Thursday, June 10, 2004

Had another sweat-a-thon this morning and I think we're making progress. Lena came to join us so we have one more member of our team getting a feel of the routine. She's picking up quite fast, but then, she has a good background in dance anyway. Had a look at the actual location and, boy, it's a lot of ground to cover. That's going to add to our sweat output, that's for sure. It feels funny, muscles aching yet it's a healthy thing to do. Well, it would feel better if I didn't screw up my knees. The left one is a bit wobbly now. I hope I haven't done any real damage to it, but I don't see how I could have. Maybe it's just not used to this kind of stress, not having done anything like it for so long already. To everyone involved, thanks for all the hard work, and I promise, we will improve!

I did manage to catch The Punisher at Bishan J8 in the mid-afternoon. Was starving since I hadn't had anything to eat since the Oreos-Os for breakfast. Wanted to line up for popcorn and coke (great -- healthy exercise not being supported by healthy diet) but I just barely got my ticket before the movie started. Then I realized that perhaps I could have lined up for food after all 'cos the pre-show commercials ran on for quite a while. Good thing there were no ads for food products, else...

As expected, not many in the audience. Just a few Marvel fanboys and that's about it. The run isn't going to last long. You have to be a fanboy to appreciate a movie like this. After all, the lead character is a psycho who's lost everything. How else do we expect him to emote? He's just grim all the time, no emotion left in him. With the death of his entire family -- and I mean cross-generational extended family on both his and his wife's side in the same hour -- and his own attempted murder, he evolves into what is basically the Angel of Death on his 'resurrection.' Nothing supernatural about his return to the living, it's like the Bride in Kill Bill. The assassins just didn't finish the job well enough.

It's not really giving away the plot because it's quite obvious what game Punny is playing from the time he sets his plan for revenge in motion. If you haven't got time to watch 4 hours worth of Othello at the Arts Festival, you can get a quickie version with lots of guns and explosions in The Punisher. It's not as 'cultural' but it's probably more fun. There's even a tip of the hat to Homer's Iliad ('Troy,' for the more pop culture inclined) at the end. I won't say which part 'cos again it's quite obvious.

So we have a story about a loony who does terrible things to terrible people who did terrible things to him and to other people. It's hard to support a guy whose cruelty and spite matches that of the one who caused him harm to begin with. The Punisher is not a character we sympathise with. He is not a hero, not a role model but rather an unnatural disaster that befalls evildoers who deem themselves above the law. Maybe that's why this movie is so disturbing. The lead is not one to root for, not one to cheer for. Apart from the misfits and outcasts of society who become Punny's inadvertent neighbours, one of whom suffers for his sake, they, I think are the ones who show true courage, standing up for what they think is right: friendship, community, family. And they don't have guns either.

Do I recommend it? Go if you like the Punisher already, or if you like guns, bombs and fisticuffs to go with your popcorn. If you're still interested, be warned: it's been censored to NC16 although it was released as R in the US.

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