Scene Is Believing: Daredevil Corridor Fight

daredevil corridor fight

The corridor fight from Netflix’s Daredevil episode “Cut Man” is an early, confident contender for one of the best scenes of the year on any screen, big or small. And yes, it is one take – they had to film it 7 to 8 times to get the fluid, bruising, exhausting tussle you see in the final episode. Matt Murdock / Daredevil (Charlie Cox) sags against the wall, like his boxer father on the ropes, absorbing the punishment, then getting back up to deliver more blows himself (he’s here to rescue a kid from the Russian mobsters). How the camera operator glided over that door and back again so seamlessly, I don’t know. The single take reflects Matt’s single-minded, dogged determination to deliver justice, whatever the cost to himself. The Man Without Fear, indeed.

An obvious comparison is Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy, and somebody has handily done a video comparison, which we have below, along with the fight itself. For me, the Daredevil fight trumps Oldboy‘s, by virtue of it’s  3 dimensionality – doors open, Matt and combatants disappear from the frame, then burst back in, the camera pans briefly, backs up, reverses.

Philip J. Silvera, the stunt coordinator for the show, spoke to The New York Observer about his work, and the one-take fight in particular.

“I think this was what started defining the show for me, and the weight that was being played into it. Phil Abraham was directing, and it was always scripted that this scene was going to be a one-shot. For me in my head, with the time we had, I said let’s do wipes and we’ll be able save things. But Phil challenged us to do a pure one-shot, which really just brought a grounded real feeling to the whole thing. We were able to slow down the fight, and just have this raw, animalistic feeling happening….

There were no cuts in that fight. Every performer, the actors and the stunt doubles, were in there performing that fight full on. I’d say there was a minimum of 105 beats, and they killed it.”

It’s worth noting the Netflix audio description guy gets into the gnarly, noir mood as well. Here’s the clip with his description, and a transcription below.


“At the end of a long industrial hallway, a fluorescent light colors the walls and floor sickly green. One of the Russians carries a plate of food and an apple. He unbolts the outside lock of the door beneath the light. The man comes back out, eating the apple himself, looking bored. He goes into another room off the hall where four men play poker around a round table. One man leaves the game and the man with the apple takes his seat. The other exits and goes to the room across the hall, a dreary office with a desk and files and a guy eating a sandwich.

The hallway is empty, its other end lit from the adjoining hall. A red lit exit sign is at the ceiling line above two circuit boxes. A shadow appears first as Matt, head lowered and mask down, moves slowly around a corner. The ropes from the rooftop are strapped around his hands and up his forearms. He looks ferocious … and calm, taking an iconic stance. He listens intently then starts to come down the hall.

He comes to the first door and lays his hand on it, focused. He raises his head and batters open the door. Four startled Russians leap to the fight. Matt kicks and punches his way through them and the door shuts behind him. The hallway is empty again. The Russian from the card table is thrown through the door, collapsing it against the opposite wall. The other door opens and the apple-eating man rushes up, only to be hit by a flying microwave oven. Matt sends another one flying and steps out to take on the men from the other room. He disarms one of them and beats the other two with a shotgun. Matt’s on his back, clutching his abdomen. He stands with some effort, using the wall for support, then swings back to the fight.

Dispatching three more, he depends on the wall to stand now. The apple eater takes a swing and Matt beats him furiously back, knocking him into the destroyed room. Another Russian rises and throws a solid punch, sending Matt reeling. He ducks a stocky guy who swings wildly but another comes up from behind, then another. Matt’s holding them off. He keeps knocking them down but they keep getting up again. Finally they’re down but not quite out. Matt staggers, resting against the door jamb. When the apple eater charges again, Matt demolishes him with some hard face punches and a swinging kick. Then two more are at it. One pins him against the wall, but Matt pushes back and they both fall into the card game room. Another man rushes in, then they fly out into the hall. Matt takes them down again. Swaying on their feet, he and the last guy standing now throw weary punches, with Matt getting in the majority of the hits.

The guy finally goes down and Matt falls into the card game room. He totters out and limps toward the door where the child is being kept. He pauses for a moment, then raises his mask to show his face before going into the room. All that’s visible is the open door. Matt walks out carrying the tousle-haired boy; the child’s arms are wrapped around his neck. Matt’s mask is down again. He traipses unsteadily as the boy looks around at the trashed hallway and battered men. Then they disappear around the corner, a wake of devastation behind. The screen cuts to black.”


Finally, here’s that video essay comparison:



Originally posted 2015-04-15 21:46:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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