Fighting in live action movies and TV has always been varied when it comes to the styles of combat going from John Wicks beautifully choreographed “gun fu” all the way to Fight Clubs gritty street fighting styles, there is a lot of ways and styles of combat that you can use to create a good fight scene as there are a lot of options including having weapons, fist fights, on or in vehicles, honestly the variety is endless.
The Mark of Zorro (1920) Directed by Fred Niblo [Feature Film] California: United Artists
The first choreographed fight scene in a movie though is actually going back to the 1920’s with “The Mark of Zorro” as it was done with fencing and so were a lot of movies back then since a choreographer Paddy Crean was revolutionising how fighting in combat was being done and especially with Swords and daggers. While this was happening in the west, Japan was producing their own movies with martial arts in, which started with Orochi and they put martial arts into the film industry but was yet not popular in the west until Bruce Lee started his career and paved the future of hand to hand combat.
Orochi (1925) Directed by Buntarō Futagawa [Feature Film] Japan:Digital Meme
When it comes to the start of combat in animation, it’s more just cartoon violence with big exaggerated hits like Popeye or Mickey Mouse. The more realistic combat I am looking for hasn’t got a specific 2D animation as there is nothing cementing down what did it first but 3D computer animation wise, there was a Mortal Kombat movie that came out in 1995 called Mortal Kombat-the Journey Begins and after over 35 years of having computer animation, we finally got our first fight scene.
Mortal Kombat the Journey begins (1995) Directed by Joseph Francis [Feature Film] New York New Line Cinema