so I based the action on ringcraft. I thought about the kinds of punches which work at close range and a typical boxing style response to nullifying those punches. We've all seen that a million times in real boxing matches, we know boxers use these moves, it suits the tone of the story. (When the story was online a couple of boxers actually posted comments praising me on the authenticity of the fight scenes.)

'One for Sorrow, Two for Joy' featured a Catwoman style heroine so I tried to give the action a slightly more comic book feel. Not entirely realistic but not full-on fantasy either. So the heroine's basic tactics are fairly sound but her moves are a little more flashy and martial artsified.

'The Master' was a Hong Kong chop socky pastiche so the moves are a lot more unrealistic. The emphasis was on trying to recreate the incredible energy and elaborate choreography of a Jackie Chan film. The techniques are strictly of the 'Don't try these at home' variety.

'Gladiator' has two highly trained martial artists mixing it up in a down and dirty streetfight. Kind of like the Cusack/Urquidez scrap in Grosse Pointe Blank (I forget offhand whether I wrote the story before seeing the film). Both fighters have some cool moves up their sleeves but they're not following the Marquis of Queensbury rules. There may be lots of skill involved but the fight doesn't look pretty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can I have ice with that?
Now I'm going to have to go back to a fight scene and think about it some more - thanks Stu!