In conversations with lost_angelwings
one of the topics she has talked about, especially in relation to Star Wars
(and criticism of same), is conveying narrative through fight scenes and how this can be done well or poorly.
Last night I had this in mind as I was watching a movie presented as The Protector
(or more properly, Tom-Yum-Goong
according to Wikipedia), which features a man named Kham who is of a line of guards protecting the King of Thailand's war elephants and who pursues poachers to Sydney, Australia when the two he is closest with (Por Yai and the calf Kohm) are kidnapped, trying to rescue and return them home. Along the way he is troubled by corrupt white Australian cops who try to kill him and large numbers of people who arrange to be beaten up him, or occasionally to beat him up.
I was not paying especial attention to the plot since most of the movie is in Thai and subtitled and I was busier with my laptop for most of the time. One part which did catch my attention is very relevant to the first paragraph of this post. About halfway through the film Kham has tracked the the people responsible to a restaurant and I was amazed to see a single shot go on four about four minutes following Kham as he fights his way in a spiral up to the top floor. He bursts into the top floor of the restaurant and demands to know where his elephants are. A small group of people come out from the back and mock him about it, shots from around the restaurant and the service counter imply the elephants have been killed, cooked and are being eaten right now. We see his despair as he takes this in and as the lead of the group, wearing white, knocks him down decisively a couple of times while he is still too stunned to defend himself, taunting him with the elephant Kohm's bell. At this we see Kham recollect himself with anger and determination, wrap the bell around his hand and beat down his opponent and others, pushing his way to the back of the restaurant where he finds numerous smuggled animals ready to be killed and served (and the elephant calf Kohm who is alive).
That scene had me rapt all the way through.
There is another somewhat similar scene toward the end when Kham finally finds Por Yai's skeleton mounted on display. He is overcome by this and knocked around helplessly by his roomful of opponents for several seconds. When he recovers himself he takes out his anger by methodically breaking the bones of each of them in turn, leaving behind a floor covered in people groaning in pain.
These are I suppose simple things to communicate in fight scenes (although I did not do them justice, I think), but seeing them so well executed helped me to appreciate the power such sequences are capable of having. It has definitely inspired me to think about how I might apply such craft to my own work.
I said I was not paying much attention except to scenes which especially caught my attention so unless I was watching the US cut (which edited this out among many other changes, and which seems likely at this time) that probably explains why I did not realise until looking it up on Wikipedia that one of the film's main villains is a transsexual woman played by a transsexual woman.