Iron Fist’s Finn Jones learned the show’s fight choreography just 15 minutes before a scene

5 min read
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While the general consensus is that Iron Fist is Marvel and Netflix’s weakest offering in their solo runups to The Defenders, there are many viewers who still enjoyed it. And while I am definitely not one of them, I definitely won’t judge them poorly for it as everybody has different tastes. However, I’m fairly confident that most people on both sides of the critical divide will agree that if there’s one aspect of Iron Fist that drops the ball, it’s the show’s fighting.

This is an especially egregious misstep seeing as how Iron Fist’s whole schtick is his superior kung fu – he’s supposed to be one of, if not the best pure martial artist in the Marvel universe. And yet, in Iron Fist he definitely doesn’t look it. Now a lot of that comes down to the very uninventive fight choreography of the show, which stands as a stark contrast to the complex, brilliantly engineered action set pieces of Daredevil for example. Its famous season one single-take corridor fight, season two’s stairwell fight and Punisher’s prison cell brawl, and so many other moments in the show stand head and shoulders above most of the action directing and cinematography work in Iron Fist.

But another massive component of this lacklustre action was Iron Fist himself, Finn Jones. The Game of Thrones actor had no previous martial arts experience when he landed the role, and it appears he barely got any even after he was cast. Speaking to Metro, Jones revealed that due to Iron Fist’s accelerated shooting schedule, which was way shorter than Marvel’s previous Netflix offerings due to the fact that it had be shot back to back with The Defenders, he had a very limited training period.

It was very intense to begin with. When I first moved over to New York, before I started actually filming, I had three weeks of very intense martial arts and weight training preparation. But then unfortunately once the show started, the filming schedule was just so tight – I was working 14 hours every day, six days a week, days into nights, nights into days – and actually my schedule didn’t allow me to continue the training as much as I really hoped.

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Now just to put things in context, AMC’s Into the Badlands, a show that also features several non-martial artists having to perform intense fighting in each episode, had their entire cast undergo three months of hectic martial arts training before production commenced. Jones only got a quarter of that. Unfortunately though, the situation gets even worse.

So really on my days off, I only had Sunday and half a day on Saturday off, I’d be in the gym and trying to keep up with being flexible and learning martial arts. But really, I was learning the fight scenes 15 minutes before we actually shot them because the schedule was so tight. So 15 minutes before the stunt director would talk me through the choreography and I’d just jump straight into it. It really was a baptism of fire and I just learned on the job and I’ve been doing it for 12 months now. With practise you just get better and better with dealing with that kind of schedule.

Well, crap. That certainly explains a lot. Particularly why I’m pretty sure I can kick and punch better than most of what I saw Iron Fist doing in the series. Unfortunately, with Iron Fist wrapping production in September 2016 and The Defenders starting filming in November 2016, it means that Jones has probably not got around to putting in the extra training time he needs for the big miniseries.

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Last Updated: March 27, 2017

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Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    That’s some serious under-prepping by the show runners. The fighting wasn’t great overall, makes me appreciate the stuff Jones got right a bit more & think he could actually be damn good with time for proper training & planning.

    • Sock-puppet

      Considering he’s been training on his off days he definitely could’ve been a better fighter if Marvel and Netflix just slowed down a little bit, so far the only thing they have accomplished with the massive line-up of series and movies is over saturation where people are pointedly saying it’s just another Marvel movie, nothing special.

      Which is really sad.

      • Captain JJ

        Yea, that’s a very good point.

    • KayCee

      Finn aint a bad actor, just the whole Iron Fist thing wasn’t thought out. In a way this show deserves it bad reviews so now they know not to do a rush job

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    That’s a serious nod to the abilities of Finn Jones. It just means the second season is going to be awesome! Seriously though, if you compare his fight scenes to the ones in Luke Cage (which were very poor), and you realise the guy managed to pull them off with limited choreography training….

    Finn Jones… you are the man!

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    I would rate the Marvel Netflix shows as follows:

    DareDevil Season 1
    Jessica Jones Season 1
    Iron Fist Season 1
    DareDevil Season 2
    Luke Cage Season 1

    Granted all of them are better than Arrow… and that’s what’s really important. I hate Arrow so much. Please… CTHULU kill Felicity!!!!

