This 35-second Iron Fist fight scene with 56 cuts shows how not to edit action

Christopher Hooton

Netflix’s latest Marvel collaboration Iron Fist has not gone down well with critics, the general consensus being that it’s a lazier superhero vehicle than many of those that came before it.

One of the key areas in which it is lacking is its action, typified by this fight scene posted on Reddit today which features 56 cuts in just 35 seconds of footage (a la Taken).

The result of the fast cutting is a disorientating, messy and ultimately not particularly impactful sequence:

Many areas, not least choreography and martial arts proficiency of the cast, may shoulder some blame here, but the editing is perhaps the most egregious element, the fast cutting never allowing the scene to settle into a rhythm, causing the hits to never really ‘land’ and failing to establish Danny/Iron Fist’s skills.

By contrast, here’s a one-shot Jackie Chan fight sequence, in which he nails several moves without switching camera angles (he also utilises a 'three extra frames' rule for hits - more on that here):


Maybe it’s unfair to compare the show with the work of a master like Jackie, but Netflix’s Daredevil had great success with a more considered shot selection and more minimal cutting than Iron Fist:

Despite the criticism of Netflix's latest big show, many fans are fighting its corner. Iron Fist currently has a 19% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but an audience score of 85%.

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