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Five Friday Development Jam: Assassination Attempts

The editors here at PLL are kicking off a weekly Toolbox series where we’ll share our favorite YouTube clips on a specific topic, ranging from swoon worthy romance to kick butt action sequences. They’re moments we draw inspiration from as we’re developing a project, and we hope you will too!

Kill Bill

This Friday’s topic: Assassination attempts, from PLL associate editor Rhoda Belleza!

I’m talking one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat. What sets this apart from a generic fight scene is context; the target is often surprised and unprepared, and the stakes are higher since it’s life or death. When choreographing, keep in mind:

  • Setting and props: Anything and everything nearby is a weapon. A will to live makes your character creative! Thus, everyday items or an unusual apartment layout can be used to her advantage.
  • Weapons: It works best if your hero is at a disadvantage with a “lesser” weapon—and the quieter the weapon, the better. Chainsaws are comical and machine guns are overcompensating, but crossbows are rad and knives are a testament to badassness. Furthermore, any weapon that forces her to get closer to her attacker, the bigger the risk and higher the urgency!

1.) Bourne Supremacy. This starts out great, but at 40 seconds in it becomes THE JAM. Jason uses a rolled up magazine in a knife fight, instead of a knife, and chokes the assassin to death with a power chord. And cap it all off with an ingeniously rigged explosion using a toaster! Brilliant stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyZU7lfGjyk

2.) Kill Bill. Best knife fight, ever. Set in the house of a suburban living room, there’s just a lot of furniture everywhere—which means a lot of stuff to break. There’s some inventive weapons, tons of shattered glass, and a dining table flip that is too too awesome (it’ll make sense once you watch it). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgRlzeYc1nk

3.) Haywire. A fake M16 couple returns to a lush hotel suite and…fight to the death in their evening wear! YES. Many an expensive vase and gilt plated mirror is broken as these two hotties throw each other around. She ends up choking Michael Fassbender between her legs, which sounds cliche, but is amazing to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeuarppF2jk

4.) Kill Bill (again). I feel like I’m cheating by using this movie again, but this is SUCH great choreography and use of confined space. The whole thing takes place in a trailer, which prevents the assassin from unsheathing her katana! There’s use of a TV antenna as a shank and they literally bust through a wall during their struggle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrZuYfti-pE

5.) Gross Pointe Blank. This takes place in an empty high school hallway, so not many props—thus the creative weaponry (a car dealership pen). BONUS points for irony, because some annoying guy played by Jeremy Piven gives him that pen earlier in the night. An intense fight and lots of being thrown against lockers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ScNLt2zNc

Next Friday, PLL assistant editor Angela Velez will share her favorite first kisses in pop culture!

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