Samuel L. Jackson Thinks Force Awakens Actors Need "Lightsaber Fight School"

StewShearerOld

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Jan 5, 2013
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Samuel L. Jackson Thinks Force Awakens Actors Need "Lightsaber Fight School"

Samuel L. Jackson was less than impressed with the lightsaber fights in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens has proven to be both <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/moviesandtv/reviews/cinemarter/15178-Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Review>a critical hit and <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/165663-Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Pushes-Past-1-Billion>a box office juggernaut, there are many out there who harbor (arguably valid) criticisms of the film. Standing among them it would seem, is none other than Jedi Master Mace Windu himself, actor Samuel L. Jackson.

Speaking in an interview on a recent segment of ABC's Popcorn With Peter Travers, Jackson was asked his impressions of The Force Awakens. Initially, Jackson was relatively complimentary, stating that the new movie succeeded in capturing "the spirit" of the franchise. After some nudging from Travers however, he admitted to being a tad less than impressed with the film's lightsaber duels. "I think the kids need to go to lightsaber fight school," he said. He then added, "They've got time to get better."

Jackson, of course, isn't the first to offer up this particular piece of criticism. He's also not wrong. The saber duels in the movie are markedly slower and less acrobatic than the ones featured in the prequel films and other recent Star Wars media. Speaking personally though, I kind of prefer it that way. While there's no denying that the fight choreography from the sequels was impressive, it also frequently looked like something practiced. The fights were too dance-like, often lasted way too long and just didn't feel like the people involved were actually trying to kill each other. The fights in The Force Awakens were perhaps less dynamic but were, in my opinion, more visceral and closer in tone to the ones featured in the original trilogy. What did you guys think when you saw the film? Were you left feeling like they were lackluster or were you on board for more stripped down saber duels?

Source: <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgr0LK6HVYM>Popcorn With Peter Travers


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Devin Barker

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Yah... because none of the people in this movie were trained by masters... the fights in eps 4,5, and 6 were slow too. Lightsaber dules are a "lost art" at this point. I actually thought the film did a great job of bridging the fights between the orig trig and prequels.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Devin Barker said:
Yah... because none of the people in this movie were trained by masters... the fights in eps 4,5, and 6 were slow too. Lightsaber dules are a "lost art" at this point. I actually thought the film did a great job of bridging the fights between the orig trig and prequels.
In fact, only one of the three lightsaber wielders have any prior experience with using a lightsaber and is also the only one who might have had any sort of formal training with them. That particular character is also explicitly not fully trained. It shows in the choreography of the fight, where the two untrained characters use the sabers inefficiently, telegraph their attacks and generally seem as if they barely know how to hold the weapon. The trained character wields the saber better but also uses an inefficient technique. I'd argue that it is actually intentional that the duel scenes look like none of the actors had any real weapon training prior to filming.
 

Lightknight

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One fighter had a stomach wound at the time and the others had almost no experience with the thing...

So yes... yes they do need to go to school for it.

Now, I'll tell you who really needed to go to school. Darth Maul. He passed his own lightsaber through his body more times than we can reasonably count without rewinding more than five times.
 

JimB

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The only fights are between a gut-shot punk and two untrained amateurs. I take the lack of polish on the fights as a deliberate choice, like that scene in John Q when Denzel fumbles the gun as he pulls it from his belt.
 

Casual Shinji

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For a highly choreographed dance routine... No, it wasn't very impressive.

For a fight to the death though, you could do way worse... like the Prequels.
 

Devin Barker

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Gethsemani said:
Devin Barker said:
Yah... because none of the people in this movie were trained by masters... the fights in eps 4,5, and 6 were slow too. Lightsaber dules are a "lost art" at this point. I actually thought the film did a great job of bridging the fights between the orig trig and prequels.
In fact, only one of the three lightsaber wielders have any prior experience with using a lightsaber and is also the only one who might have had any sort of formal training with them. That particular character is also explicitly not fully trained. It shows in the choreography of the fight, where the two untrained characters use the sabers inefficiently, telegraph their attacks and generally seem as if they barely know how to hold the weapon. The trained character wields the saber better but also uses an inefficient technique. I'd argue that it is actually intentional that the duel scenes look like none of the actors had any real weapon training prior to filming.
You get me
 

Enrathi

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I came to post that only one person involved had partial training and was wounded while the other two had never used one before (OK, technically Finn did, but he got his ass kicked by that Riot Trooper anyway), but everyone else beat me to it already.
 

bluegate

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Lightknight said:
Now, I'll tell you who really needed to go to school. Darth Maul. He passed his own lightsaber through his body more times than we can reasonably count without rewinding more than five times.
Never noticed, where would this be, exactly?

People can say about the prequels what they like, personally I liked the lightsaber duels in the prequels, they helped sell the image of what fully trained Jedi were, people with inhuman strength, agility, reflexes and foresight.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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Sure, the lightsaber duel didn't look all that acrobatic and impressive, but you know what it did look like? A real fight. An amateur fight perhaps, but a real fight nonetheless.

 

Balkan

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But Mr. Plinkett said that lightsaber fights should be shitty flailing, so I also think that.
 

RJ Dalton

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I'm with you on that one. The long lightsaber fights in the prequels didn't do anything for me. The duels are supposed to be more intimate. If you look at the original movies, every time someone there was a duel, there was something personal going on between the two characters. The prequels looked nice, but they didn't amount to anything because the characters had no established relationships to each other.
And the choreography was too over the top for me to really buy it.
 

