WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 4, Episode 3 of Preacher, "Deviant," which aired Sunday on AMC.
AMC's Preacher has done something as idiosyncratic as it is impressive. Somehow, the series, which has always had impressive action sequences, just took the crown from Daredevil for the most insane long-take fight scene on television. Few filmmaking achievements in action cinema are as viscerally engaging as the long-take fight scene, which involves sophisticated choreography and camera movements to create one continuous shot. When it's pulled off well, it can be absolutely arresting.
Long takes like the hallway fight from the Korean revenge-drama Oldboy or the car sequence from Children of Men are legendary. Plenty of television shows have also tried their hand at incorporating long-takes in their action sequences. The escape scene from True Detective's first season was the high-water mark, and eventually Netflix's Daredevil turned the long-take fight sequence into one of the show's hallmarks. Now, AMC's Preacher has taken things to a new level.
In what might be the most visually interesting fight sequences on television this year, we watch as Dominic Cooper's Jesse Custer lays waste to a hallway of people attending Jesus de Sade's hedonistic gathering, with extreme prejudice. We've seen Jesse in plenty of brawls over the course of the past three seasons, but those fights were never been shot and choreographed with such frenetic energy in one seemingly propulsive take quite like this. Now, to be fair, it's pretty obvious this scene wasn't truly shot in a single take. There are plenty of camera tricks and digital effects at play throughout the fight. However, they are used to amplify the momentum instead of being reminders of a cut being hidden, which is important to note.
Preacher is still going to be Preacher in terms of its level of crass visual gags and explosive over-the-top gore, no matter how a fight scene is shot. So the long-take fight sequence in the third episode of Preacher's final season is packed with all of the blood and perverted physical humor we've come to expect. And for some reason, the fact the level of violence is so outrageous makes the scene even more impressive. There's so much more going on than just following a character from over their shoulder, or one slow-moving tracking shot focus on a fist fight. There is a true sense of mayhem being pumped into your field of view and it won't stop moving.
This scene isn't going to win over any new fans, but it has to be seen by any action movie devotee. Similar to how the church fight scene from Kingsmen: The Secret Service will always be married to that movie, the long-take hallway fight in Preacher is an action sequence that will be recalled in any discussion of the show for years to come.
Airing Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, Preacher stars Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip and Joe Gilgun as Cassidy the Vampire, Pip Torrens as Herr Starr, Malcolm Barrett as Hoover and Julie Ann Emery as Featherstone.