ATOMIC BLONDE Stair Fight Scene Breakdown by a Stuntman

– What’s up guys, it’s Rustic. You guys asked for it, so today I’m doing a breakdown of the one-take.


– What’s up guys, it’s Rustic. You guys asked for it, so
today I’m doing a breakdown of the one-take stair fight
scene from Atomic Blonde. I’ll be explaining how
they filmed the fight scene and how they did the stunts. Everything I’m going to be saying is gonna come from my
opinion as a stuntman and an action filmmaker. So, before we continue,
I just wanna congratulate the stunt team and the filmmakers
behind this fight scene. These guys actually won the Taurus Award, which is basically like getting
an Oscar in the stunt world. If you haven’t seen
the actual fight scene, make sure to check it out first. There’s gonna be a link
in the description. And if you’ve already done
that, let’s just jump right in. Couple of notes before we roll the clips. This fight scene does have several cuts which I will point out to you. The filmmakers actually use
some strategic whip pans which means that they’ve
looked away and looked back to help the people reposition themselves. And they also had the
performers come really close to the lens a couple of times in order to help hide the cuts. Now the first thing that impressed
me about this fight scene is that it actually has
some really long cuts with the actress Charize Theron
doing her own choreography. At certain points, she’s
actually performing about a minute of choreography at a time. Which means she did a really,
really good job in training. Also guys, pay attention
to the dynamic camera style which puts us directly
inside of the fight scene without unnecessary shakes. And also sets the mood up to hide the cuts we’re gonna see later on. Okay, so here we have our
first cut during a throw when the brown suits foot
covers the lens for a moment and you can see the background jump just a little bit as it happened. The reason for this cut
is it probably helps break up the choreography in order to keep the performers really active
and keep the energy up throughout the whole thing. Okay, next we got this
little whip pan right here. So whip pans like this usually
mask cuts in fight scenes, but here they followed
the back in order to help the stuntman right here reposition himself for the fall down the stairs. So that’s our first real stair fall. This fight scene has a lot of them. And it must of been gnarly,
but it’s really nice that all these guys have
long sleeves which actually helps them hide a lot of body pads. That’s actually a sign of
the wardrobe department, the director and the stunt
team all working together. Coming back to the
stuntman, the reason that we actually follow him down
the stairs was to let Charlize Theron’s stunt double step in for this next stair fall. You know it’s the stunt double because you don’t see her face much and is covering her face. And at the very last second, they have her go right by camera and
then cut to Charlize taking the last part of the reaction. Okay, so there we have
another cut on the reaction of the guy hitting the
steps, you can actually see the frame jump a little
bit and they pan up. We have a bag toss, which
probably took a couple of takes to do and then we cut out of that again as the black jacket covers the lens. You can actually see that
they zoomed in a little bit and matched the cut on that one. And then you’ll land
right in the perfect shot for him to take out the
knife and start fighting. And then we cut out of it
on the tackle into the wall because the next clip is
gonna have a gnarly wreck. Okay, hold up really quick. This stair fall that you’re
about to see is terrifying. This stuntman has got
some balls, there’s no way you can fake that, the camera
follows him down the steps and I’m pretty sure they
only would have done this like once or twice. I’ve actually seen this
stunt man’s reel before and it’s gonna be linked
in the description if you want to see more of him. You did a good job on
it, I’m glad you’re safe, and guys watching this, let
him know he did an awesome job. Alright, so back to the fight. The reason that they cut before it, is to give him his own timing because this is such a big wreck, you don’t wanna have like
one little timing issue go wrong and make this guy
do it over and over again. So that’s why the
filmmakers would have had the cut right there, so
the guy can just come up and take his own reaction. After that wreck, the
camera whip pans to Charlize and the last bad guy, I’m pretty sure that whip pan right there did hide a cut and then we have another hit, into another throw down the steps which ends the fight scene. Pay attention to how
this guy hits the stairs, and then manages to get
up and rotate his body to go next to camera
instead of in to camera. Now from my personal experience, that guy has really good body movement because if you’re taking
that particular throw, you’re gonna have a lot of
landing force to control. Alright guys, that’s where
the fight scene ends. Once again, phenomenal action
design with the action team and the filmmakers and the
performers all working together. The camera work was amazing. This was definitely a
unique puzzle to solve. To figure out how to move
this big camera around with all these performers, down stairs in this little tight space. I really like the minimalistic
use of the stunt double, for only that one stair
wreck, but at the same time, how they managed to hide the body swap. And of course, Charlize Theron,
how she did most of her own fighting, she did an amazing job. I really congratulate it,
I really love when actors do their own stunts and
I love it when actors actually show up to train
to do their own stunts. Unlike Iron Fist, which had
their Brett, a while ago on. It’s really nice to see when
actor’s show up for training. And of course that stair
fall at the very end. I can’t believe it, it
makes my stomach turn every time I watch it. Congratulations on that stair fall, I’m glad this guy’s safe. And make sure to check him
out in the description. I can see why they won a Taurus Awards, congratulations to everybody involved. And thank you guys for watching. This has been a really quick breakdown of the Atomic Blonde fight scene. Thank you for requesting it,
let me know in the comments what you wanna see next. It there’s anything else
you wanna see me breakdown, or if you have any questions. Make sure that you
caught my last breakdown and if you want more videos, there’s gonna be a playlist on my channel. I hope you all have a great day and I’ll see you on the next video. (upbeat music) (electronic music)

18 thoughts on “ATOMIC BLONDE Stair Fight Scene Breakdown by a Stuntman”

  1. Hey Rustic ! Just wanna say im a big fan of your videos, these break down in particular are super interesting and insightful, please make more ! 🙂

  2. Hey Rustic, Maybe you could breakdown the Warehouse fight in Batman V Superman, I’ve been writing a fight scene for my own movie that would be similar so hearing the techniques explained one by one would be very helpful for reference. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this analysis, Rustic! Yup, there are "secret cuts" like throwing some stuff and frame shakes to switch places between the actor & the stunt double. But those stunts are physically practical effects!

  4. Some assumptions. Not to detract from your stunt skills and experience, but the film’s stunt coordinator, director and cast make different assertions. The cuts were made in the editing room, removing a frame or two, to increase the pace. Originally planned as a simpler fight, with cuts in the shooting, it was changed to complex fight in a continuous take, even onto the next sequence outside on the street. This was due to Charlize Theron’s abilities after months of training in fighting and falling skills. She says she had to buy lots of drinks for the stunties she made full contact with by mistake. Since you were not there, I’d suggest your wording be “here there is a slight break, done maybe in the shooting or in the editing afterwards,” and “Here’s where a stunt double could have been used, though the film makers state Theron did all of her own fight scenes.” When we assume, we make an ASS out of U and ME. Kind regards.

  5. I actually watched the special features…. This was a one take fight scene and they said the stairs were padded, they take you through it. Not saying this is incorrect, and you could be absolutely right, but in the special features they literally claim she did her own fights and this whole thing in one take.

  6. If you guys liked this one, check out my John Wick 3 fight scene breakdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVb50_EdctA

  7. Awesome video and great breakdown! No stupid over-energetic nonsense, just interesting facts about stunt work clearly explained. This is how it's done. I am a fan. 🙂

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