Wednesday, May 02, 2007

mortal kombat!

I'm a bit behind the times, but I'm happy to announce that Star Wars freaks Ryan Wieber and Michael "Dorkman" Scott have created a sequel to their original "Ryan Versus Dorkman" lightsaber battle. As before, choreography is interesting and often innovative, showing us some Jedi tricks we wish we could have seen in the movies. Of special note this time around is the addition of lightsaber gashes-- some of them still glowing-- in the metal elements of scenery. Ladders are slashed, and a wall is memorably marked up with fight-created graffiti.

As before, humor is sprinkled throughout the fight; my favorite moment has to be one particular Force trick gone wrong. It's a Punch and Judy moment, to be sure-- nothing subtle-- but it had me laughing.

One of the best special effects moments is also one of the briefest: the camera points down through a grillwork floor to capture the two combatants in a clinch. This might not seem all that special until you realize how good Wieber and Scott must be to have rotoscoped in the lightsaber blades through the grillwork.

Again, there's no dialogue, though we do get treated to two rather impressive amputations (the second might not actually qualify as an amputation, per se), neither of which I can explain in detail without giving away important parts of the fight sequence.

Wieber, who was pretty shrimpy in the first "RVD" (as it's often called), has gone through puberty; he wears his facial hair and his taller frame proudly, and is a much more aggressive fighter this time around. Scott, for some bizarre reason, looks almost totally unchanged, despite this sequel's having been made about four years after the original.

The list of credits at the end of the short is mind-boggling: it's only a seven- or eight-minute fight sequence, but it took a ton of manpower. All told, the sequel is an improvement over the original, especially in terms of special effects. However, the fight choreography (which had help this time from an outside choreographer) still contained some mis-timed moments where one or the other fighter would telegraph which move was coming next (e.g., a dodge happening ever so slightly before a slash). This is a minor complaint, though; taken as a whole, the short is arguably better than some Hollywood TV productions.

They say that film is ultimately about emotional experience. For geeky fans of the Star Wars films and for lovers of fight choreography, RVD2 will be quite a thrill ride. Watch and enjoy.

If you've got DivX, check out the sequel here. The entire experience is much better with DivX than with YouTube.

And if you missed the first RVD, watch it before you see the sequel.


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