I’m a nerd. I love Star Wars. And I also love tactics and training in martial arts. What better way to combine them than by talking movie fights and what they do right/wrong? Let’s take a look at the fight between Jango and Obi-Wan on the Kamino platform. It’s a really exciting fight. Like most movie fights not directed by Michael Mann, it does this without being technically well executed. I’ll break it down into sections and comment on each.
I’ll be covering Jango’s (and a couple things from Boba) here, mostly because my expertise is there. I know a good bit about shooting and punching people. However, I’m not a Jedi, and I don’t know the limitations of the Force. Also, I’m a poor swordsman and a worse force user. So I won’t comment on Obi-Wan’s techniques here.
The fight opens with Boba seeing Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan draws and ignites his lightsaber, and Jango goes for his blaster pistols. Screw talking.
Jango opens fire, and uses his jetpack to get some standoff range.
1.) Jango has a reasonably quick rate of fire here. I might expect better with two guns, but then, I don’t know how well that scales. His times between shots are pretty good here. I’ll save any further snarking about the inferiority of the use of two pistols at once for another article.
2.) Using the jetpack to maintain separation (and get more) is a good idea.
3.) Jango does quite a bit of shooting on the move in the opening. Ordinarily, I’d be very strongly opposed to it. Generally, you give up more in accuracy than you gain in becoming a harder target to hit. Of course, that conventional wisdom assumes an enemy who also has a ranged weapon and that you’re moving on your feet. Given that the jetpack seems to move him in a relatively stable fashion, I’ll give this one to him. His accuracy isn’t affected in much of a negative way compared to his initial volley either.
Jango uses his jetpack to hide behind a column. Having given Obi-Wan a visual slip (and having holstered his blasters), he fires a missile from his jetpack.
4.) That’s a good move. Not sure why he didn’t do that earlier, since he doesn’t appear to need his hands free to do it. The missile is sort of effective–it gets Obi-Wan to drop his lightsaber. As usual, Hollywood has no idea what explosions do. That should have hurt a lot more judging by proximity of the blast and likely fragments. Hollywood explosions are big on pretty fireballs. Real explosions are big on fragments, pressure waves, perforated eardrums, and death. They don’t look as good as a big, gasoline-based fireball.
5.) He really should press the attack once the missile hits. Shock and awe only works if you keep with the up-tempo attacks. Jango is old enough and experienced enough to know better than to sit back and admire his handiwork.
Boba now gets in on the action by deploying Slave I’s blasters, which knocks Obi-Wan back again.
6.) Not sure why Boba stops shooting to watch. He seems to have done okay using shipboard sensors before. Don’t admire your handiwork! Press your advantage! Boba’s a kid though, so maybe Jango hasn’t gotten this lesson in his head yet. It usually takes a lot of coachly yelling in the boxing gym or wherever you learn hitting for this lesson to stick.
Jango leaves his perch to engage Obi-Wan, apparently closing the distance, blasters drawn. Obi-Wan catches Jango with a flying sidekick, sending his blasters flying.
7.) And you were doing so well. This part makes no sense. Why leave your perch? Why come down? Why close the distance? There’s the column you were hiding behind, another column, and your ship in terms of high places to be. Blasters are ranged weapons. You can shoot the lightsaber-less jedi from your perch. Or from midair. You should not be close enough for a flying sidekick, force-assist or no. Maintain distance on the melee fighter and shoot him. The jetpack should be helping you keep your distance here.
8.) If he wanted to change position, doing it while the ship attacks would have been better. Or in a direction not towards the Jedi.
9.) During his descent, Jango isn’t shooting, even though his blasters are clearly drawn. He was shooting during the ascent, so he can clearly shoot in flight reasonably well. If it made sense on the ascent (and it seemed to) it should here as well. Probably even more so since Obi’s not blocking without his lightsaber.
There’s a good bit of hand-to-hand fighting between Jango and Obi Wan, who are pretty evenly matched. Obi-Wan has some more good kicks, some blocked, some aren’t. Jango has a wild right haymaker that gets blocked and gets separation with a headbutt.
10.) Not sure why he doesn’t fire his jetpack to regain separation here. Unless he’s trying to keep Obi-Wan’s hands occupied. In which case, he’s not doing it well, and he should be going for the wrestling/grappling stuff.
11.) Jango has a very strange arsenal. He seems to carry a shitton of gear, but lacks a knife, which would help a lot in a close fight like this.
12.) Jango does have wrist blades, at least in his right gauntlet. But he does not use them here, and this is the perfect opportunity. Blades are great in a close fight. Admittedly, blades on the side of the forearm look cool but are really hard to actually use.
13.) He also doesn’t use the flamethrower in his left gauntlet. Again, this seems a good time for it. Unless his armor/clothing aren’t flame resistant.
14.) Nor does he use the mini rocket that appears to be on his left gauntlet (but he never uses this ever in the movie, so who knows what that actually is).
15.) It’s also odd to me that Jango doesn’t carry a small blaster as a back up gun, given how much other shit he’s got. If he gained separation with the jetpack (or after the headbutt) he could use a back up gun to good effect.
16.) That wild punch. That is the kind of punch you expect from an untrained dude. Probably a big dude. Jango isn’t big. He’s about medium height (Obi-Wan is a bit taller) and fit. He isn’t super heavy. As someone whose profession depends on his ability to kick ass, he should be a lot more technical with his striking. One telegraphed, wild haymaker is not what I’d expect from him. We should see a tighter combo.
17.) The headbutt was a good choice. Especially because he’s got a helmet and Obi-Wan doesn’t.
Obi-Wan tries to retrieve his lightsaber with the force. Jango activates his jetpack, uses a whipcord to tie Obi Wan’s hands, and starts dragging him.
18.) I don’t understand this either. Clearly lacking another blaster, Jango chooses to use his whipcord to wrap up Obi-Wan’s hands. And then drag him. A more effective choice here given the equipment would be to activate his jetpack and hit Obi-Wan linebacker style. You’ve got a helmet, he doesn’t. It’s gonna hurt him a lot more than it hurts you.
19.) Another good chance for flamethrower usage, depending on its range. In general, Hollywood flamethrowers are propane torches, which look cool, but don’t have the range of the real deal (which use heavier fuel).
Jango drags Obi-Wan along the platform. Obi-Wan wraps the cable around a pylon, forcing Jango to crash and his jetpack to malfunction.
20.) Yeah, still don’t see the point of this, and it lost you your damn jetpack. Fucking moron. Why he doesn’t drag Obi-Wan directly towards the water is beyond me. Or just jettison the cord.
Jango goes for his dropped blaster. Obi-Wan charges him and knocks him off the platform with another flying sidekick.
21.) Jango gets tunnel vision here for that gun. He’s not really aware of how quickly Obi-Wan is closing in.
22.) A backup blaster would be helpful here too. It’d be a lot quicker to get into action than running to retrieve your dropped pistol.
23.) Dealing with the charging opponent is more important than getting your blaster into play. This could easily be a tackle or a takedown. Avoid or stuff that first before getting your gun into action. This is running into Tueller territory, which is probably for another post. Suffice to stay, standing still is a bad idea.
24.) Full arm extension is a poor choice for that sort of shot, given how close Obi-Wan is. A chest index is a lot better for not leaving your gun out there to be grabbed, and getting more than one shot off. This is kind of hard to explain, but what Jango does here is a Bad Idea.
There’s not much tactics to the rest of the fight. Jango falls, dragging Obi-Wan with him, and manages to release the cable before Obi-Wan drags him into the sea. Cue dramatic escape, homing beacon, and another fight, now with starships.