Another week down, and another week closer to christmas, meaning another Scene of the Week, with this week being in aid of the up-and-coming release, Creed II. The scene I have chosen is one that gets me at the back of the throat everytime, the moment Rocky finally overcomes Apollo Creed in Rocky II and executes his winning speech perfectly.
Rocky II isn’t everyone’s favourite Rocky but it is certainly up there with the better films of the saga. In Rocky I we see Rocky go the distance with the World Boxing Champ, Apollo Creed, but doesn't actually win. Due to Creed feeling embarrassed that this amatuer boxer, Rocky, took him to a points tie-breaker, he challenges Rocky to a re-match which Rocky accepts, and in the end, wins, leading me on to this week’s scene…
With both boxers fighting for the win in the last round, completely exhausted, they both collide, throwing the pair to the ground. Due to both of the boxers being absolutely drained of energy, both struggling to get up within the 10 seconds they have to rise. Just as the referee calls the number 10, Rocky manages to reach his feet, seeing Creed fall back down to his. As Rocky stands up to get the win, the final bell is rung, and the incredible overture by Bill Conti is played, instantly capturing the emotional nature of the film. Barely being able to stand Rocky is handed the belt, he breaks into his speech which is superbly delivered.
“Excuse me. I can't believe this has happened. I can't. And I just wanna say thanks to Apollo for fighting me. Apollo. I wanna thank Mickey, for training me. “ Rocky tirelessly says down the mic, with blood gushing from his face. As Rocky goes to continue his speech a fan calls out to him, “We love ya Rock” with the Italian Stallion replying in the way we all expect “Yeah I love yous too”. I love this little bit, as it really sums up Rocky, that he’s just such a kind guy, and brings a different side to boxing. Rock then proceeds with his speech, “I just also wanna thank God. Except for my kid bein' born, this is the greatest night in the history of my life. I just wanna say one thing to my wife who's home: YO, ADRIAN! I DID IT!” the screen jumps to Adrian, crying with pure happiness, the music from Bill Conti reaches it climax, in turn, creating one of the most heart warming endings in cinema.
As mentioned before, the score is composed by Bill Conti, of which he has created countless classics for the Rocky saga, with the track Overture, played in this scene, being one of the highlights. Everytime I listen to it, it brings me back to this scene, and the bags of uplifting emotions it makes you feel.
There are so many little details to this scene which I love, such as once the bell rings, and Rocky wins you see him collapse into a member of his team, only cementing that exhaustion he is feeling and in parallel to this you see Creed being picked up off the ground. Or when Micky, his trainer, hugs him right at the end, highlighting the more father/son relationship they have.
The Rocky saga is one of a kind. The character himself is one of the most relatable, nicest and genuine on screen and I for one cannot get enough of him. There’s an honesty to these films which people love, that they have managed to capture within Creed as well. This scene represents this perfectly and is one I will never get bored of. I hope Creed II keeps this theme going, and I am sure it will as long as Sylvester Stallone is a part of them.
Kick-Ass is a film that goes under many peoples radar, but is, without a doubt, the film which put Matthew Vaughn on the map. Kick-Ass is a very radical twist on the superhero genre, with very adult themes and an extremely realistic approach. I am a huge fan of this film, as it really rings home the inner nerd in me, making it, in a weird way, very relatable. Kick-Ass has many memorable scenes, but none of them really compare to the whacky but inspiring scene, where Hit-Girl, saves her father, aka Big Daddy, which is why I have chosen this to be my Scene of the Week.
The scene starts with Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz) presumed dead, and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Kick Ass captured by the villain of the films, Frank D’Amico’s, henchmen’ With D’Amico wanting to make a point, he airs the execution of both of the heroes over the internet, to make sure that he never has the issue of “super heroes” again. As the whole of America watch, with Kick-Ass and Big Daddy about to be killed, we hear Kick-Ass voice narrate over the scene whilst being tortured, only helping to build more of the tension as they are both about to die. “Even with my metal plates and my fucked up nerve endings, I gotta tell you, that hurt! But not half as much as the idea of leaving everything behind. Katie, my dad, Todd and Marty... and all the things I'd never do. Like learn to drive or see what me and Katie's kids would look like or find out what happened on "Lost". And if you're reassuring yourself that I'm going to make it through this since I'm talking to you now, quit being such a smart-ass! Hell dude, you never seen "Sin City"? "Sunset Boulevard"? "American Beauty"?” states Kick-Ass just before they are about to be burnt alive. As one of the henchmen slowly walk up behind them with a lighter in his hand, ready to ignite the heroes, he is shot in the head by the presumed dead Hit-Girl…
Hit-Girl proceeds to take out all of the lights, leaving the entire gang blinded, seeing her switch to night-vision, as we watch this little girl take on an entire gang of men, like they are nothing. In pure panic a henchman sets Big Daddy on fire with the lighter that was held by the leader prior, therefore lighting up the room, giving away Hit-Girl’s position a way. To aid in her attack, whilst burning, Big Daddy screams to Hit-Girl code, saying things such as “Now switch to Kryptonite!” triggering Hit-Girl to add a strobing flashlight attachment to her gun which blinds the criminals in front of her as she shoots them. The fact Big Daddy is burning alive, but still trying to aid his daughter is an incredible representation of the love he has for his 10 year-old girl. That even though he is going through the worst pain ever, he is still only thinking about her safety. She then uses that strobing light as a decoy as she places it on a shelf, making everyone shoot at that whilst she sneaks up behind them to finish them all off.
