Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Aesop's Wushu

Unleashed
2005, France/USA
Louis Leterrier
35mm

Every film has a moral. Often, they’re made explicit, as if the film were a fable and the audience were kindergarten students sitting in rapt attention instead of 23 year old losers in basketball jerseys playing games on their cell-phones. Sometimes, the moral exists in the subtext, and often may not be there deliberately, a result of a subconscious judgment or fear on the part of the filmmakers. It’s certain that the message in Saving Private Ryan that war is chaotic and cruel is deliberate, but when it comes to those straight-to-DVD action movies sold out of the back of Source magazine starring whatever G-Unit member happens to be out on bail at the moment, the obvious moral that pride comes before a fall is often subservient to a subtext glorifying guns and drugs. While it’s unclear whether the decision was deliberate or unconscious, it’s obvious that the filmmakers of Unleashed are trying to convince us that the Chinese don’t make good pets.

Text, subtext, or Tech-9?

And they’re not wrong. The Chinese are feral, difficult to domesticate, and do not respond well to English commands. And while they’re very cheap to feed, subsisting on a diet of white rice and Styrofoam take-out containers, they often injure themselves racing import-tuned Hondas. In Unleashed, Jet Li plays just such a Chinia-Pet, a martial arts master kept on a dog collar and trained to kill by Bob Hoskins, who has apparently decided that his last good role was in The Long Good Friday and he would like to remind people of that.

Jet Li.

Other than that, there’s not a lot to say about this movie. Of course, it’s patently ridiculous, from its very premise to the end credits and everything in between, but pointing that out would be like picking a scab: satisfying, but ultimately detrimental to the healing process. I will mention, however, that if I were a blind piano tuner played by Morgan Freeman, and I discovered a half-dead Chinese fellow bleeding on the ground in a warehouse, I would probably call either the police or the city, instead of taking him home to probably rape my white daughter. Also, while I’ve never been in a street gang, I’ve seen one or to dealing crack outside my window in my time, and I can assure you that when they’re waiting in line patiently to get beaten up one by one by Jet Li in a bad Eurotrash kung-fu movie, they’re not comprised of two Wu-Tang Clan rejects, an Asian kid with a bandana from the local video game arcade, and a few street-punk-lites from No Doubt. But then again, maybe the film is trying to preach racial harmony. What a noble moral.

10 Comments:

Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

HOLY SHIT!!

Is Bjanka Murgel your girlfriend?!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

No. I don't necessarily sleep with every actress I work with. Just most of them.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

I wasn't implying that you sleep with all of your actress's, if I was gonna call you John Derek I'd do it to your face.

How...THE...hell did you get a hottie like that to be in your film?
It's the forked beard thing right?

You're my hero.
I even posted about you, and all things Canucky.
I think I'm gonna add to it though.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

She is quite foxy, isn't she? I got her in the movie quite boringly, by holding auditions and choosing her among the many qualified candidates. To be fair, if you'll look at her credits on the IMDB, you'll notice that this was before she started getting a lot of roles.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Right on, YOU made her famous.
I keep trying to make YOU famous, but it's not working.
I think I need someone to make ME famous first, and that's not gonna happen.

1:33 PM  
Blogger gretchkal said...

"Also, while I’ve never been in a street gang, I’ve seen one or to dealing crack outside my window in my time, and I can assure you that when they’re waiting in line patiently to get beaten up one by one by Jet Li in a bad Eurotrash kung-fu movie, they’re not comprised of two Wu-Tang Clan rejects, an Asian kid with a bandana from the local video game arcade, and a few street-punk-lites from No Doubt."

that is a very long sentence.

and i'm glad that i'm not the only one who has noticed the thing with movie bad guys who don't gang up on the "hero" but instead stand around and wait patiently until it's their turn to get their ass kicked. is that annoying or what?

2:06 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

I don't think my attempts to increase your fame are working.

Maybe if I tell people you're the Canadian Tarantino they'd show up?

Of course THEN you wouldn't talk to me.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Jerk - I don't need to be famous, I just need to be rich.

Gretchka - I'm only half as annoyed by the gang thing as I am by the fact that no one says "goodbye" when they speak over the telephone in movies, or that there's apparently only one brand of beer in movie bars, and it's called "beer".

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Phuc that, get rich on your own time sister.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous the ludicrous pretentious highbrow eletist snob said...

bob hoskins is a load of old rubbish, simply because he`s british.

7:52 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home