The art of filmmaking can be an arduous one. On top of trying to capture your desired shots for that day, the director is constantly finding new ways to enhance the story that is being told before us. This is never more prevalent than in the physical tango that is a fight scene.
If you look at any one of Charlie Chaplin's physical set pieces online, you'll see the device of 'Undercranking' the camera being used to add a frenetic and comedic energy into the proceedings. Today is all about the opposite - Overcranking - or as pretty much everyone who has ever talked about film calls it now "Slow Motion."
The mechanism has been famously used to dial up the drama of a scene - Chariots of Fire's beach-running scene springing to mind - or to highlight important details within it - Ethan's drop of sweat nearly setting off alarms in the first Mission Impossible.
Of course, the days are long gone where this was an invention reserved for the elite of cinema - with every man and his dog now able to slow down a surprise slap from a colleague at work - but when this tool is used in conjunction with on-screen fisticuffs, the results can be absurdly entertaining.
10. The Lobby - The Matrix (1999)
A Lobby. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) enter the building that their leader, Morpheus, (Laurence Fishbourne) is being held in. Neo's plan to bring him back Morpheus hits a few bumps in the road. Beautiful violence ensues.
How It Sets The Bar
The scene itself is pretty straight forward: Arrive. Kill guards. Enter next stage of mission. But it's the execution that sets this scene apart. Neo's initial hit on the first guard being the first use of slo-mo - a flat-handed beat to the chest - executed with both instinct and ease.
Everything in this scene is performed with a nonchalance that exudes cool and a level of skill that we get even more of a chance of appreciating due to the higher frame rates. The one-handed cartwheel semi-automatic kill looking as awesome as it does effective.
What makes this slo-mo so special is that it is used in a way to demonstrate the level of destruction that Neo and Trinity are avoiding - the exploding pillars that are obliterated by the guards make it seem as though Neo could be torn to shreds by any number of the bullets but he somehow styles his way through the barrage.
It's an education in selling the qualities of your hero without downplaying your faceless goobers, too much.