Youtube: The Future of Action Movies?
In the future, being the first to watch the latest epic action sequence won’t mean going to the movie theater, it may simply mean being near a computer, Internet TV, or smartphone whenever a video gets uploaded.
The idea that the independent film “industry” could churn out better action sequences than their Hollywood counterparts isn’t news by any means. Stunt teams like Zero Gravity and the not so creatively named The Stunt People have been churning out fight scenes with better fight choreography and stunts that big name Hollywood actors would be too (insert your favorite female derogatory expletive here!) to do for themselves since the turn of the century. Of course, fight scenes aren’t the only thing in an action sequence, you need explosions and other neat special effects to really sell a project: something only Hollywood would possibly be able to pull off….
Does that same mantra hold true these days? Watch the video below to see if working in Hollywood is the only way to pull off high quality shorts in this day and age of readily available consumer technology.
Freddie Wong’s Chrono Trigger, which has visual effects that rival Hollywood along with camera angles and editing reminiscent of Hong Kong style action sequences. This all happened while Hollywood studios were taking every shortcut to creating an action sequence possibly thanks to the new trend of rapid-cut editing. While Freddie Wong was able to show the world that any twelve year old could make their own special effects if they bought (or pirated) the right software, nobody seemed to take note of, or imitate his ability to fuse the best of Hollywood and Hong Kong. Hollywood never seemed to take note either as their action sequences continued to focus away from their actors’ ability (or inability) to convince people that they ARE kicking ass. He would prove his ability to outdo Hollywood once again in his video One Shot.
Of course, we all know there are more components to action sequences than gunfights and explosions, especially if you grew up watching anime or playing fighting games. Anime and fighting game adaptations have been butchered by Hollywood the day the suits realized there was money to be made adapting such media into actual movies in every way imaginable. For the uneducated, here’s brief list of these atrocities:
- Overusing their artistic license only because they had to go out of a way to create a storyline way more convoluted than the actual game itself (Tekken, King Of Fighters, Legend Of Chun Li)
- Having a Caucasian play the lead even if the main character is Asian (King Of Fighters, Legend Of Chun Li)
- Not attempting to excuse the issue above by casting one that doesn’t even train in Martial Arts as the lead (Legend of Chun Li, Dragon Ball Evolution, King Of Fighters)
- Not selecting someone who is actually famous to make up for the two previous atrocities (Dragon Ball Evolution, King Of Fighters)
- Choosing a director who never actually played the game before! (King Of Fighters)
While most poorly made action sequences from Hollywood are a result of laziness and inability more than anything else, I can’t help but be convinced that somebody high up has actually gone out of their way to make sure Hollywood adaptations of fight games and anime franchises suck. Google any of these “movies” and you’ll find plenty of hate. While thousands of people decided to protest by sitting in their chair and complaining on the Internet about how Hollywood can’t get anime or fighting game adaptations right, one guy decided to show everyone how he can do it right.
Enter Yung Lee of GakAttack: he spent his childhood training in the art of Wushu and later trained Mixed Martial Arts hoping one day to be a professional MMA fighter. Upon realizing that being an MMA fighter wasn’t the best idea, he put his martial arts training and film talent to good use on his Youtube channel. While by no means does Yung Lee resemble the average person, most of the cosplayers he fights in this video do. There was no special stunt team involved in making this video. In fact, Lee simply went into an anime convention, got a bunch of random cosplayers (some who don’t look like they’ve ever thrown a punch in their life), and spent no more than a few hours shooting the entire video. While these cosplayers were paid less than the minimum salary of a third world country (nothing at all), the result was far better than anything “paid professionals” from Hollywood made in the genre. Maybe it’s not fair to compare because making a one minute video is easier than shooting 90 minutes of film, so here’s something for a fairer comparison.
Okay, this isn’t ninety minutes but it has the same production value along with balance of dialogue and action you’d see in a big budget feature film. You won’t find a shortage of comments claiming that people would pay to watch this either. Speaking of big budget, here’s what the creator had to say when I asked him about the budget:
“About $5000 outside budget. Most of that was for costumes, travel, food, props. We already had the film making equipment and were able to borrow lighting and secured locations through friends for free.”
So let’s assume they decided to make it 90 minutes long while maintaining the same production value. How much would it cost:
Sure, not everyone has $30,000 dollars and they may not be as lucky finding a free location every single time, but let’s take a look at the budget for Hollywood adaptations of anime and fighting games:
Tekken: $35 Million
Legend of Chun Li: $50 Million
King of Fighters: $12 Million
Dragon Ball Evolution: $30 Million
With independent film making providing a bigger bang for the buck than their Hollywood counterparts, what does the future hold for action sequences on Youtube? My personal prediction is that in the future, the combination of top quality VFX, Cinematography, Editing, Gunplay, Martial Arts, Parkour and pop culture references will become the norm rather than the exception. Nothing Hollywood hasn’t done before, just done better for cheaper.
This post was written by a guest author by the name of Hen Zee, who is also one of the creative forces behind the YouTube channel ProtohTypX. Hen also does martial arts consulting for other Youtube channels in the New York area.
[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”
EB Original courtesy of Hen Zee