DocJ

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The thing I found most, shall we say annoying about the fights, is that when they swung the lightsabers, it looked like a broadsword. As in, it had a heavy heft to it. Lightsabers, lorewise, were so light and so unlike other melee weapons, that they took so long to master. I think they had it backwards in the movie, the swings were slow where they should have been fast. If they wanted to show inexperience they could have swung the blade too far, leaving themselves open.

TLDR: The swings should have been much faster for the weight of the weapon, they looked too slow.
 

JayRPG

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Most of you in the thread are thinking about this entirely wrong. You're justifying/reasoning why the duels were so bad with everything plot-wise in the movie but none of it really had to be in the movie to begin with.

Finn didn't need to be a stormtrooper, Kylo didn't need to be undertrained, Rey didn't need to have not had training. After seeing the movie 3 times I felt as though they almost didn't want to put lightsabers in it at all, much less have people fight with them.

It's almost as if every plot point and bit of lore in the movie is designed so they didn't have to have lightsaber duels, and what is the point exactly? Lightsabers are one of, if the not the, most popular parts of the Star Wars franchise, I'm sure they could have written a billion and one different things into the movie to give fans a decent duel.. how about not completely removing the Sith from existence for a start.

And on that point, if the Sith really have been completely and utterly destroyed and replaced with the Knights of Ren, I'm done with Star Wars, that would have to be the stupidest fucking decision of all time, the Sith are Star Wars just as much as Jedi are... who cares if the KoR are basically Sith, it would be like episode 8 replacing all Jedi with "Peacekeepers" or some bullshit.

Hello, there were such things as Sith purebloods, there is a Sith code, there is a Sith homeworld, it has always been the Jedi and the Sith, 2 sides of the same coin.

To be honest, the more I think about Force Awakens, the more I hate it.
 

RobotDinosaur

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Gethsemani said:
Devin Barker said:
Yah... because none of the people in this movie were trained by masters... the fights in eps 4,5, and 6 were slow too. Lightsaber dules are a "lost art" at this point. I actually thought the film did a great job of bridging the fights between the orig trig and prequels.
In fact, only one of the three lightsaber wielders have any prior experience with using a lightsaber and is also the only one who might have had any sort of formal training with them. That particular character is also explicitly not fully trained. It shows in the choreography of the fight, where the two untrained characters use the sabers inefficiently, telegraph their attacks and generally seem as if they barely know how to hold the weapon. The trained character wields the saber better but also uses an inefficient technique. I'd argue that it is actually intentional that the duel scenes look like none of the actors had any real weapon training prior to filming.
Agreed. Also, the one guy who did have Force training was a Sith with a claymore-lightsaber and anger management issues. I figured his preference for brutal power swings over finesse is a style he chose rather than a lack of training. Fits the character, and it'd actually serve him well since prior to the movie there's practically no one with enough finesse to expose any weakness in Ren's technique.
 

remnant_phoenix

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StewShearer said:
While there's no denying that the fight choreography from the [prequels] was impressive, it also frequently looked like something practiced. The fights were too dance-like, often lasted way too long and just didn't feel like the people involved were actually trying to kill each other. The fights in The Force Awakens were perhaps less dynamic but were, in my opinion, more visceral and closer in tone to the ones featured in the original trilogy.
This is pretty much exactly what I said after I saw the movie. The Force Awakens lightsaber fights were my favorite so far. More visceral and fun to watch than the original trilogy, but not over-choreographed and lacking in dramatic intensity like the in the prequel trilogy. And it's a small thing, but the idea that one could inflict more minor wounds--just like in a real-life swordfight--was a great touch, whereas fights in Episode I-VI it was always clash-clash-clash for a looooong time followed by dismemberment or death.
 

StewShearerOld

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I don't mind them being slower, he acrobatics were shit.
Clumsy? Again, sure, except for Kylo, he should have been better.
 

Zipa

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remnant_phoenix said:
StewShearer said:
While there's no denying that the fight choreography from the [prequels] was impressive, it also frequently looked like something practiced. The fights were too dance-like, often lasted way too long and just didn't feel like the people involved were actually trying to kill each other. The fights in The Force Awakens were perhaps less dynamic but were, in my opinion, more visceral and closer in tone to the ones featured in the original trilogy.
This is pretty much exactly what I said after I saw the movie. The Force Awakens lightsaber fights were my favorite so far. More visceral and fun to watch than the original trilogy, but not over-choreographed and lacking in dramatic intensity like the in the prequel trilogy. And it's a small thing, but the idea that one could inflict more minor wounds--just like in a real-life swordfight--was a great touch, whereas fights in Episode I-VI it was always clash-clash-clash for a looooong time followed by dismemberment or death.
Thats why I liked the fight between Dooku and Obi Wan in Episode 2, it was over quickly and Dooku ended it by inflicting relatively minor glancing wounds on Kenobi.
 

LazyAza

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The entire point of the duels in the new movie was to make them less ridiculously acrobatic and over the top and to be more grounded in believable realistic physical ability. Never mind that all the characters wielding them in the movie were inexperienced 20 somethings.

God between this and people bitching about Kylo not being as cool as Vader (LITERALLY THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT OF HIS CHARACTER) I feel like 50% of those who went to see Force Awakens didn't watch the movie correctly.

How on earth do you fuck that up haha.
 

RealRT

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Yup, completely agree with Jackson here. If you can't have a good lightsaber duel, don't have one at all.
Casual Shinji said:
For a highly choreographed dance routine... No, it wasn't very impressive.

For a fight to the death though, you could do way worse... like the Prequels.
You could do way worse with way superior-looking duels? That's an interesting oxymoron you got there.