Jessica Hrabowsky, Co-director of True Edge Stage Combat

I have often wondered if there was something wrong with me (yes all those with clever quips please make a line to the left and take a number) because I have always loved watching a good fight. And yes. I do mean in ‘real life’. But as there has been a long, slow decline of underground bare-knuckle boxing bouts in the South East London area in recent years (what with the ‘economy the way it is’ and all) I shall resort to talking about the next best alternative – the Movies.

I have been known to react verbally in a silent crowded movie theatre when an especially excellent hit or group fight with a loud ‘HA’ or a good old fashioned ‘ooooo’ much to the distress of my companions around me, but it isn’t something I can help. These reactions are a visceral and organic reaction to the pleasure I receive from watching something believable. Those reading this who have had some experience of stage combat, no matter how minimal have agreed to have the veil lifted and have been shown all the mirrors and wires behind the magic and admittedly some of the joy can be released, I think this is why I can’t help but really enjoy seeing something amazing in it’s brutality (yes, those of you in the line, hold on, you will get your moment later!). So, for the pleasure of the committee I would like to present the following list:

My top Ten Favourite Violent Acts on Film

10) The bare knuckle boxing in Snatch with Bad Pitt as ‘The Pikey’…but to be honest it is like 90% fight, 10% Brad Pitt without his top on…

9) Batman: The Dark Knight, you know, the moment where the Joker goes “do you want to see a magic trick” and then slams that guys head into the pencil that is stuck into the table…I literally watched it ten times in a row one Saturday night…I am that cool.

8) Tim Roth in Rob Roy, he moves like a shark and his fluidity with the blade is simultaneously fascinating and visually stimulating. Considering his height compared to that of Liam Neeson, he just stretches his legs and travels in and out with such speed that it just makes the fight that much more exciting with the contrasting dynamic of Mr. Neeson’s heavy movements.

7) The domestic fight in Nil By Mouth. It’s brutality is brilliant, also the fact that you don’t see the majority of the fight.  Domestic violence is always something that I have been very particular about because it is real and it happens every day to a huge percentage of people and I have a very strong belief that it should be respected when portrayed on stage and on film. It tells a real story. I have to put a 7b) on this…the punch from behind the door in Tyrannosaur…same reasons…more recent.

6) The fight in Troy between Achilles and Hector, the shape of the bodies while fighting and the intensity of the blows being delivered are mesmerizing, I think it really could be taken from the side of a vase…also the part when Achilles just runs up, leaps and shoves his blade downward into the neck of that big dude…that got an ‘HA’ for sure.

5) The boxing scenes in Million Dollar Baby. Nothing like watching a girl knock seven shade of poop (this is a family blog after all) out of someone.

4) Kick Ass…not only a girl but also a little girl kicking some ass. It puts the fun back in dysfunctional!

3) The Bond films…but only the ones with Daniel Craig. I love them. If I had to pick my favourite (please note for future readers this judgment is being made pre Skyfall) it would have to be the opening bathroom fight with the sink. I enjoy how they have made most of the new Bond fights more realistic and using found objects. The question I always ask myself when I am choreographing is “what do I want to do to you now?”

2) Bourne…all of it. End of. I am a Bourne geek.

1) Two words…Eastern Promises…. the fight in the steam room naked…is epic. It is raw. It is bloody and as I mentioned before…it is naked. I cannot comprehend the courage it takes to not only fight naked but fight naked with blades…yeah…it is that amazing.

So there you have it, my top ten…that I would also add the fight in Ted between Ted the Bear and Mark Wahlberg (which is modeled on the Bourne fights, believe it or not) so I guess think of it as my Top 10 point TED.

I encourage anyone to watch and make their own decisions because after all a good fight can mean something different to different people as it is a story telling technique and all good fights tell some sort of story. I invite you to add your own top ten here…then we can all be fight geeks together…maybe we can get t-shirts.


3 comments so far

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  1. Reading No. 9 made me cringe!

    • Ahhh, but cringe because you remember that moment or cringe because you think…. what is she thinking?

  2. Good piece of writing. Made me laugh out loud.