Jobs (2013)

Man… sometimes is so hard to find movies to inspire you, I feel this is specially hard these days with a strange focus in fantasy and over drama taken over current stream of new movies. Sometimes you just want a good ol’ story about a character facing some complications but overcoming them with bravery and some powerful emotional scenes here and there. We want triumph stories that can push us to do better, to keep going forwards towards those elusive paths of life that come to us from time to time. Jobs (2013) is… not one of those movies…

It’s really unfortunate actually, as there are some elements in here that may lead you to believe you’re in for some “push hard and accomplish” sort of story, yet a weak script and plain execution take any chances of finding a really engaging movie. This is more like an overview of a life, some scattered scenes that try to paint some cohesive image about a man lead by his own guts and “being your own boss” attitude towards the creation of an entire empire. I mean, you don’t even understand how he did it by watching the movie. Remember that sequence in “The Social Network” where Mark Zuckerberg explains why Facebook will be so appealing to others, starting with the exclusivity of Harvard into people giving their own information? well in this case none of it is here. Okay, there’s an actual explanation about computer components, given in a brief presentation, but watching the movie we never get to see this often praised smart man who seems to be angry all the time and can only yell orders to others doing some actual work. It seems he actually doesn’t, but is good at making others work for him. Is this his actual genius?

Now, as I said before, the major problem with the movie is that makes an overview of aspects in Steve Job’s life, but doesn’t develops any of them. There’s a particular scene where Steve has a number of successes and other failures, and then his friend Woznick comes to tell him he’s quitting the company. He starts saying awful things at Steve, like he’s alone and that his life must be awful. Yet we see nothing to suggest Steve is having a hard time. Worst thing is, the scene is supposed to be super emotional with some strong acting from both actors involved, but how can we be emotionally engaged with it if we don’t know what the hell are they talking about? And you know what? the movie doesn’t try to hide this issue at all, just watch the first sequence of it. Steve Jobs comes out to an audience to show the new iPod. The shots are from far away, as trying not to show the actor’s characterization, then focuses mainly on dumb reactions from public attending, like they get excited or overwhelmed at the most uninspired speech ever… I mean c’mon!

I haven’t watched the other movie about Steve Jobs, maybe it’s better… I don’t know. Thing is, just from watching this one you get the feeling that to be truly successful in life you have to be an asshole, there’s no way around it. Either you yell at others and lie your way though success or you low your head and help the ones that do this to grab a piece of the pie. Is this ho things truly are? I guess you don’t want to know…

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

How can a movie with almost no character development have an impact in an audience? Because in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty we barely know anything about the characters, there’s even a completely stereotypical antagonist, a “bad boss” whose lines are the worst by far in the movie. There are so many elements that make this a mediocre movie about self actualization, yet somehow, the movie manages to hook the audiences and deliver a fun ride with a lot of feel good vibes. How the hell is this possible??? Well, the simple answer lies in the actors, mainly Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, both of them delivering a compelling and warm interpretation of innocent characters facing the end of their life of coworkers while finding each other in the midst of change.

But let’s start from the beginning, shall we? So the movie is about Walter, right? He’s this guy who’s always imagining things in his life, mostly because he’s not having the most amazing of them. So, he’s constantly phasing out into these fantasies of adventures and cool moments, mostly involving his love interest, Cheryl. Things turn bad when, in a double revelation, Walter finds out there’s a photograph missing from top photographer Sean and also, that the magazine he’s working on (Life magazine) it’s gonna close for good. Trying to escape the consequences of not having the picture, mostly fear of change I would argue (because of the dad dying and so on), Walter is driven to go to Sean in the hopes of regaining the picture he desperately needs somehow, this part is kinda confusing.

Beyond that point, the movie becomes a sort of adventure flick, in which Walter has to find his way up to Sean, facing many dangers like sharks in the ocean, an erupting volcano, some warlords in Afghanistan and so on. This journey marks the transition between the frightened and passive Walter from the beginning of the movie and into the more confident (inner child regained) one that comes back only to face his dismissal from the job, not being able to find the picture. In a strange but satisfactory self revelation scene, Walter rises even above Sean, his hero, when realizing that the picture he was looking was placed in a wallet gifted to Walter for his birthday. Walter gets mad and tells Sean that doing this was a bad move, to irresponsible for such an important thing. I guess by this point, the child in Walter (dead when the father died) and the adult Walter are merging into one cohesive unit, signalling the self actualization, right?

