black panther casino fight

In the hype-filled weeks leading up to the release of Black Panther, one of the few scenes to be shown in its entirety was the casino fight scene. And for good reason.

In a movie teeming with exciting action scenes, the casino fight stands out. Taking place on two levels of an illicit casino in South Korea, it’s perhaps the most stylish and stylized of all the battles in Black Panther not simply because of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and Okoye’s (Danai Gurira) glamorous outfits. It’s because the scene has the balletic choreography and assured camera work of a great action film. And for a Marvel movie, that’s saying something.

In a video for Vanity Fair, director Ryan Coogler breaks down the minutiae of the scene, including everything from the colors of T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye’s outfits, to that iconic wig-throwing moment.

The Black Panther casino fight scene is a dynamic and sleek riff on James Bond movies — a franchise that director Coogler cited as a heavy inspiration for Black Panther — as well as a sly homage to the movie’s pan-African roots.

Black Panther Casino Fight Scene

One of my favorite things about this scene is the confident camera movement from the first to second floor midway through the fight scene — showcasing the action in one long take. It’s a technique that Coogler has used before in Fruitvale Station and Creed, and he goes into fascinating detail about how hard it was to pull off here. “It took several takes,” Coogler says. “What we had to do is we had to float a camera up with a cable rig.There’s no green screen here, it’s all happening live and direct.”

There are some other really cool factoids, like the purposeful reflection of the colors of the Pan-African flag in the trio’s red, green, and black outfits, as well as the distinction between their different fighting styles. Pay attention especially when Coogler goes into the fighting style of Okoye — the true star of this scene. So much research has gone into creating a full portrait of Okoye and the Dora Milaje, and most of it goes unsaid in the movie. It’s incredibly fun to see Coogler reveal those details like the giddy fanboy he is.

Here is the official synopsis for Black Panther:

After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Black Panther is currently playing in theaters.

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