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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/ReturnOfTheJedi http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fight-scene-failure5_rotj_2085.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Luke Skywalker defeats one of Jabba's henchmen using the Jedi power [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Force_kick Force kick]].]]

->''"This [fight] is obviously staged, and more to the point, it's staged poorly."''
-->-- '''General Tarquin''', ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0783.html Strip #783]]

({{A|vertedTrope}}lmost) [[CaptainObvious all fighting you see on TV is fake]]. Producers just can't have their actors ''actually'' hitting each other, as most do not wish to be held liable for broken bones, stitches, etc. So, fight scenes in movies have to be cleverly staged to make it ''appear'' as though they are real, but in such a way so that nobody ''really'' gets hurt.

Sometimes this is [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome pulled off extremely well]], making for one hell of a great fight scene.

But, this page is about when it ''isn't'' pulled off so well -- can be due to a number of factors, but usually can be attributed to poor choreography, ExecutiveMeddling, or simply poor acting. But regardless of the reason, the whole fight scene comes out looking extremely corny and stupid to the viewers and the characters look like utter buffoons.

Of course, this can be a matter of opinion, though some of the examples that follow are so bad that they fail even the most generous benefit of the doubt. Compare SpecialEffectFailure. See WimpFight, WhatTheFuAreYouDoing and FakeSpecialAttack for when this is done deliberately. If the Fight Scene Failure fails and someone really does get hit, expect the producers to ThrowItIn.

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!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/SpiderMan'': Peter's punch to Flash Thompson obviously does not connect.
* ''{{Dolemite}}'': Scenes are shot from the wrong angle, so it's obvious that punches miss.
* At the end of ''Film/{{Leviathan}}'', when Peter Weller punches the CorruptCorporateExecutive there's at least three inches of air between his fist and her.
* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** The [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Force_kick "force kick"]] from ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' where a mook reacts to being kicked despite Luke's foot hitting nothing but air, so fans devised the "explanation" that he was actually using the Force. Years later, this became AscendedFanon when ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' used it as the Jedi Knight's interrupt ability.
** In ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', the scene where Windu confronts Darth Sidious is undercut by him apparently bringing two of the ''worst Jedi ever'' to back him up. Sidious activates his lightsaber, jumps at them twirling through the air, and lands directly in front of them. They raise their swords slightly. Sidious makes an extremely telegraphed thrust at one of them, and he responds by... looking at him, since for some inexplicable reason he was gazing off to the side. While he's getting stabbed through the chest, his compatriot responds by raising his sword a bit higher, as though he thinks you need to put a lot of strength into a blow while using a weapon that cuts though anything. It's probably supposed to be happening too fast for them to react, but it's a pretty slow scene at that point. Ian [=McDiarmid=] was forced to do his own stunts for this scene and obviously lacked the necessary skills.
** ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', again, has a jarring ''moment'' of failure rather than the whole thing; the Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan versus Darth Maul fight is often considered the best one in all six movies. But at the end, Obi-Wan leaps right over Maul's head, lands in front of him, and cuts him in two. It takes about five seconds, during which time Maul looks at him with a vaguely confused expression as though having trouble processing that this guy is still trying to kill him, and does absolutely nothing to defend himself. After Maul fighting off two Jedi at once, this seems like an absurd loss of competence.
*** Or a very good example of Sith arrogance.
* The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxkr4wS7XqY "best fight scene of all time"]] in ''{{Undefeatable}}''.
* Parodied at the end of ''Film/{{Bowfinger}}'', showing a FightScene from the kung-fu movie "Fake Purse Ninjas."
* ''Film/TheGodfather'': When Sonny is [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beating Carlo]], one of his punches obviously misses by a mile, but Carlo and the soundtrack react just the same. The reason this was kept in the film is apparently because the beating was all filmed in one take and the rest of the beating was ''too'' real: Caan broke several of the other actor's bones.
