‘Shang-Chi’ Director Reveals the Secrets Behind Bus Fight Scene
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is filled with action-packed sequences, including a particularly intense scene where Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) goes toe-to-toe with a villain named Razor Fist and other assassins while aboard a bus. No one would ever think that this part of the movie was easy to shoot, but director Destin Daniel Cretton reveals just how much detail went into getting the scene perfect.
In a recent segment of Vanity Fair’s “Notes on a Scene” YouTube series, Cretton walks us through the structure of the bus scene over the course of 20 minutes. Watch the clip below, which dissects the Shang-Chi bus fight scene into its most basic elements:
“If there was a moment in this movie where you are like, ‘Oh yes, I am watching a Marvel movie,’ the moment that that razor comes out is definitely that,” Cretton shares. If we’re looking at the scene as having its own three-act structure, the second when Razor Fist unsheathes his blade is the beginning of the first act.
Cretton continues to analyze the scene and its many, many beats. He emphasizes the importance of capturing emotional beats in action sequences such as this, as Shang-Chi is at its core a family drama. Naturally, there were multiple fight choreographers involved — and multiple buses, as well. Two accordion buses were shipped out to Sydney, Australia from California, and each one served different purposes. One was able to shake and move on level ground, while another was suspended 20 feet up in the air.
The ambitious scene took about a month to shoot, a feat which Cretton says was only possible due to the actors’ tenacity. He described the suspended bus as a “claustrophobic barf machine” that caused severe motion sickness, and that he was blown away by the cast’s ability to give believable performances over and over again.
This clip shows the sheer amount of work it takes to pull off an extensive action scene in a Marvel movie, and hopefully gives you a newfound appreciation for the process. Shang-Chi is in theaters now, and arrives on Disney+ on November 12.
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