    • For the Emperor!

      You shut your mouth! I like Arrow and Felicity! Granted I am not done with Season 4 yet (the worst thus far I’ll admit) and heard it goes further downhill from where I am in it at the moment. But at least they will be killing Laurel Lance soon! Aaaaand promptly bringing back her Earth 2 “doppelganger” courtesy of the 100th fastest person alive…and hoping we like her more…

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Yeah season 4 is bad, starts getting better in 5 again.

        • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

          Season 4 of Arrow was dire… :/

    • For the Emperor!

      PS I would put Luke Cage above Iron Fist at the moment. Not done with DD season 2 yet so will not judge it yet.

    • Captain JJ

      I’d push Iron Fist to the bottom and put Luke Cage above Daredevil S2.

    • Captain JJ

      If Admiral reads that about Felicity he’ll come for you XD
      I must agree though, Arrow has fallen far.

    • Skyblue

      Save yourself the aggravation and watch Legion. By far the best Marvel associated TV project.

      • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

        I watched the first episode of Legion, and I thought I might have accidentally gotten myself stoned on acid… Does it become more coherent or does it remain a mad display of insanity?

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Yes, and yes.

        • Skyblue

          It is initially very “trippy” but it just keeps getting better and better as it slowly reveals what is really happening. This show is better than any of the Netflix Marvel offerings and has easily cracked my all time top 5 which includes Soprano’s, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Band of Brothers.

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      Have you not been watching Season 5 of Arrow dude? No Olicity, just straight up badassery for the most part. Prometheus is an awesome villain as well.

      Ironically, Iron Fist was basically a dumb rehash of Arrow Season 1.

      • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

        Dude, season 4 left me so deflated, I kind of just dropped it all together. If you say it’s improved, I’ll give it a go, but first I want to watch the new season of The Expanse.

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          Here’s how it’s improved:
          1) No Olicity drama. Both have moved on to other relationships, which don’t clog up the narrative regardless.
          2) The fight scenes are back to being 1v1 for the most part, so no more of those silly looking group fights.
          3) No Laurel drama
          4) Prometheus is a very compelling villain because he returns the series to its original grounded roots, compared to the mysticism that Ra’s and Darhk brought out.
          5) Oliver has started using some trick arrows.
          6) Diggle’s story is phenomenal, involving this great conspiracy.
          7) The flashbacks feature Dolph Lundgren as the villain!

          The only complaint I have is that the new recruits take some getting used, but I personally have grown to like them a lot.

          The Expanse looked pretty interesting. Haven’t heard much about it though.

    • devonair

      I’ll definitely agree with you that all of the Netflix Marvel shows are better than Arrow (and WAAAAY better than Flash), but I’d have to change up that order some… To date, my personal order would be:

      Jessica Jones Season 1: a nearly perfect season with one of the most intriguing villains I’ve ever watched.

      DareDevil Season 1: great up until he put on the real suit, at which point there was an undeniable “cheese factor” that hadn’t been present in any of the episodes leading up to it. It’s as if there were different writers and a different director instructing the cast to make everything more “comic book-y” to go with the suit. It suddenly felt like a completely different show.

      DareDevil Season 2: could have been better than Season 1 if there had been no Elektra. I’m really looking forward to a Punisher show. I hate that it looks like Elektra’s character won’t stay dead.

      Luke Cage Season 1: so much promise, but bland, stale, boring acting by most of the leads — especially Luke Cage and Cottonmouth. Awesome soundtrack, though.
      ..
      ..
      ..
      ..
      ..
      Iron Fist Season 1: I wish there more shows for me to place on this list between Luke Cage and Iron Fist, because this show really feels like it should be further down.

  • Original Heretic

    I’ll get to this, one day this year, hopefully.
    After I finish daredevl s2. (only two eps left)
    And Jessica Jones (only watched 3 so far)
    And Luke Cage (haven’t even started!!)

  • I’m still enjoying the series but the fight scenes are abysmal… really really bad.

    Stupid bean counters at Netflix pushing production to get our cash

  • Captain JJ

    I must agree the fighting scenes were rather bland and uninteresting.

  • Skyblue

    Oh well, I’ll always have Legion.

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