It may come as a surprise to some of you action junkies, but the first stop to make if you want to learn how to do action may be an artist that surprises you: the unimpeachable Buster Keaton.

Keaton is a legend of comedy filmmaking and a big part of that was his impeccable skill at creating large, multi-faceted set pieces that laid the groundwork for how great contemporary action films build their own sequences.

Follow Us

Buster was the king of the gag, but he was also an innovator and a pioneer of filmic language. And his work is every bit as applicable to action filmmaking as it is to comedy. Want some proof? Take a look at this most recent installment of Tony Zhou’s video essay series, “Every Frame A Painting,” and stand in awe of the genius of Buster Keaton…