We all know that actors are paid to convey emotion on screen; to tell a story full of reality, fantasy and action (in some cases). Some actors are naturally gifted with these abilities, some work hard for years and years to develop them. The other side to the actor coin is their physicality, and how it translates to their characters.
Many actors work hard on their bodies every day for months on end to be in peak physical condition for their roles on the silver screen, and some of this training is self-defence based. To lend reality to their character’s bodies, they have to feasibly be able to perform the action sequences their characters are living.
In Skyfall, for example, when Daniel Craig struggles to fight off a squadron of enemies, his off-screen training in Krav Manga helps him accurately represent that body shape, those specific muscles, and the correct self-defence moves. To find out what other movies feature self defence, read on.
A movie about a botched assassination attempt on a Nazi war criminal is sure to have plenty of fighting, physicality, and brutality, and what better way to show this on screen than via hand-to-hand combat. An extensive training regime for Jessica Chastain, the actress who plays the main character in her youth, involved Krav Maga, and become something of an obsession for the actress during filming. Krav Maga involves overcoming your opponent as quickly as possible, and disarming those who are armed when attacking.
Set in 1990’s Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond focuses on the conflicts during the civil war in Sierra Leone, and the diamonds mined and used to fund the conflict and the warlords in the area. Leonardo Dicaprio’s character must recover an enormous pink diamond in order to pay off his debt to his former employer and leave Africa permanently, and due to the incredibly valuable nature of the diamond, there is much conflict involved in securing it.
His training regime, also coincidentally in Krav Maga, wasn’t so much for fighting scenes as it was for Dicaprio’s fitness, and his mental preparation for portraying a desperate man in a war-torn country.
Taken follows the story of Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, as he attempts to track down and rescue his daughter from slavery in Europe. An action-packed movie, Taken was very successful globally, and this was largely thanks to the fight scenes and the intense pacing throughout, and Liam Neeson’s training for the film was based on several different kinds of martial arts, such as KALI, a Filipino fighting system, and Krav Maga, an Israeli fighting system. The mixing of the martial arts in this film really displays the different forms and attacks, as well as defensive positions used in both martial arts.
Daniel Craig’s second last Bond film, Skyfall was a commercial success. It featured Javier Bardem as the antagonist Raoul Silva, and of course, Daniel Craig as the protagonist James Bond. The Bond films have, for generations, been a series of fast-paced, thrilling action movies, full to the brim with fast cars, gunfights, and hand-to-hand combat. For the entirety of the Bond series, Daniel Craig has switches between fighting styles to allow for a more overall conducive fighting profile, taking moves from Krav Maga, Boxing, and street-fighting, as well as Yoga to help mobility and flexibility.
Ip Man is an emotional story about the grandmaster of Wing Chun, Yip Man.
Biographical in nature, the story is somewhat exaggerated, but displays the basics and fundamentals of Wing Chun, a fighting style that originated in the late 1800’s in China. It involves close-quarters fighting with striking and grappling, and is shown as a prevailing fighting style in the movie. Actor Donnie Yen, who portrayed Ip Man, is credited as being one of the driving forces for the revival of Wing Chun throughout China, and subsequently, the cause for hundreds of new Wing Chun schools to be opened.
Martial arts makes for wonderful silver screen viewing, and many movies are filled to the brim with beautifully choreographed fights, with more movies to come in the future.