Netflix February 2017_day.04 – Born to Defense (1986)

_Over the past year or so, I’ve been getting more into tabletop games. I wish I could say I was getting into it before there seemed to be a growing surge in popularity, but I don’t think I was quite on top of that.They’re fun, though. I think the appeal lies in the personal connection they bring. Not that tabletop games aren’t fun, they are, but they seem almost like a means to an end. Over the last decade or so, the internet has given us the ability to stay connected to people far away, which is nice, but in many ways, it’s also led to a kind of growing distance between the people who are close. You can live minutes away from someone, but it’s just easier to just stay home and talk online. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out online, but the…immediacy of human interaction is nice. The physical component of tabletop game require the act of friends setting aside time to get together in the same room to play…it’s an immediate bond.

But that’s all just theory. Maybe they’re picking up in popularity because the game design is stronger now than it’s ever been. Could be that…

A gang of corrupt bullies. A town of abused civilians. One kick-butt war hero with a serious urge for justice.

Don’t try to fight Jet Li. He is Born to Defense.

_Say what you will about the quality of Dragon Dynasty releases, I give them credit for distributing a lot of Asian cinema that had been long out of print.

…though the Dragon Dynasty logo at the start of films doesn’t make me mark out like GOLDEN HARVEST! YEAH!

_Action movies are kind of like the Olympics to me. It’s a safe place to go “Foreign countries suck! My country is the best! Ye~e~e~eah!” And that’s not even for my own country. Just for whoever I’m cheering for. So in Born to Defense, Jet Li plays a Chinese marine named…Jet. In the English dub, he’s named Jet. Yeah…

So…Jet is a Chinese marine. Is there a marine corp in China? I actually don’t know. So…it’s the end of World War II. He’s coming home, and people are int he streets celebrating the war heroes…the AMERICAN WAR HEROES! They don’t even give a shit about the Chinese soldiers, their own countrymen! Ridiculous…damn Americans, taking all the credit. So, a group of rambunctious US naval officers…well, “rambunctious” isn’t the right word…a bunch of comically awful US naval officers basically hang around town being complete shitheads, treating the locals like shit, sexually assaulting the women, and preventing Chinese women in labor from getting to the hospital. Basically just no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

And you know what? I’m fine with it. You know who’s evil in movies? Foreigners. You know why? Cause they’re not from here. You know when they’re ok? When they’re a foreign police officer, flown in to team up with a local police officer to try to avoid an international incident…an international incident that would be caused by them arresting the foreign criminals criming up the local city. And their clash of cultures creates many a comedic moment. Then it’s fine. Otherwise? Foreigners GTFO. Americans in China? Leave. Chinese in Japan? Get out. English in France? You leave too. Americans in India? …you know, it was probably for the best that Indiana Jones got the stones back from those Thugee cultists. But he definitely never should’ve been in China, which is what led to him being in India in the first place, so by that logic, he shouldn’t have been in India either. This logic works.

_So the Americans are just…the worst. They run over people in their cars, destroy people’s rickshaws, murder people by throwing them off bridges…and they generally do it cause “Hey, we dropped the nuke on Japan, so…we’re gonna fuck up China with our bad attitudes now!”

_There aren’t really that many fight scenes in Born to Defense, but the ones there are pretty lengthy. And it’s not what I’d call “traditional” Hong Kong martial arts. It’s a bit more grounded. Jet Li doesn’t play a some God Tier super martial arts man. He’s generally just a regular guy. He fights in these lengthy fight scenes, and he gets hit a lot. He bleeds a ton and gets giant bruises and welts. The amount of kicking his ass takes adds a lot of intensity to the fights. I mean, yeah, the good guy isn’t about to lose…it’s a movie. But it’s the kind of thing that actually lends an “Oh shit” aspect to the final fight scene, where they’re picking up all kinds of weapons they can get their hands on. When closed fists are leaving them looking like hell, giant wrenches and chains and sledgehammers mean serious business.

The atmosphere wasn’t really what I was expecting from a Jet Li movie, but I got into it.

_I wish I could type text in such a way as to be the written equivalent of the way stereotypical English dubs for big bad villains are in old Hong Kong cinema. Like, a deep gravely voice that literally no human being on Earth has ever naturally sounded like, just in text form. Wish that was a thing…

_Stop by tomorrow, where I’ll be watching a movie where I am definitely exactly the target audience. Magic Mike. See you then~


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