Attack of the Cack: Danny Cackley’s Top Five Fight

Flying V Fights

Hey ya’ll,

Danny Cackley here. Ensemble/Collaborator and all around stage combat nerd. I thought I’d take this opportunity (as we’re in the thick of devising and choreographing our show) to share some of my favorite filmed fight moments.
This kind of goes without saying, but a lot of these fights are the culminating moments of these films, or they have serious spoilers; so if you haven’t seen these movies and you would like to remain unspoiled…maaaaaybe go watch the movies first, and then come back!!

“Troy” — Hector vs. Achilles

First up: “Troy”, because who doesn’t love watching an oiled Brad Pitt leap through the air. This fight makes great use of multiple weapons and several distinct movement styles. The fight begins with spear and shield, which show off the character’s use of ranged weapons, and then moves to sword and shield. I’ve been told that one reason there is a fair amount of time in between sequences is that Brad Pitt was a heavy smoker during this shoot, and he had trouble doing the entire fight in one go. So they had to take A LOT of breaks. Also, they filmed this sequence LAST, after originally telling Richard Ryan (the choreographer and head of the stunt team) that it would be shot first. So the stunt team had a TON of time to work on the fight and make it kick ass.

“Rob Roy” — Robert Roy MacGregor vs. Archibald Cunningham

This fight is maybe the gold standard for a lot of people, myself included. It’s not a perfect fight, but it does an incredible job of showing two skilled combatants, one testing the other and one taking a LOT of damage. Similar to “Troy” there is a significant amount of time where the two fighters separate and then size each other up before coming in and attacking. I think the pacing is BRILLIANT. The end is GRUESOME.

“Stardust” — Tristan vs. Septimus

This fight is a bit lighter in tone, and has some fairly hilarious choreo. Also choreographed by Richard Ryan (who also did the fights in “Dark Knight” and is currently working on “Vikings”), this fight pits a supernatural opponent against our young skilled protagonist. Fun fact: some of the effects where it looks like one fighter is being dragged around by an invisible string were accomplished by literally putting the stuntman in a rolling chair, and then editing it out in post.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — Yu Shu Lien Vs. Jiao Long

Multiple weapons ABOUND. Jiao Long fights with the Green Destiny sword, which is a traditional Chinese longsword.  I love the story-telling every time Shu Lien changes weapons, watching her try and gain a tactical advantage. The speed and dexterity of both women is phenomenal. The camera work and choreography is stunning.

“The Princess Bride” — The Man in Black vs. Inigo Montoya

One of the stories I love about this fight is that both Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin were both so excited that they trained for months, so they wouldn’t be replaced by stuntmen. They pushed themselves, and in the end they did the whole thing. Ambidextrous fighting. And excellent use of terrain.

“The Court Jester” — Hawkins vs. Lord Ravenhurst

Had to throw this one in – Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone in a laugh-yourself-silly sword fight. Danny Kaye plays a hapless former acrobat, masquerading as a jester/assassin, and finds himself under the spell of a witch. At the snap of anyone’s fingers he goes in and out of his alter-ego, the dashing and deadly Black Fox. Basil Rathbone was an accomplished fencer, and often played swashbuckling villains. Danny Kaye’s physicality is my favorite, going from terrified and helpless to formidable and smug.

And that’s it, everyone! Hope you enjoyed these clips. If you’d like to share any of your favorite fight films, feel free to leave a comment! And stay tuned for more blog posts from the cast and crew. Signing off!

Check out more awesome fights – and Danny! – in Flying V Fights: The Secret History of the Unknown World. What if all your favorite stories were true? Taking inspiration from sources as diverse as Sherlock Holmes, HP Lovecraft, Indiana Jones and Twilight, Flying V Fights: The Secret History of the Unknown World creates a universe where all of these incredible archetypes and events exist together. Take a trip through the history of a world where weird science can bring dead tissue back to life, masked marvels unite to protect the populace, and eldritch horrors emerge from the deep. Through innovative and high octane stage combat and an epic original score, Flying V once again soars to new heights creating a brand new fully devised piece where two hundred years of creativity is boiled down to two hours of action.

Secret History invites audiences to see fiction as fact: in our world, it’s all real.

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