Wednesday, August 06, 2008

You have freed me traveler, now go free yourself.

To reach the castle of the Zade emperor, you must take the north road. And cross the border between Heaven and Earth. Then you'll have to pass through the gate of no-gate. (Which means you either have to be a Zen master or you must be carrying something very special.) On to the Five Elements Mountains, land of the Immortals. Where, once every 500 years, the Jade Emperor hosts the Peach Banquet. It is here that the Heavenly Ministers gather to celebrate the longevity and drink the elixir of immortality.

Don't know about you people, but me, I'm a sucker for such crypto-Confucian nonsense. Over the weekend, I'd been watching The Forbidden Kingdom. As usual, late to the party. But having a whale of a time.

It is said in enlightened circles that even the greatest Zen masters and Taoist immortals could not actually defy the laws of gravity until a genius named Yuen Woo-Ping came along and introduced them to the invisible wire trick. You see, the no shadow kick, the Buddha palm technique and the one finger death touch were all very fine maneuvers to have in your repertoire, but when push came to shove, they just couldn't make you fly. Only when they learned how to give a fuck for physics, did they become the stuff of Academy awards. To borrow an expression from the movie, their ch'i became like fire. And I became a true fan ever since.



I hear the biggest action flicks of today question the very demarcation of right and wrong. They delve deep into the mind of the evil and try to find out what drives him. Logistics not permitting, I have not yet watched the greatest superhero/action movie ever made, so you can call it a case of sour grapes, but I still doubt if I'll be equal to the task. Given a choice, I'd pick the simple Amrish Puri type villains over the uber-complex Joker any day. In this regard, the Chinese hardly ever disappoint. Their villainous warlords are straightforward and true to imagination. Take a regular despot like Mao Zedong. Throw in the flowing tresses and some high kicks. Add a goatee for effect, and you're pretty much done.

A good villain is a good start. However, he alone is often not enough for a good evening's entertainment. You need to have a silent monk doubling as the crazy monkey, a drunken immortal who mouths the most confounding Zen philosophy, but as it turned out, was not really immortal to begin with, and an orphaned kid prodigy mysteriously named the Southern Sparrow, who for some unknown reason shifts back and forth between the first and the third person while alluding to herself. A witch who performs most of her sorcery with the aid of a mile-long whip, or, in the absence of it, her silver white wig, which can magically grow to, like, a length of fifty yards instantly at the moment such need may arise. That is to say nothing of the misfit hero who has little to do except looking lost and acting dumb. Only then you can look forward to time well spent.

What else? Oh there's plenty. Gems like this when Jackie Chan (Lu Yan) gets the wrong side of an arrow and is looking at slim chance of survival without his elixir.

Jason : He needs wine. It's his elixir.
Medicine man : We will send a walking monk.
Lu (From the bed) : Don't you have a running monk?

Or during the famous fight scene between Chan and Jet Li ( the monk):

Lu Yan : [the Silent Monk does a Praying Mantis stance] Praying Mantis! Very good... for catching bugs! But not Tiger!
[does a Tiger Stance]

Paisa wasool. Plus I also learned the Mandarin for "Cheers". Which is, Tamb'ei!
I recommend. But then, I'm shallow. You watch at your own risk.

In other news, we'd been at work studiously perfecting the Moj'ito. Wonderful drink for warm monsoon evenings. A little birdie tells me that Castro had once remarked, " Moj'ito ergo sum".

4 comments:

Perspective Inc said...

Thats one interesting review! :)

Partho said...

Thankie thankie. We aim to please.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Nice stuff.
Question - you have "50 ways" on your sidebar and you quote "only a motion away". So why isn't Paul S on your profile list of favourites?

Hyperlinked you on my latest post, hope you don't mind.

J.A.P.

Partho said...

Master, I bow to thee ! (Sobs and wipes a tear)

Oh I missed him, did I? Point taken.