* ''Film/TheManWhoSavesTheWorld'' (aka "Turkish StarWars") as a whole. Especially [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKn1I60wgv0 the climatic battle]].
* Pretty much anyone in Creator/UweBoll's ''Film/BloodRayne'', as the delivery of strikes are very stiff. And just to hammer it in, the last 5 minutes is a gratuitous slow motion montage of the over the top blood effects, allowing you to see the already bad choreography look even worse.
* ''La Venganza De La Momia'' (The Vengeance of the Mummy), a short fight scene between ElSanto and a jaguar. A three-month old kitten could have given Santo a better fight.
* In ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'', when Mr. Freeze sends his minions to attack while claiming the Wayne Diamonds, Batman actually pulls off a Force Kick on one of the hapless hockey hooligans (about 44 minutes 13 seconds in.) Bruce's foot is almost as close to his own face as it is to the bad guy.
* In ''Film/TheLastAirbender'', some say that "bending" looks clumsy and {{narm}}y. The best example is the so-called [[MemeticMutation "Pebble Dance"]] where six earth-benders do a bunch of elaborate choreography, whoop, and shout, and then a small rock moves slowly and lazily through the air.
* ''Film/SpyKids'': Carmen punches a robotic simulacrum of her brother, only to hurt her hand on its metal face. It's quite obvious her hand wasn't anywhere near it; it looks more like the robot has a force field that blocks punches.
* Happens in-universe in the ''Film/MortalKombat'' film, where Johnny Cage is making another kung-fu film. He hits a {{Mook}} actor, who does a NoSell. Johnny has to remind him "This is where you fall down", before the guy promptly drops. Needless to say, they have to re-shoot the scene. In-between takes, Johnny meets his martial arts teacher (actually [[BigBad Shang Tsung]] in disguise) and complains that people think everything he does is fake.
* In a fantasy sequence at the beginning of ''Film/{{Sidekicks}}'', the main character and ChuckNorris manage a simultaneous kick into the face of a {{Mook}} who...freezes for a second, then falls down.
* The makers of ''Satan Claus'' decided to show a beating completely from the victim's POV. This looks horrible.
* The infamous scene in ''LasVegasBloodbath'' where a man takes a swing at Sam with a bat, and hits a just barely offscreen mat.
* The ''Film/StreetFighter'' movie is ''made'' of this, especially the final battle between Guile and Bison -- '''[[LargeHam OF COURSE!]]'''
** This was actually for rather tragic reasons: Bison's actor Raul Julia was going through chemotherapy at the time (he would die before the film was released) and some days had trouble simply walking around, let alone doing a fight scene with Jean-Claude van Damme.
* ''Film/UnknownIsland'' has a fight between a giant ground sloth and a Ceratosaur which looks more like a waltz.
* Done intentionally in the opening fight of ''TeamAmerica'' as Joe grapples with a terrorist; the puppets are just flailing around and getting tangled up. Later in the film, the fight scenes are better done. The commentary reveals that the puppeteers were good enough they could have actually done all the fight scenes realistically, but decided to go for RuleOfFunny after realizing the results were actually ''too'' realistic and crossed into the UncannyValley.
* Played for laughs in ''Film/BlackDynamite'' when Bullhorn helps Black Dynamite out in the pool hall. Bullhorn accidentally slaps one of the Henchmen, who gets mad, breaks character, and approaches Bullhorn's actor, as if to return the favor, but the take is cut short. The next take features a completely different actor playing the same character, implying that the original actor had to be replaced.
* Subverted in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' when Cap "socks old Adolf in the jaw" during his stage show, the movie audience clearly sees distance between Cap's fist and the actor playing Hitler. Later, lampshaded when Cap claims to have knocked out Hitler hundreds of times.
* A few times in "Film/TheDarkKnightRises": this was probably due to how most of the crew could maybe get away with it in the others because it was mainly in the dark and you couldn't really tell.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The 1960s TV series ''Series/TheAvengers'' Cathy Gale's fighting style is made of this trope. Back then, fight scenes would be recorded 'as live' on studio video with no possibility for editing or retakes, rather than being pre-filmed and edited.
