If you give a character techniques that don’t match their physique or physical talents, the fight will look terrible and unnatural. All too often, film fights are too heavily choreographed, or the character performs skills unnatural to their physique or character, and the fights don’t match their world.
The image example to the left is our poster for “RELENTLESS”. Our signature character “The Ninja” (Alex Mishun: Gymnast/Diver/Parkour Expert), is pitted up against a band of unsuspecting S.W.A.T.
Our Ninja uses stealth, precision based attacks, acrobatics, and a unique talent to “teleport”, which is an exaggerated use of “ninja vanish”. The S.W.A.T.s however, rely on firepower, numbers, and shear strength to fight. They’re not martial artists, so their fighting style was raw and clumsy.
The fights had to be believable between the characters and their world. It was also designed to incorporate stylized editing in post. For our RELENTLESS films, we have currently 3 categories of Fighting Styles: “Ninja”; “S.W.A.T.”; and the newly developed “Bounty Hunter”, which will be featured in the next film.
To lose yourself in the moment, to hear the whisper of pain in your ear saying “Hello my friend… we meet again”. To constantly challenge yourself and strive for more, and never rest on your past accomplishments, that is something powerful.
Beyond the walls of the studio, there is our world full of beauty. To find a solitary place of beauty and magnificence… and to train with the elements of uneven earth, an unforgiving sun, wind, rain, or cold… that is where one discovers the art of training.
There is a difference between fighting in real life vs. fighting on the screen. Just as there is a difference between fighting in the ring/cage vs. on the street when there are no rules. A great deal of planning and safety requirements must be met, and if all the pieces fall together, you may just end up with a beautiful fight scene.
It is my firm belief that most martial artists make for terrible stunt actors. Often times, they are too rigid, or fixated on traditional techniques, and lack the ability to do anything other than what they know. In my experience, I have truly embraced the excitement and quality of working with Parkour Experts and Free Runners. This new breed of athlete is something to be admired and respected. They have the ability to adapt, fall, jump, twist, and attack. Their physical and mental control are amazing, and they can really take on the style of fight you need for your film or actor.
Whether I am training purely for the art, purely for myself… or I’m creating a fight scene for a film… I always focus on the beauty of attack, the stance, the gesture, the feeling of belonging to the world it’s in. I’ve always admired the beauty of combative arts, and I respect their lethality.