Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cinema's Finest Moments #4

Jim is reunited with his father (Miami Connection)

I'm not an easily aggravated person. I'm not upset by the things that most people are upset by, like newspaper headlines, the opinions of others, or girls in baja hoodies. I'm pretty laid back, but that doesn't mean there aren't trivial things that really piss me off, they're just few and far between in my old age. People who stand still on escalators should be sent to the salt mines where they can toil endlessly alongside the subhuman filth that obstruct your path to the bar as well as the "social justice bloggers" that just completed first year sociology and are mad about everything. I get mad when my heater stops working, I get mad when I'm too hot in bed, I get pissed when I can't sleep, I get pissed off when I sleep too much. Like I said, the small things are the ones that get to me. I am also not a fan, whatsoever, of screenplay afterbirth.

Screenplay afterbirth? What's that hipster nonsense, Liam? Well, screenplay afterbirth is what you get when your writers have decided to add an arc to a movie's plot that is so cheap and underhanded in its attempts to get you hooked on the main story that it's cringe-inducing. This waste of ink is most commonly presented as a sob story weaved to make you care about whether or not a character lives or dies. Sometimes this works, but usually it doesn't, and you just find yourself rubbing your chin and wondering why this subplot was even included in the story at all. Now, no one ever had Miami Connection down as Shakespearean genius, but even with its charming idiocy; Jim's subplot revolving around his estranged father is more afterbirth than Alicia Silverstone could fit in her mouth.

So, amid all the action, musical montages and motorcycle ninjas, we're suddenly presented with a scenario that is supposed to make us feel feelings with our feelers. Dragon Sound, the kung-nu-wave heroes of our story, are all orphans who grew up together, learning how to perform high-kicks and synthesizer solos. While we don't go into the history of most of our heroes, toward the end of the film we learn that good ol' Jim, the only black guy in the ensemble, was actually abandoned by his drunk father. Having spent most of the film being a hard ass, Jim, in one of the most awkward scenes I've ever had the nerve to recall, breaks down in tears as he reads a letter from his father in front of the gang. The most shameless thing about this scene isn't even the terrible acting or the man-child tears, it's just how obvious the writers are trying to make it to you that something terrible is about to happen to poor Jim. 

If it's not clear enough how afterbirth this subplot is by my brief description, as soon as the scene ends, we see the whole gang rolling around the beach in their car, wolf-whistling at the ladies and smiling widely. That shot of inner turmoil didn't last too long.

Now, I'm not going to go into the fine detail of what comes next, because I think you can guess that for yourself. Yes, something terrible happens to Jim, and no, you don't care anything for him just because he's supposed to be reunited with his drunk asshole dad. In fact, if you can quickly shake off the discomfort of the scene in mention, you'll probably forget who Jim is and wonder aloud why ninjas would opt for motorcycles, arguably the loudest and most obnoxious of transport, as a way of getting around.

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