Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Mirror 2: John Wick Chapter 2

Image result for john wick chapter 2In this film, Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the legendary, and invincible hitman. I remember watching the original John Wick film and enjoying it for what it was: an essentially plotless, violent romp with limited dialogue. I don't recall thinking it was ridiculous, unlike the sequel which, if not for the very slick fight choreography, was barely worth the effort of watching.

John Wick: Chapter 2 has no plot, no memorable lines, no emotional connection, and zero believability. I'm pretty sure I've never seen one man kill so many others in a film. I'm pretty sure I've never seen such a collection of hired guns who can't shoot straight or fight. I'm pretty sure I've never seen someone get shot, stabbed and tossed around so much, yet still retain the strength, speed and flexibility of John Wick. And when a worldwide bounty is placed on his head, I'm pretty sure I've never seen so many professional killers in one square metre of a city, let alone one subway station.

I'll conclude my bagging of this film by saying I watched it in two parts, because I knew that Wick would spend the second half of the film doing exactly what he did in the first half of the film, and despite suffering enough injuries to stop an army, walk away and live to fight another day.

You may be wondering what I could possibly have taken away from this disappointing and ridiculous action movie. Revenge. That is the dominant theme of John Wick 2, perhaps the only theme. All Wick does is slay people as he attempts to kill the person for whom they work, in order to take his revenge. Revenge is all he has...apart from a placid dog which occupies some scenes.

Revenge is, of course, a very popular theme of film, television shows and novels. Revenge has motivated many a character throughout the years, enabling him or her to perform literally superhuman feats on their way to executing their own justice. Watching our heroes take revenge apparently satisfies our own sense of justice.

I guess that's one way to live your life: angry and obsessed with retribution. Real life examples may be less extreme, but bitterness and unforgiveness reign in the hearts and minds of those who refuse to let go. This is a self imposed prison sentence.

Of much greater value, and with no violent deaths required, is the alternative path of forgiveness. The only way to be free is to let go. John Wick found, as a result of his murderous spree and his successful killing of his enemy, that he had made even more enemies. He had even made enemies of his friends. And he is seen as a hero? Fool might be a better word.

I look forward to John Wick 3 which will...actually, on second thoughts, I think I'll give it a miss.

Friday, March 23, 2018

relationDips 1: e-whores

e-whore: a person who uses sex in some way to persuade men to pay money, or sign up for some online service. They usually target men.

One can see by how many of these fraudsters there are, either there is a lot of money to be made in this "industry", or all these dishonest and devious people involved in such exploits are stupid.

Truth be told there is no shortage of stupidity on both sides: victims and perpetrators. 

I understand why men get sucked in by these deceptions. I too have been sucked in. Eventually I worked out what was going on as I noticed certain commonalities among the women who followed me on Twitter, then said hello, then told me a bunch of lies before asking for money, usually in the form of an iTunes or Amazon gift card. Why they ask for those particular methods of payment is a still a mystery to me.

Fantasy plays a big part in this whole sorry business. E-whores appeal to weakness. By using flattery and provocative photos, they quickly catch the attention of many men, who will, despite knowing better in most cases, play the game. Why? Because the game meets a need.

The problem is that such frivolous and fraudulent encounters do nothing to satisfy deep emotional needs. This form of counterfeit intimacy is what Dr Allen Meyer calls "junk sex". In just the same way as junk food meets the immediate need of satisfying hunger, but leaves one soon disappointed and hungry, as well as malnourished, junk sex is a cheap substitute for real emotional intimacy.

Believe it or not men who indulge in this online behaviour are not primarily driven by a desire for sex. It's much more complicated than that.

If a man in your life is trapped in this roundabout of addictive behaviour, try to get him to talk about his motives, and show him mercy. Leave your judges cap in the closet. Most likely he doesn't like what he's doing either.

Real relationships, honest and transparent ones with genuine people, are real food for our souls. The search for intimacy continues...

NB: I usually include images in my posts, but for obvious reasons this time I did not.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Snake Oil 1: It's available in many bright colours

Kia have improved their reputation over recent years, as have many bottom end Asian cars. Remember the days when Toyota, Mazda and Nissan all produced cars which were commonly described with the unflattering and somewhat racist epithet: "Jap crap"? You don't remember? Well, I was there, believe me. My peers only bought big cars, usually Holdens or Fords, with big engines, and we derided Asian made buzz boxes for their low quality and poor performance. They were the antithesis of cool.

Hyundai was the next Asian manufacturer to enter the fray. South Korean "Jap crap". Look, when I was in primary school I thought Asia was a country. Anyway, Hyundai has now transitioned from lowly regarded buzz box to popular, high quality vehicles for everyone. 

There are many others of course. In Australia, you can buy cars from all over the world, but I'm getting off track. I wanted to talk about Kia, another of the South Korean vehicles available Down Under.

Image result for 2017 kia rondoKia has a current ad on TV for the Rondo. It's a new model, but evidently all the consumer needs to know about it is that it comes in different bright colours. Of course, it is very typical for car ads nowadays to focus on looks and lifestyle rather than unnecessary mechanical specifications.

The ad features a Rondo going through a car wash, and then being accompanied outside the car wash by giant dancing mops. It makes me laugh. I know it is only designed to get me interested enough to do some research online or go to a dealer, but I wonder how successful this ad has been/will be.

Advertising is a funny beast, but it got me thinking about my choice of car. I picked my current car because of its appearance. I trusted the Ford brand, so really I only cared about the price and how good it looked. Taste in car styling is an individual thing, but I suspect very few people buy cars which are visually unappealing to them. Damn, we really are a superficial mob, aren't we?

Why did you choose your current car? Have you ever purchased a car just for its good looks?

The Mirror 1: Selfless

Ryan Reynolds stars in Selfless: a 2015 science fiction action film about a billionaire who is diagnosed with a terminal disease, but takes advantage of some expensive technology to get a second bite of the cherry in a healthy, younger body.

Image result for selfless

Naturally, there are complications which result in some very intense and thrilling action scenes, as the protagonist discovers that his second chance has some disturbing ramifications. The film is not only an interesting variation on a well explored theme, but is also very entertaining and action packed.

The idea that as a person faces mortality they begin an earnest examination of their lives makes sense. Indeed, it is likely that everyone at some stage during their time on earth will contemplate the value of their existence. The concomitant notion is that one will also, as a consequence of this self reflection, find some cause for regret: things they would have done differently. Words and actions which they may add or subtract from their personal narrative, given the chance.

Unfortunately, we don't get a second chance at life. There is no rewind button. What's done is done. The romantic notion of being able to change the past perhaps partially explains the popularity of time travel and body swap films, as well as religious beliefs like reincarnation. However, the reality is considerably more sober. 

The bible says "It is appointed unto all men to die once and then face judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) We are born and we will all make mistakes, possibly some terrible ones, on our journey to the grave. I once thought I would have no regrets because at the time, I had none. Now I do, and I have even uttered the words "if I could go back, I would do things differently." But I can't, and neither can you.

The challenge for us is first of all to accept responsibility for our mistakes, and secondly to deal with the consequences of what we have done.

How are you going with that? Do you have regrets? Do you wish you could turn back time? If such technology as is depicted in Selfless actually existed, would you use it?