En garde!
January 27, 2015 2:21 PM   Subscribe

They really are mostly pretty bad, aren't they!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 2:25 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

The samurai movie version of this is three minutes of guys standing perfectly still and glaring at each other, then for one second, a 50-way split screen of guys getting cut in half.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

and the sound-track, 50 pieces of cardboard being torn
posted by idiopath at 2:42 PM on January 27, 2015

Did Errol Flynn get cut?
posted by biffa at 2:43 PM on January 27, 2015

There was that archery post from a few days ago, where the dude's thesis (regardless of whether or not you buy it) was "we have lost touch knowledge of the way people who actually had to do archery on a daily basis used to do archery, and the style archers use now is adapted for totally different things". Archers nowadays aren't doing archery business. They're target shooting, or they're aping techniques developed for target shooting.

It's kind of interesting to realize that, in the case of some wild science fiction apocalypse scenario that eliminates, e.g., guns and whatnot as reliable and convenient-at-hand weapons, people would start fighting with swords and clubs. And when they did, they would start out by emulating the swordfights they'd seen on TV and in movies.

So the first generation of swordfighters would be almost entirely useless at swordfighting, and they'd injure themselves and ruin their swords and basically just be terrible at the thing they're trying to do. Because they wouldn't be doing sword business — they would be pretending to pretend.
posted by penduluum at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

Loved the fact that the black knight made an appearance, but I would have ended it with this. It's what I'm always thinking when I see so much dancin' insteda-fightin!
posted by Poldo at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2015

No My Favorite Year? I guess the bad guys in that didn't have swords....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's better in slow-mo.
posted by uosuaq at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2015

No The Court Jester? ::sadface:: Danny Kaye hadn't even known to do it before this picture and Basil Rathbone, a master screen swordsman, was duly impressed with him.
posted by droplet at 4:01 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Apparently movies started around 1980.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2015

Swords don't run out of bullets. -Hiro Protagonist

Actually the fencing is really really well done in a bunch of those clips, The Duelist and Princess Bride have great fencing. not really fighting...but really fighting--as in an accurate representation on film--would make for much shorter fight scenes. reminds me of this article from iO9.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:42 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

There's a reason The Duellists looks so good: William Hobbs.
posted by valkane at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2015

Apparently movies started around 1980.

Both Adventures of Robin Hood and Seven Samurai were in there, as it should be.

I just watched Zatoichi for the first time a couple of weeks ago, so it was nice to see that in there too.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:15 PM on January 27, 2015

Both Adventures of Robin Hood and Seven Samurai were in there, as it should be.

Yeah but it was pretty heavily weighted toward crappy modern movies.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2015

Yeah but it was pretty heavily weighted toward crappy modern movies.

And even then, they didn't include the sword fight from DieAnother Day! (Which was actually a decent one)
posted by FJT at 6:14 PM on January 27, 2015

Movie swordfighting just never conveys the sense of just how terrifying a sword is as a weapon. It is a really, really big and sharp knife designed to cut and stab you to death. Getting hit by one just once, on any part of your body, is going to be a life-changing experience at least. Fencing makes swords seem so harmless, fun even! So springy.
posted by bgribble at 7:02 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

D'Artagnan dueling his mortal enemy Rochefort on ice, in the '70s version of the Three Musketeers. No one can maintain footing well enough to get a solid thrust in. I always found it both really funny and really frustrating to watch--it's all anticlimax.
posted by mark k at 8:01 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised no one has linked the worst robot sword fight in movie history yet.
posted by surazal at 8:33 PM on January 27, 2015

I was going to come to this thread to piss all over this supercut, as many have, for decoupling the emotion, the storytelling from the swordfight. I don't care if it's CGI Jedi or two of seven samurai, a swordfight tells a story. Short, long, clumsy, elegant, finished by first blood or ultimate death, a swordfight is a tale in and of itself, and how could you possibly get that in a supercut?

But the editor did a decent job of explicating the bog-standard movie duel.

1) Standoff!
2) Initial assessing of talent.
3) Furious exchange of tests of capability, possibly with blood.
4) Realization that we're in for the long haul.
5) Wide shot of the ongoing battle... has it been seconds? Minutes? Hours? Years?
5a) Possible cuts from exhaustion.
5b) Possible RAZZLE-DAZZLE
6) Tiny flaws revealed, usually someone's tired or just careless. But the blood starts to flow.
7) We know it's checkmate in 6 moves, but we have to play it out.
8) Climax. Sometimes a come from behind victory, but mostly, the long arc of the history of this fight bends towards the hero.

So yes, a supercut of swordfights, but also a supercut of the parts of a swordfight.

I like this. I want Tony Zhou to do a sequence of it. I also want someone to long-cut all the lightsaber battles, so there's no intercutting. Get on that, Internet.

Thumbs up; would avenge my deceased biological/adoptive parent/lover again for this.
posted by aureliobuendia at 9:56 PM on January 27, 2015

Action Women Movie Montage
posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've always had a visceral, powerfully condescending hatred towards kung-fu fight scenes of the "Crouching Tiger Hidden Guide-Wire" variety. It took me until a couple years ago to puzzle out why.

For me, an American, when I think of "fantasy," I think of LotR, Dragon Lance, etc. There's magic and old dudes with totally righteous beards. In the Chinese films, they don't have that clear bifurcation of physical martial prowess and ancient mystical powers wrought from the fabric of reality. The idea of Legolas randomly Superman flying to Mordor to have a silly steel slap fight with a bunch of orcs is absolutely idiotic. In my mind, kung fu movies were always "historical action/drama" first, and "fantasy action" second. WTF Chinese people, KUNG FU MASTERS COULD NOT FLY OR GRAB SWORDS!

For me, it was always like having Abraham Lincoln fly around blasting dinosaurs with a laser gun and a jet pack; so fucking stupidly absurd that you can't help but take it ironically (like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).

I enjoy the visual of Lincoln with a jetpack that I refuse to expand my cultural horizons.
posted by GoingToShopping at 4:06 AM on January 28, 2015

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