Once Upon A Time, I Loved Action Films

2014-07-26 10:27

Being an action hero fan does not subsequently result in you miraculously inheriting your idols' dynamic abilities. I know this from personal experience. A lot of things which take place so spontaneously in action films may not exactly apply in reality. As a matter of fact, they’re likely to back-fire explosively in reality.

Quite a number of ignorant folk found out the hard way before the (don’t try this at home) disclaimer was popularized. I personally know a few unfortunate brothers whose lives were ruined by enacting the heroism's of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Van Damme, Chuck Norris, James Bond and many others we won’t implicate now.

In action films, there’s usually an exchange of witty ‘punch lines’ in-between actual punches, but in reality this act might prove costly. I loved action flicks when I was growing up, but I just couldn't stand the James Bond (007) franchise. Take nothing away from the exotic technical and production excellence of the renowned series.

As much as James Bond was always getting sent on dangerous espionage assignments, it likewise felt like a dreadful assignment crowding any of his awfully long films. On the contrary, my parents felt like ‘bloody agent’ 007 was the IT of action films. So did all the hot promiscuous women James slept with during his legendary missions. At some degree I didn’t know if I was watching a film or a technology programme.

But Steven Seagal was mean and merciless when he came along on the scene. He just couldn’t wait to have a loved one killed and consequently launch a bone-breaking vengeance spree. I loved Steve because he wasn’t like most action heroes, who shoot the bad guy from range and that’s it. Steven Seagal rather preferred a full body contact method of settling issues.

You have to really feel for the four villains, who conveniently step into the same convenience store Steven Seagal is in, and start causing trouble at the till. Steven, being the cultured ‘starring’ that he is, and fully aware of his own martial arts potency, always makes it a point to rebuke the thugs before launching the offensive, but do they ever listen?

I don’t even wish to start about an action dynamo by the name of Jean Claude Van Damme. Van Damme didn’t really have to say much because he had that Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of language barrier, and his English was not so good. All the more for him to communicate via his God-given talent of lethal limbs. He could also stretch his legs like a professional Ballerina. Van Damme was the kind of guy who travelled all the way to Asia to whip the Orientals at their own [blood] sport.

I don’t know any black guy (my pops included) who didn't watch ‘Blood Sport’ or ‘Kick Boxer’ back in the 90’s. ‘Double Impact’ was even worse because in it, Van Damme starred alongside his bad tempered 'identical twin' (Alex), tearing the life out of Chinese mobsters right in the heart of Hong Kong. This man was a true killing machine I must attest, with no pun aimed at his classic cyborg film ‘Universal Soldier’.

Martial arts films were my favourite as well, and legends like Jackie Chan, Cynthia Rothrock, Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Samo Hung, were more or less deified. I didn't even let the pathetic English voice overs deter me from the acrobatic action on screen. In my typical Chinese martial arts films, guns were hardly ever used, because the gun is usually the first thing the action hero kicks out of your hand, before rendering you paralyzed with multiple fist and kick strikes on vital organs.

If I say I loved martial arts films then my cousin worshiped them. Sometimes I didn't even have to watch a film because this guy could narrate the whole film, even re-enacting the Kung-Fu moves as well. And there I was, totally immersed in the action unfolding before me. I wasn't exactly bright as a kid but I knew a film with an (18 SNLV) rating was very much worth my while. High Sex, Nudity, Language, and Violence ratings were legendary prerequisites if any film were to be taken serious in township standards.

But the more I pondered on this was the more I realized action films were not all progressive so to speak. I guess the more intellectual a film is, the less active it needs to be, notwithstanding all the attention and energy it requires to process the story. ©

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