Thursday, January 12, 2012


I have to stop watching films where two blokes beat the tar out of one another and I end up crying, like the bride at a wedding when her dad is losing in a punch-up with the groom’s brother.

I walked to work today, which was probably a mistake, because I arrived at the office drenched in sweat, and even after a Spanish shower in the toilets, I imagine I can’t have been wonderful to sit next to. Then, after a day that smeared past, stressed and lacking sleep after staying up half the night, I went down to get a taxi to the airport, which is apparently impossible at 4pm in Singapore. After five minutes of that I flounced off to the MRT and took the train instead, which removes all the stress of worrying about finding a taxi willing to drive you to Changi.

However, I’ve been to Changi far too often recently. I’ve reached the point where using my frequent flyer status and getting into the lounge is no longer a special treat, it’s just something that I do. Whereas in the past I would have marveled at the free pastries and the endless drinks, now I spent an hour filleting the different notes that I’d scribbled today and stuffed into my bag, and then almost joylessly picked up four sandwiches and scoffed them all down.

Then at precisely thirty minutes before departure, I walked over the unlovely Singaporean carpet to the gate, and became that thing I would have detested, the man who ignores the queue and walks straight to the front. But then, what’s frequent flyer status for?

I took my seat by the window, and spent the next twenty minutes feverishly praying that nobody would take the aisle seat, and my prayers were answered – a spare seat to overflow into, all the way back to Hong Kong. This lateral space made up for the guy in front of me reclining his seat as far back as he possibly could, so suffice it to say I was in a punchy mood, even before dinner.

Still, I put on Warrior and it’s much the same as Crying Fist, the Korean beat-em-up that reliably leaves me with ‘something in my eye’ and ‘allergies playing up again’ while I weep like a newborn. Warrior is MMA rather than boxing, which just means that two blokes get to knee each other in the face and grapple on the floor as well, but it proceeds in a well-worn groove to the redemptive ending that had been staring me and Nick Nolte both in the face for the previous 100 minutes. I didn’t sniffle too loudly as two big blokes found compassion and fraternity while oiled up and battering each other – not so much homoerotic as deeply masochistic, whilst all the time Ode to Joy swells around them.

… which makes me wonder if Warrior is actually just a practical joke, and they thought they’d go for a tender moment where one man is giving the other a cuddle as he separates his arm from the rest of him, because it clearly couldn’t get more ridiculous than that. Well, it couldn’t get more ridiculous than a physics teacher beating up the world Sambo champion.

Did I hear that right? There’s not really a Russian martial art that sounds exactly like a racist jibe, is there?

That aside, Warrior is a well organized film for guys to watch, and get a bit misty eyed about. Or it’s an advert for Moby Dick, and how if your son hates you, the thing to do is get really drunk and quote Moby Dick at him, and he’ll forgive your previous transgressions and give you a hug. Or put you in a wrestling hold, it’s not entirely clear which. Does it sound like the plot’s confusing? There’s not much of a plot…

But I watched all of it, even though I knew how it would turn out, because apparently I’m addicted to the male equivalent of Beaches, or Love Story, or some other tosh with Barbara Streisand in it. You have the sneaking feeling that it was only made because Tom Brady had to do something while bulking up to play Bane in the next Batman film, but it still gave him something to do. What would he have done otherwise? Torn the heads off kittens?

Still, my palate is cleansed. I’ve watched a physics teacher and a Marine beat each other up for money, and so I’ve been reminded that there are worse things than Changi Airport. A good lesson for the day


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