The girlies can slay

I'm bringing a real 'let's watch a video' kind of vibe to this week's newsletter

By Jesse Mostipak in blog

April 19, 2023

Note: this was originally published in Weighted Tangents, my Substack newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Sometimes I have so much to say that I write three or four newsletters in a single sitting, and other times I’m so buried in work and life and the utter heaviness of being that I find myself scrambling to pull together a coherent piece for the week. But after last week’s episode on 4,299 pages of bloodshed I started watching all of my favorite fight scenes and collecting them into a single post until I realized I had created a “greatest hits from Vikings” post. This would normally be fine except that the power of these assorted clips comes from understanding the stories and characters and intricacies of various plotlines, and to explain the meaning behind each clip would take hundreds of thousands of words.

So instead I’ve compiled a handful of my favorite fight scenes featuring women, none of which require a deep understanding of the story to appreciate, with selections heavily influenced by recency bias. Watch at your own risk—there’s violence and spoilers aplenty.

Atomic Blonde

Hands-down one of my favorite movies, Charlize Theron is utterly incredible in Atomic Blonde. This stairwell fight floored me when I saw it in theaters, and I still cannot watch it without getting chills. This is, to me, the epitome of a fight scene. It’s a faux-single shot in a stairwell, beautifully crafted, and impeccably choreographed.

A single shot is when a scene is filmed without any camera cuts, and the longer a shot the more exacting the choreography must be. This sequence has some very clever (and hidden) camera cuts, but Theron had to perform the scene as if it was a single shot, and the resulting scene was the first of its kind when it hit the screens in 2017.

Fast & Furious 6

Listen I love a big dumb action movie the way some people love romantic comedies, and I will always make time for the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast cars, family, and fighting are all I need to be entertained, and the fight between Letty and Riley does not disappoint. I actually hate that they cut back and forth between two fights for this scene, but since I’m not a big fancy Hollywood director I don’t really get a say.

Vikings: Valhalla

Are there some remnants of the Battle of Blackwater Bay in here? Absolutely. But that doesn’t detract from the showdown between Freydis and Olaf in this short but satisfying fight.


Lagertha, long may she reign, is one of my favorite fictional characters. She’s fiercely talented, and by the time we get to her character arc in season 6 all she really wants is to retire from the warrior life and take care of a small homestead in the woods (same girl, same). But the men who’ve been cast out from Kattegat can’t leave well enough alone and they decide to pick a fight with this legendary shieldmaiden. At this point in the story Lagertha is around 55 years old, tired of everyone’s shit, and delivers one of the best fight scenes of the series.

Until next week!


Posted on:
April 19, 2023
3 minute read, 532 words
newsletter weighted tangents movies television Vikings Vikings: Valhalla Atomic Blonde FF6
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