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Friday Fight Scene - Last of the Mohicans

Friday Fight Scene: LAST OF THE MOHICANS

This film is one of my all time favorites, I’ve seen it somewhere between 200 and 300 times (I’m not lying, but I haven’t watched in for awhile, since last year) and there’s just something about it that really moves me… it’s a period piece that really feels true and real to the time, it’s got great performances, fantastic set pieces and really transports you to another time and place.

Is it a perfect movie? It’s not, but I won’t argue that… I’ll just say it’s a real watchable piece of cinema that draws you in, particularly in HD or on the big screen (I remember seeing it in the theater and being shocked when it ended, it can’t be over, can it, I recall thinking at the time… I literally disappeared into it)… I have a quite a few favorite moments, and this battle between the Huron natives and the retreating British Army is one.

The setup his thus: The British surrendered their fort to the French and are allowed to leave… the French general is concerned he’ll face the same soldiers again, and let’s this be known to the Huron leader (a fabulous Wes Studi) that he would be happy if something happened to them on their way out.

Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) has been arrested by the British for helping fellow colonists escape to protect their families… Hawkeye could have left too, but he wanted to stay because he’s fallen in love with Cora (Madeline Stowe), the British commanders daughter. Hawkeye’s adopted Mohican father (the late Russel Means) and his brother stay with him.

Added to that, Wes Studi has vowed to kill Madeline Stowe, her sister and her father because his family was wiped out by that commander. His revenge is personal.

And that’s just the backstory… but now to the scene…

It starts off quiet, just tired people trudging through tall grass. Then a couple of warriors come in and sock a couple soldiers (this is called counting coup, very of the time)… then a pause… a long pause… the soldiers know something’s coming, we know… and Wes Studi makes us wait for it.

And then unleashes a howl that opens up hell… people are scared, frightened, pissing in their pants when it starts right up to the end.

The shots of this battle are fantastic, it looks messy and real, for the most part, in the beginning… you feel how scary it is to be in that grass with them. But more so from a writing point of view, Hawkeye’s goal is to save Cora, which is in direct opposition to Wes Studi’s, and he doesn’t waste time fighting the battle, once he’s free of his chains, he goes running right through everyone, not stopping to help anyone but those he cares about, which are numbered exactly three… his father, his brother and Cora…

Running for the woman… an indelible image, the poster of the movie, in fact.

That is, in a sense, really what separates this fight scene from so many others, our hero isn’t engaged in the same battle as the others, in fact, it’s just another obstacle, really, Hawkeye isn’t there to win a battle with the French or Huron (he famously turns down an opportunity to join the fight early on in the picture) and doesn’t try to win this one, he only cares about the woman… so he runs through it until he finds her, saves her and then gets out as fast as he can… right through the smoke and carnage.

The battle is the backdrop, in a sense, and it’s an amazing one…

Fantastic scene. And also, RIP Russell Means…

One Response to “ Friday Fight Scene - Last of the Mohicans”

  1. Joshua Says:

    Thanks for these, Joshua, I so enjoy them.

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