* The original ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek]]'' was bad for this:
** "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E20CourtMartial Court Martial]]". Not only can you tell it's two stuntmen fighting, but they telegraph their punches so badly the misses are obvious.
** "Arena": [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1eFdUSnaQM "Worst Fight Scene Ever"]]; the guy in the Gorn suit moves slowly, apparently in an attempt to make the Gorn look big and ponderous... but it makes the fight seem ridiculous. The Gorn also doesn't seem to be able to use his super-strength to overpower Kirk or use his big teeth to bite.
** Those scenes were of course not helped by [[ChewingTheScenery Kirk]] taking time rolling over and over and over to make his plight look worse, leaving the MonsterOfTheWeek standing around waiting for Kirk to get back up for the next spectacular throw and fall.
** The fight scene between Kirk and Spock in "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E1AmokTime Amok Time]]", which doesn't look so much like a fight scene as... [[FreudWasRight something else]]. This was likely deliberate, as the man who wrote the episode (Creator/TheodoreSturgeon) was infamous for putting gay subtext into his works ... and using asphyxiation as a metaphor for sex.
** In the BarBrawl scene of "The Trouble With Tribbles," Scotty punches a Klingon across the room--without touching him. Maybe Scotty can use TheForce like Luke?
* The ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Code of Honor" has a particularly inept fight scene at the episode's climax, with most of the action being shot from the same camera angle, and the two combatants (Tasha Yar and an alien woman) standing on what looks like a children's climbing frame and mostly just flailing around at each other with spiked gloves. This was largely due to the episode's director having been fired the day before the sequence was shot, and the first assistant director -- who had never directed ''anything'' before, much less an action sequence -- having to take over.
* Parodied on ''TheFastShow''. They showed a clip from a 'new British gangster movie'. The title was a parody of ''TheLongGoodFriday'', ''The Long Big Punch Up''. It was basically two blokes on a bit of wasteland, just doing one really slow, telegraphed, obviously wide of the mark punch after another. [[OverlyLongGag Over and over again]].
* A frequent occurrence in the black-and-white era of ''Series/DoctorWho''; as with ''Series/TheAvengers'' above, most of the early stuff had to be done in one take.
** "The Web Planet" was forced to have some seriously awful fighting scenes in it, as the monster costumes used were so delicate
* Many fights on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' are made of this trope. Also, any time swords are brought on to either ''Buffy'' or ''Angel''. Overlaps with Obvious StuntDouble when Buffy and Angel swordfight in the season 2 finale. As soon as the camera pulls back, Buffy grows several inches, and Angel has a drastically receding hairline. {{Lampshaded}} by Joss in his DVD commentary for ''Hush:'' "Look! Buffy's strapped on her fighting boobs!"
* Parodied with "Kickpuncher" on ''Series/{{Community}}''. [[http://www.hulu.com/watch/125968/community-kickpuncher-with-abed-and-troy#s-p1-sr-i1 Abed and Troy make their own version]], with even more StylisticSuck.
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' had this in its Season 2 final. Chuck has an IKnowKarate moment, and his actor had clearly very little stage fighting experience. They must have worked on it in the off-season break, as he's much much better in season 3.
** And used as a plot-point in Season 3. Shaw fakes a rescue of Chuck and Sarah which includes shooting 3 enemy agents, and having a fight with 2 more. There is some horrible stage fighting, with punches and kicks being missed all over the place. It turns out that he's a double agent and the fight was staged intentionally.
** It's also telling that the only person who figured out that Shaw was faking was Morgan, thanks to many-many hours of watching bad [[{{Fuxia}} kung-fu movies]]. All the CIA/NSA experts watching the footage took it at face value.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Castiel's actor Creator/MishaCollins appeared to have little stage fighting experience in season 4, making some of his fight scenes look mildly awkward. He improved massively in season 5.
