Why I love that Oldboy Corridor Fight Scene

Even though I’m no better than a beast, don’t I have the right to live?

Highlighting some of Cinema’s greatest examples of cinematography; Oldboy, directed by Park Chan-wook, is home to one of the greatest scenes in the world of Cinema. The shot in question, often dubbed by fans as “The Corridor Fight Scene”, sees our protagonist Oh Dae-su fight his way through fifteen two-by-four-wielding men with nothing but a claw hammer.

Part of what makes this scene incredible is that the entire fight, lasting nearly three and a half minutes long, was filmed in one continuous take with no breaks or editing, meaning that thanks to the smooth and seamless camera work, you can get a full sense of realism without the usual distractions of close-up shots and Foley punching sound effects.

Another aspect to admire is the believability of the fighting choreography; every man included in the fight, both on or off screen, takes and dishes out an equal amount of damage whether it’s via hand-to-hand combat, multiple two-by-fours or even the use of a knife, all while showing the clear signs of fatigue and injury that come along with an action-packed brawl.

After the fight ends, we are treated to a new shot of a bloodied Oh Dae-su reaching a lift at the end of the corridor, with a mass of bodies now lying in his wake; a twisted grin crosses his face as we pan round to see a new group of men emerge from the lift, weapons in hand. We cut to the lift arriving on the ground floor of the hotel building, and Oh Dae-su exits as the six men fall limply to the ground around him. The scene finally ends with our protagonist dropping a knife to the floor and casually leaving the building, exhausted and injured.

So what do you think? Have a think and let us know in the comments section below.

– Aaron




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