Slate‘s Dennis Lim has put together an excellent video slide show on the evolution of Hollywood fight scenes. He explores how we got to the current vogue for jumpy, heavily-edited scenes, with stops along the way to look at The Big Country, Raging Bull, Natural Born Killers, The Matrix, The Bourne Ultimatum, etc.
My two favorites among Lim’s selections are the final Jake vs. Sugar Ray fight from Raging Bull, and the Big Country fist fight between Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck.
Old-fashioned as this may sound, I like my duke-out scenes cut so I can (gasp!) understand what’s going on. I’ve always loved the Bruce Willis vs. Alexander Gudonov tussle in Die Hard and yet I was totally fine with The Bourne Ultimatum. Where’s the fight scene from The Yards, which is one of the best ever by any standard?