* ''Series/KnightRider'' is infamous for this, too: The proper way to knock someone out is to swing one's fist past their stunt double (who'd look nothing like the real deal if they weren't wearing roughly the same clothes) at a distance of 2 ft.
* On ''Series/RobinHood'' we had Marian punch out Guy of Gisborne at the altar. Her fist ''clearly'' doesn't connect with his face. Other fight scenes amongst the outlaws were rather clumsy, particularly whenever Robin blocked a sword-blow from an opponent with his bow. ''It's made of wood, people!'' And the fight between Robin and Guy in ''Tattoo, What Tattoo?'' involves both actors obligingly lining themselves up for the other one to more easily punch them.
* Fights on the 1960's ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series were almost always like this. The missed punches were often covered up by the now-famous [[TheHitFlash hit flashes]] of "POW!"/"ZAP!"/"WHAMMO!" etc etc.
* ''MonsterWarriors'' has this in spades. For example, one girl is hit by a giant snake, but she falls down before the CGI snake actually hits her. Whether this trope was deliberately invoked (given the B-movie inspiration for the series) is debatable (given how seriously the show takes itself).
* During the [[DorkAge Bruce Kalish era]], ''Franchise/PowerRangers ''fights were basically "everything you see elsewhere on this page, but in slow-mo to make ''sure'' you see how terrible it is, and with explosions happening in the background at random points for no discernible reason." Disney's censors may be partially to blame, though, with the limits of how and where a person could be hit becoming increasingly restrictive - when this was at its worst, blows tended to miss by a light-year or be blocked so far away from the body that if the person hadn't moved, it would ''still'' have done them no harm. Most of these complaints are about the unmorphed fights - people getting smacked around is alright so long as you don't actually see their bodies, apparently. There were still a few 'jump up in front of the explosion and yell' moments to go around, though.
** The reason the unmorphed fights tend to be worse in this regard is because morphed fights are usually StockFootage from ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', which has less strict guidelines on violence.
* ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'' improved on a few aspects over [[Anime/SailorMoon the anime]], but the fight scenes were certainly not one of them. BalletFu or not, the choreography is insultingly stupid and it lost a great number of viewers for that reason. It got better as time went on.
* ''Series/DaysOfOurLives'' doesn't have many fight scenes, but whenever somebody just ''has'' to fight, it's quite obvious that the choreographer was on break and the actors are much more suited to crying and then [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex losing their clothes as they make up]] than throwing a punch.
* ''HomeAndAway''. Dear god, that show had the lamest fight scenes. Simply involved both participants rolling in the sand and somehow getting massive black eyes and other cuts and bruises. However, there was a storyline where Ric was hospitalized after an illegal street fight. That fight actually did involve some reasonable-looking punches.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' occasionally had this; Creator/JMichaelStraczynski himself (via producer's commentary) [[WordOfGod points out a shot]] in Severed Dreams when Garibaldi attempts to [[PistolWhipping hit a mook with his PPG rifle]]; the blow clearly doesn't connect, and JMS apologizes for it.
* Susan Lucci once recounted a particularly horrible scene she had on ''Series/AllMyChildren.'' First off, neither she nor her costar were trained fighters, but it was a catfight, so that wasn't a problem. However, the scene took place outdoors, in the rain, while both were in tight-fitting clothes and high heels. Adding even more to it, both actresses were wearing lotion, which combined with the artificial rain and made them both incredibly slippery. By the end, the "fight" was merely the two actors grabbing each other by the wrist and flailing back and forth.
* Australian comedy ''The Late Show'' spoofed this in its GagDub "The Olden Days", in which the actors get into a fight over their ability to stage an unconvincing fight scene.
-->"Unrealistic fight scenes are a piece of piss! First I'll tip over the table, then I'll stagger into the crowd. Then the fat guy will pull me aside...now you in the corner, propel yourself across the room for no apparent reason!"
