Watching Daredevil, currently. It's a great, great show. I loved the first season, and I think I like the second season, even more. It's more drama-focused, and there's a love-triangle (groan) but it works. There's still fighting, a lot of fighting. Here's where I have a complaint or two:
I think that super heroes and fighters should have signature moves. Perhaps it's not realistic because it implies an element of predictability that isn't good in a real fight, for the danger of being telegraphed, but every fighter of any style is going to have an arsenal of oft-repeated, standard-issue combat maneuvers, to some degree. Whatever works. But in movies, it's fun when there's something that a fighter does, that's especially cool, like Bruce Lee's flying sidekick or Wong Fei Hung/Jet Li's Shadowless Kick, Ken's flaming dragon punch, Van Damme's Helicopter Kick, or Goku's Kamehameha.
But if they do it over and over repeatedly it can get stale. And as much as I like Daredevil, I swear, the guy does this weird 360-flip kick so many times. It was cool at first, but now it's kind of boring because he does it seemingly in every fight. Aside from the boredom factor, constant overuse implies that it works in any situation and I don't think that's true. Granted, he does it typically as a coup de grâce, but even so, it's getting old. I realize it's a show and shows have flashy fighting because people love that stuff.
Bruce Lee once said, "In practice, kick high; when fighting, kick low." And there's so many high kicks and kicks to the head against men with clubs and knives. You'd have to be incredibly fast to be able to land a kick like that before your opponent would have time to blink; that's what it's take, essentially, because he's going to take less time stabbing you as you kick him than your foot is going to take, traveling towards his head. It's a simple matter of distance traveled. Also, head-kicks generally aren't subtle, and while they are certainly possible to pull off (the scorpion kick being my favorite) it's just a dangerous maneuver against someone whose expecting it. Generally speaking, you can't just walk up to someone and kick them in the head. Maybe an amateur or a non-combatant, but against a trained fighter or someone used to combat, you're just going to be unnecessarily exposing yourself.
OK, OK. It's a show. These are minor nit-picks, but I feel like I have to point them out. I'm also bugged by Elektra. The actress is fine, but she just doesn't feel convincing in the fighting department. There are women who can. Someone like Gina Carano can look sexy and kick major ass (and look convincing doing it); this actress is not like Gina.
Also, Dardevil is pitted against many, many criminals armed with Uzis and sub-machine guns. Yet he throws his batons around, akin to Bruce Lee's darts in Return of the Dragon, or that red bouncy-ball in Rambu: the Intruder. This season, he hasn't really fought anyone and met his match, and it's a little disappointing so far. Even Bruce took his licks in the Colosseum when fighting Chuck Norris. Granted, Bruce was basically untouchable for the rest of the film, but he's a superb martial artist wizard. The actor who plays Daredevil conveniently wears a mask, making me wonder if there's the occasional cut to a stunt double to do the more difficult fancy kicks and flips. My favorite fights with Daredevil are the extended, single-take ones in the style of Oldboy. At least then, I can be impressed by the skill of the filmmakers. It's generally pretty good stuff, though again, with his upgraded armor, Daredevil seems to take less of a beating than usual, the exception being his fights with the Punisher, who, unlike everyone else, hits his target by shooting Daredevil in the face. What's even cooler about that is he admits he could have killed Daredevil but chose not to. That feels more realistic to me. Rock, paper, scissors; or gun, fist, and gun beats fist. Again, in the words of Bruce Lee, "Why doesn't someone take out a .45 and bang, settle it?"
All-in-all, a great show, and not just for the fighting. There's actually some decent courtroom drama and romance this time around, too. I just wish there was more Punisher.
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