Fight · This Weekend

The Martial Arts Behind Hollywood's Greatest Fights

January 24, 2020

How much better would “Shakespeare in Love” be if Gwyneth Paltrow had thrown a tornado kick or two into ole’ Billy’s jaw? Or how about a Muy Thai match in the second act of Titanic?

Alas, we must settle for the few gems a year Hollywood cranks out that feature heart-pounding martial art fight sequences. But how authentic are these martial arts, showcased by our favorite actors? We’ve all seen the behind-the-scenes footage where the sweaty actor claims to have spent hours on end training with an expert, but does all that training actually translate to film? The answer is surprisingly nuanced.

Most films that feature a lot of choreographed fight sequences frequently use a combination of many different martial art styles. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the fact that no one martial art looks that great on film. It takes a variety of styles to make the spectacular fight scenes that movie-goers love. Here’s an inside look at some of Hollywood’s most iconic uses of martial arts.

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