* ''Series/SherlockHolmes'' - in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjKXFBkNE10 brief bar brawl]] between Holmes and a drunken ruffian, the opening backhand obviously misses and slightly later one of Holmes' punches is obviously aimed below the chin. However, the fight is otherwise competently staged.
* A ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' Weekend Update skit ended up unintentionally--and hilariously--lampshading this. Jimmy Fallon was incensed at Tina Fey's snarky remarks and as such, repeatedly struck her in the face. Unfortunately, the sound effect was absent, making it seem as though he were really hitting her, leaving the audience in stunned silence. Once the sound effect was fixed and the noise of the punch landing was put in, the audience laughed heartily, prompting Tina to continue snarking, "You see how much funnier it is with the sound effect?"
* The "Magical Video Game Controller" sketch from ''Series/IncredibleCrew'' has this as its climax, with some SpecialEffectFailure thrown in for good measure at the end.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Happens very, VERY often in wrestling, sometimes when a move misses its mark, sometimes when the recipient of the move [[FingerPokeOfDoom overreacts]] or [[NoSell fails to react at all]]. Countless examples end up on {{Botchamania}}.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* The page quote stems from an in-universe example from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', wherein General Tarquin is complaining about a staged gladiator fight. The two gladiators are [[HeterosexualLifePartners best friends]], so they of course don't want to hurt each other. However, their ruse is not working, and a TearJerker follows.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''ThereWillBeBrawl'': In some scenes, the fights are just too slow to look realistic. Episode 10 is a big one.
* [[WebVideo/TGWTGYearOneBrawl The]] Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses big battle is made of this, but they're doing it [[StylisticSuck on purpose]] for the RuleOfFunny. The cartoonish sound effects don't help matters.
** In his commentary over the N. Bison/Dr. Insano fight in {{Kickassia}}, Film Brain reminds people disappointed in the fight that they were in another person's house and had to be careful not to mess it up, so what we got really was the best thing possible, especially considering the time and money issues.
** Ditto the original Final Battle between the Critic and the Nerd. The lightsaber scene alone was too ridiculous ''not'' to be a parody. (Also, during the "dueling kicks" sequence, you can see the Nerd's hand resting on the tv to balance himself. Yeah.)
* [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/9-supposed-action-stars-who-clearly-couldnt-fight/ These guys]], according to Website/{{Cracked}}. Of course, in the case of Fred Williamson, {{Seanbaby}} notes that he was clearly holding back to prevent himself from seriously injuring people since as a former professional American Football player he was capable of crippling others if he went all out.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Pretty much any ''Franchise/{{X-Men}}'' series has this problem, save for the ''Wolverine vs. Hulk'' short movie, when showing Wolverine fighting, since they are often aimed at kids and therefore heavily toned down in visible violence. Since his entire powers are to cut things apart with his retractable claws and [[HealingFactor heal from wounds]], writers often go out of their way to make him miss any living opponent he fights, sometimes with rather silly moments. Basically, you may choose from the following for Wolverine's enemies: MechaMook, NoSell, GoodThingYouCanHeal. Otherwise Wolvie's gonna tackle someone.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Wolverine And The X-Men}}'' might possibly be the worst offender. One fight has Wolverine fighting [[ArchEnemy Sabertooth]], a mutant with simliar powers (including the claws) as his. It involves Wolverine cutting off a branch of a tree to use it as a club against Sabretooth and ends with Sabertooth pulling a bazooka sized Taser out of his trenchcoat and knocking out Wolverine.
* The first ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' movies followed strict violence guidelines, which forbid the characters from using their "tools" (LEGO still shied away from using the word "weapon" at the time) for their intended purpose. Thus we get scenes like Tahu storming onto a villain, flipping in the air above it, flashing his Magma Swords, planting them into the ground, and sending small lines of fire ''around'' the villain, making it... annoyed at the hot air? This was phased out later, and the fourth movie had tons of genuine physical combat, although the characters would take awkward, second-long pauses after every swipe, and in one shot, a villain chasing one of the heroes simply vanished when the camera panned to the side.
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