Action scenes are an integral part of modern-day cinema. The art of crafting heart-pumping action scenes in movies requires a mix of creativity, technical expertise and narrative finesse. Action scenes are important in movies since they keep the audience on the edge of their seats and provide a visual spectacle that makes the film more engaging. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key elements of crafting thrilling action scenes in movies.
Start with a Solid Storyline
Before we can talk about action scenes, it’s important to note that a solid storyline is essential to creating impactful action scenes. Any action scene must follow the arc of the story and serve to bring the audience closer to the climax. Without a compelling story or plot, even the most well-crafted action scenes will fall flat. The storyline must provide context to the action and motivate the characters so that the action is not just gratuitous but important to the narrative.
Create a Feeling of Realism
Even though action scenes in movies are often over-the-top, they must feel real to the audience. That means that they need to follow the laws of physics, gravity, and human capabilities. If an audience sees a character jump out of a 20-storey building and land without a scratch, they will not be impressed. Instead, crafting scenarios that feel real but are also exciting is key. A good example of this is the car chase scene in The French Connection where the smoke coming out of the car’s tires adds to the realism of the scene and makes the audience feel like they are right in the thick of things.
Create a Sense of Happening Now!
The timing of action scenes is just as important as the scene’s narrative. Action scenes are meant to create a sense of urgency and should be used to provide the audience with a real-time experience. For example, in The Bourne Identity when Jason Bourne is escaping from the embassy, the camera angles, the pacing, the intensity of the music and the editing are used to create a sense of urgency and immediacy. The viewer feels like they are experiencing everything right alongside Bourne.
Give Characters a Chance to Shine
Action scenes provide an excellent opportunity to showcase a character’s strengths and weaknesses. A well-crafted action scene should bring out the best and worst of a character. For example, the opening scene in Die Hard shows us the resourcefulness of the hero John McClane. Similarly, In Kill Bill Volume 1, the fight scene between The Bride and O’Ren Ishii showcases the different fighting styles and skill sets of the two characters, making both of them formidable in their own way.
Make It Easy to Follow
Finally, the audience must be able to follow the action scene from beginning to end. An action scene that is difficult to follow, or is cut too fast, can take away from the impact of the scene. A good example of this is the fight scene in the Bourne Ultimatum between Jason Bourne and Desh. The camera work is steady, and the movements are measured, giving the audience a clear view of what’s happening.
In conclusion, crafting heart-pumping action scenes in movies requires a mix of creative and technical expertise. A good action scene should be a seamless part of the narrative, feel realistic, create a sense of immediacy, and allow characters to shine. When done well, action scenes can elevate a film, creating excitement and leaving an audience on the edge of their seats.