Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The other night I didn't feel like doing anything that required firing more than a minimum of brain synapses, so I went down to browse my roommate's DVD collection. There I noticed a title I'd never heard of, a sort of kung-fu action movie called "Hero." It features Jet Li and had some good-sounding reviews on the back (but don't they all), so decided to watch it. I don't think I had ever watched an entire Chinese or kung-fu film before, so I won't try to write a full review of this one. I would like to comment on the fantastic fight scenes, though. Most of the main characters were very thoughtful and reflective, and this heavily colored the way they fought. In one part, the combatants even stopped, closed their eyes, and continued the contest in their minds for awhile. Ok, so that might sound a little weird, but the battling was just so poetic, and it occurred to me that, not only does the 90s hit video game "Street Fighter" make a lot more sense now, but also people seem to desire the transcendence achieved by these fighters, the ability to rise above our human nature. We want to repel arrows like flies, to face life's challenges with spinning, leaping, soaring duels on top of a quiet mountain lake without getting more than our feet wet. Of course, I'm not saying everyone, or even most people, are consciously entertaining such thoughts, but I'd wager that these sentiments are ingrained in more than just Asian assassins. Maybe it's a desire to be gods, or perhaps a longing to be with Him; in either case, it has long been recognized across the globe that there is more to this life than the eye sees or reason infers, but sometimes as present-day Americans we forget this as we scurry about pursuing our happiness. So our innate longing for transcendence manifests in strange places, like subtitled movies. Fortunately, as a follower of Christ I know that I don't have to bank anything on perfecting that killer swordstrike, or performing any other kind of extra-normal shenanigans. I don't even have to be an ace at the regular stuff. As Paul reminds us, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" (2 Cor. 12:9) And again, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13) It's quite a relief, if you think about it. Sure saves me a lot of hours at the dojo, anyway.