Thursday, February 10, 2005

Family lunch with the Wongs at Kia Hiang Gourmet, the Chinese restaurant in Sun Plaza. It's our annual family dim sum event with a marathon cheong fun eating session thrown in. I remembered how I was done in last year with deep-fried delicacies so I focused on the steamed stuff this year. The dishes were fresh and tasted quite refined. Unfortunately, my days of eating dim sum in quantity are quite over. I missed the crappy coffee-shop style chilli sauce that goes so well with har gow/siew mai; the chilli served here was too high class for my taste.

Wongs went on their second day of visitations while me and June stayed behind to catch Constantine. We had more than an hour to wait till showtime, so we wandered around the few open stores in the building to kill time. Eventually, we got bored of looking at toileteries and dollar-discount items. We were still too full for a coffee so we simply settled on a bench and watched a bunch of little kids abusing a coin-operated ride machine. Typical of kids -- play until cry. Kids are so predictable.

Constantine isn't a fun movie to watch per se. It's slow, methodical pace develops quite an interesting story taking licence from the Catholic mythos, but don't expect too much gleeful shoot-'em-up action. There is some, but it's not by gun nor by fist that Constantine saves the day, but rather by an appeal to a higher authority to resolve the situation; not the common approach for the run-of-the-mill action hero, but then Constantine is no ordinary hero. He smokes a lot and has terminal lung cancer as a result. His motivation comes from a selfish desire to "buy" his way into heaven, knowing that his ultimate destination is going to be The Other Place due to a mistake he made in his early life. A hero from the dark side, then.

Warning: the movie takes licence with the fundamentals of Christian belief, so if you are easily offended or confused this movie might not be for you. Else, be prepared for the kind of gritty storytelling from DC's adult line of comic books with its greater focus on human drama and experience than superhuman >pow< >biff< >bang<. In a way, it makes for meatier storytelling, but rates low on the fun index. Choice is yours.

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