Killing for Justice!
We all know how real fights go; they’re boring. They go by extremely fast before one person is knocked out and somebody breaks it up. Worst of all, by the end, someone has actually been hurt, and it might have affects that will last them the rest of their lives. Laaaaaaame.
What’s cool about the movies is that a fight can go on for as long as the writer feels it should be dragged out, so punches can last forever. In the same amount of time it takes for the female heroine to make it to the military base, get past all the guards, bypass the security mainframes, upload the antivirus to ensure the world doesn’t die by turning into diseased mutant pigs, her male hero counterpart has just been punching the lead villain the entire time. EVERY. SINGLE. PUNCH. LANDING. IN. THEIR. FACE.
It makes me think the writers have never been in a fight, but rather think of the human body as being an unbreakable death machine meant to take as much damage and punishment as the antagonists care to bring on them. How are these characters able to endure such abuse? Keep reading.
Punch after punch, kick after kick, they crush each others’ bones long after any normal human would have given up and mouthed through blood and broken teeth, “You win.” Harrison Ford movies feature this commonly. If there is a fight scene, you can bet he’ll be putting most of his body weight into a single punch, with the receiver being put into a daze from how hard it was, with only just enough time to take a breath before the next blow is delivered. And he expects the same treatment. When you punch him, you better believe he feels it. James Bond is a fan of the same. Heck, here’s ten minutes of it.
But that’s only if the combatants are equal. If it’s one man against the mob, the mob is going to need more people. You’ve seen Neo at work. Or Spider-Man. Or just about any kung-fu movie. The Protector (2005) has Tony Jaa going up against an entire building of thugs. And in one shot, no less.
Thug underlings are weak, pathetic humans just out looking for a quick buck and maybe a rape or two. They have no goals, no morals, and no real purpose other than to pillage and destroy. Because of this, their bones are brittle and easily broken, while the hero has been eating his Wheaties and honing his skill, his cause becoming more and more clear with each scene.
But it must be for a NOBLE cause. If your cause is not noble, you cannot defeat wave after wave of enemies. If you’re as talented as the hero, but you’re bad, you must be either the lead antagonist (if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty), or his right hand man. Otherwise, killing man after man isn’t for an ultimate purpose rather than to achieve your own sadistic goals or maybe just for fun. It’s akin to the Dark Side of the Force. Giving in to your own evil desires may give you a sort of power more destructive than the thug underling, but in the end, it’s the heroic crusader that will win out. Arnold taking on an entire small army in Commando (1985) is similar to the Dark Side of this but it is the heroic version since he’s doing it to save his daughter after his friend was murdered.
Take Rambu for instance, of Rambu: The Intruder. This guy knows that at the end of the day, the ladies are what it’s all about.
No, that’s not an apple in his hand, it’s a tennis ball and Rambu wields it with deadly accuracy. Don’t try hitting any old ladies with cars and refusing to pay what you owe them. Not when he’s around. If you don’t want your plastic windows all smashed out, then pay up. Now, we all know the story of Riki. His tale is a violent one and is told in The Story of RIki. Here, his conquest is a personal one and we all know about blood feuds and the kind of fury that’s unleashed in them. But hey, who can blame a guy who went to prison for killing the crime lord that killed his girlfriend. Intense. At one point, in the most ridiculously cheap, insanely realistic fight scene, Riki gets cut with a knife and then proceeds to tie his own tendons back together. Read that sentence again just for full effect. The cover claims the following:
It’s Evil Dead 2, Braindead, and The Matrix, times ten, turned up to eleven!
That should tell you how powerful the blood feud is regardless of intent. But in the end, Riki is ultimately trying to clean up the prison system by using the most violent means possible.
So in the end, what does any of this mean? That violence is acceptable? That punching someone’s eye out of their head is something that should be taught in churches, schools, and homes across the nation? No. Your body isn’t tough enough. You need to be heroic. Heroic acts of violence normally come from having your parents are murdered, your daughter (or elephant) has been kidnapped, you’re trying to stop a bomb, clean up the prison you’re doomed to die in, trying to get an old lady’s milk money back or just all around don’t like the way your neighbor is looking at you.
Keep these things in mind and your violence will always be righteous.