Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze...and Why it's Awesome

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the staple of my childhood. I remember watching them during my Saturday morning cartoon regimen growing up. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it was a cartoon about these…well… teenage mutant ninja turtles that were human sized, and pretty epic fighters. They lived in the sewers, fought crime, and ate pizza. 

In the late 80's,  early 90's, they turned this cartoon series into a live action film…or…two…or three. To be honest, it wasn’t half bad. It had major plot holes, and was a little disturbing in that the live action ninja turtles freaked me out. However, it was fun to watch my cartoon come to life.

As you can imagine, these movies contained an incredible amount of stage combat. The fight scene I chose is the opening sequence for the second movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Check it out:

This fight is a serious fight gone gimmick. What is a gimmick fight? It’s basically any fight that contains some sort of main component that is a gag or mockery that turns what would ordinarily be incredibly serious, into more of joke. For instance, throughout this entire fight, you see the Ninja Turtles, fighting with yo-yos, pretending to be an inflatable punching bag, and yelling things like, “Combat Cold Cuts!” (as seen at 4:21). There is nothing wrong with a gimmick fight, especially when it is done correctly. This one was definitely well put-together.

What I like most about this fight is that they don’t leave anything unexplained. Sometimes, you’ll see a fight where there are people visibly “waiting” for the next move so they can continue with the choreography. But in this fight, even when there are fighters standing still, you can tell what is going on internally to make them stop in their tracks. For example, at 3:05, the bad guys stop and watch as Michelangelo shows them a trick with his yo-yo. While ordinarily this would not necessarily stop someone who is trying to kill you, within the context of the story, it makes sense. These bad guys are clearly not smart. In fact, one of them even takes their mask off when they are first told that they are “under arrest” (see 1:03). Not to mention the fact that they just left their trucks open for the world to see. (see 0:37) This suggests these criminals are complete idiots. So, why not stop when someone tells them to, in order to watch a trick?

I also really enjoyed watching the very first segment where the Pizza Guy wins his fight with three of the criminals. His attacks are all real martial arts moves, his form is good, and the timing of when he hits the bad guys and when they react is perfect. Also, as stated before, not once is there a moment where a bad guy is just standing around because he is waiting for the next move.

While the plot line in this movie is cheesy, it’s worth the watch just to see the fighting. It’s a very classic approach to stage combat with a twist of humor.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween: Sleepy Hollow

Halloween is my favorite holiday. As such, I find it only fitting that I should review a fight scene from a movie of the horror persuasion. I chose to look at this fight scene from Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tribute to Luis Tertocha

This post is long since due. About four months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing an accomplished entertainment lawyer named Luis Tertocha. It is my regret to say that, since that interview, he has passed away. It is my firm belief that the lives of those around us are to be celebrated and honored. So, in his memory, I would like to share my report I wrote those many months ago:

Luis Tertocha
Retrieved From:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movies: The First Fight

Like most children of the 90's, I loved the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where the exact appeal came from. Maybe it was the cool costumes, the "badass" girls, the epic adventures, or the cute boys, but something about the series drew me in and kept me watching every time it was on the television. Naturally, when the movie came out, I was ecstatic.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie was released in 1993. While quite young at the time, I still remember watching it over and over on our "high-tech" VHS player. As an adult, I still think it's pretty entertaining, if only for nostalgia. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Batman V. Bane

About a year ago we saw the release of the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Batman has been my favorite superhero since birth. So, when they started releasing updated movies, you can imagine I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to see how they would re-interpret my favorite childhood hero. While I don’t love everything they did with the series, they didn’t do a terrible job of re-inventing it. I think my biggest item of contention is Bane’s voice. In the latest movie, Bane sounds more like an upset monopoly man than an actual villain. Anyway, all of that aside, there are some epic fight scenes in the latest film. While many of these scenes are incredible, there is one that really upsets me. This is the fight between Bane and Batman in the underbelly of Gotham City. Take a look:

Catwoman v. Burglars (It's Happening)

Catwoman is a film that came out in the early 2000’s.  For those of you who have never seen it, you’re probably lucky. The plot of the film is loosely based on the back story behind the saucy Batman character, Catwoman. Unfortunately, the script is weak at best and you have to ignore the fact that it is not true to the comics. Needless to say, the film has received a lot of criticism.  However, that is not what I am here to do. I am focused on how well the fight scenes are performed and overall put together. So, without further ado, I give you the abridged fight scene between Catwoman and the Burglars:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Courting Stage Combat: Legal Liabilities

Anytime you engage in strenuous activity, there is a chance of getting hurt. This risk increases when the activity includes close physical contact between two individuals and/or weaponry in the mix. You’ve already heard me stress the importance of hiring a Fight Director to avoid injury.  However, it is also important to take great care whenever you are involved in any sort of stunt work.  This may sound like a, “duh” statement, but you’d be surprised how often personal injury and negligence cases arise after a stunt performer on stage is injured because someone cut corners or simply was not being cautious. Still don’t believe me? Let’s look at three court cases involving personal injury lawsuits by stage combatants or stunt performers.