This scene would not be half of what it is without the for the extraordinary score by John Murphy. There are two tracks played during, that link together perfectly. There’s “Nightvision” and then there’s “Strobe”. What is perfect about the music in this scene is that it captures the epicness of the moment, as this young girl destroys a professional gang of mobsters, as well as there being this strong undercurrent of sadness and emotion as her father is essentially dying whilst she is kicking ass trying to save him. It’s really a piece of music that gives you goosebumps.
I have watched this scene countless times and never get bored. It doesn’t get any more heroic than this moment, and it’s all done by a little girl no older than 10 years old. It’s very strange, but in a fascinating way, which is the theme for Kick-Ass throughout, making this scene perfect, and, in turn, making the director, Matthew Vaughn, a favourite of mine.
It's that time again, Scene of the Week, with the choice today being one of the most iconic moments in cinema’s history, the diner scene within the timeless classic Heat. Heat is film which has made its mark on cinema’s history, as being one of the best movies ever made. Heat stars Al Pacino, who plays Vincent Hanna, a detective far too dedicated to his profession, which causes his personal life to become a bit of a disaster, creating this incredible dynamic as he is torn between saving his family and hunting down one of the hardest cases of his career, stopping a highly skilled criminal called Neil McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro. Heat has inspired so many films we watch today, with a favourite of mine being one of them - The Dark Knight.
The scene I am reviewing today has some of the best acting you will ever see, performed by two acting jugganauts, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, as they come face-to-face for the first time in a traditional american diner. McCauley invites Hanna for a meeting, to try and get to grips with who it is that he is dealing with, and out of respect, Hanna accepts. At this point Hanna has been hunting McCauley for some time now, adding to the tension within this scene. As they sit facing each other, in this grotty diner, you can already feel the heat between them. The conversation between the pair starts very civilised, as they get to know each other. Hanna tells McCauley how messed up his life is, and McCauley explains to Hanna how he rarely gets attached to anything, as if he “feels the heat round the corner” he cannot be attached to anything he is unable to drop in “30 seconds flat”. This, straight away, gives us a brilliant insight on both of our characters, that they are extremely similar, that both are dedicated to their causes, even if both causes are on the opposite sides of the table, literally and metaphorically. As they continue getting to know each other, it comes very apparent that there is a huge amount of respect between both of these characters, but that respect will never stop these professionals from doing what they do best. “You know, we're sitting here you and I like a couple of regular fellas.” Hanna explains. “You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. Now that we've been face-to-face, if I'm there and I gotta put you away, I won't like it. But, I tell you, if it's between you and some poor bastard whose wife you're gonna turn into a widow...brother...you are going down.” This is a brilliant piece of dialogue, delivered in a way only Pacino is capable of doing so, which, in turn, sums up our detective perfectly. Not only does it show the audience Hanna has a new found respect for McCauley, he also lets nothing get in his way from doing what he does best, but nor does McCauley, as he replies “There's a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Because no matter what...you won't get in my way. We've been face-to-face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.” a great counter to Hanna’s almost threat, instantly cementing this dynamic between them that carries through the rest of the film.
What makes this scene so great is that on the face of it it’s very simple, but there is so much depth to it. On first look, it is just a couple of guys in a diner having a chat, with no real musical score behind it, but if you really watch this scene you can see the message it is trying to portray. It's all about opposites and how they work together. This is shown in how they are sat opposite each other across the table and the camera captures this side-on-view. Even everything in the dialogue is about opposites, Hanna talks about his family and McCauley talks about his lack of it. Hanna talks about a dream he has where he is surrounded by death, whereas McCauley talks about a reoccuring dream he has where he is the one dying. The opposites even goes down to their clothing, McCauley wearing a white shirt, with Hanna in black. And as mentioned above, Hanna tells McCauley he will happily take his life if it means saving innocents, but McCauley confirms he would take Hanna’s life to save his own. It is pure genius.
As mentioned, there isn’t really a music score in this scene. There is a slight bit of music that creeps in toward the end, but it is very faint. I do think this is perfect for the scene though, as it keeps the rawness of the moment.
Michael Mann, the director, is a true visionary, and Heat is certainly his best work. He managed to pull together two of the best actors at the time, and gave them a worthy script and a moment which captured their talents perfectly.