So, there you have it, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a movie with a mediocre script and some borderline annoying stereotypical characters rising from the dirt to become some sort of classic, I mean, is not like a cult classic or anything, but is not a bad movie either. What do you think? Have you watched it? was your life completely changed after doing so? I guess no… but you can still try, c’mon!!

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

There are movies that go so deep into the human condition that the lines between good and bad blur to the point where everything seems the same, right or wrong become a commodity for non struggling bystanders, not accustomed to the suffering of those who’re struggling to build their path in a world that is not caring but cold and hard. “The Pursuit of Happyness” is kinda like that, not exactly crude like an Iñarratu or Cuaron movie in its portrait of reality, but compensating that lack of flesh and bone exposed with a complex series of complications and a protagonist who knows he can’t give up not for even a second if he wants to accomplish his goal, and this makes for an outstanding movie about overcoming impossible situations to achieve that thing the title reveals… Happiness.

So, what’s the movie about? IT’s about this man, right? Chris Gardner , the protagonist! okay, so he’s a man who struggles because of a bad investment. He spends all of his saving in a bunch of machines no one seems to want to buy. They’re some medical machines that are not really necesary, so he has this huge problem of not being able to sell them. At the same time, his wife has been pulling double shifts to keep the family on float and this has taken it’s toll on her, she doesn’t want to even see her husband because of all the stress and anger. In the middle of all this is Christopher, Chris’s son, who attends an awful daycare center because both parents have to work all day. In a really smart inciting incident, Chris makes the decision to apply to an internship in a stockbrokers training program, meeting both the opportunity of a lifetime and loosing her wife, who doesn’t believe in him anymore and wants to escape to a better life. Chris decision is to protect his son, demanding his wife to leave him with him and go away. From this point forward, Chris alone has to cope with an internship that doesn’t pay any money, studying while finding ways to make some money to keep living, and man… the things he has to do are proof of the endurance of the human life, his grip and intelligence, his focus and strength are an spectacle in itself, by far the most amazing thing the movie has to offer.

I guess all of this tells us that in order to achieve greatness, one must have it in them first, being smart, being focused, being brave and relentless, but also that one must find that way in which all of these elements can push you to accomplish greatness, crazy reflection here… it’s all in oneself to do it, or as Chris tells to his son… “Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something, you want to do something… you do it”.

Before ending this review I want to stop for a minute to talk about the script, is often said that in the best stories you can’t easily point out the beat you’re currently watching. Movies like “The Pursuit of Happyness” have this, they’re so well crafted that they seem like a constant stream of events, not determined or structured by story beats or clearly followed structures, I feel to write like this one has to be a master of structures and plot points so good at it that one can simply forget about them and just write, cause the sense of them is already in the craft, you just have to trust it.

Tick Tick… BOOM (2021)

For those who are reading I have a question, when was the last time you felt you were being yourself? no branding on your side but your naked flesh and thoughts, when was it?

There are certain movies that come to you just at the right time. Better put, you find certain movies in special places of your own journey. It has to do with some unconscious search for meaning, for guidance and stories are always there to shine a light in dark places. Tick Tick… Boom did that for me anyways, it reminded me the reason for all the struggle in finding meanings of expression, in not complying to the form, to the ever present tentacles of consumerism and faceless corporate self expression. Cause now more than ever we’re being sucked into branding and conform, to the one-dimensional man predicted by Herbert Marcuse, that being sucked out of all forms of authenticity, all means of originality, forced into industrial replication and easily understandable placing in the chain of production.

Okay, you don’t need to answer right now, let me tell you about the story first. This is about musical theatre composer and performer Jonathan Larson, who’s on his way to turn 30 having done anything with his life, in the formal social sense of the idea, struggling to put together his opera prima “Superbia” and hopefully use it to build a career as a musical composer in New York. Now, as he does this he has to face a number of complications arising mostly from the life he carries and the people around him. At the beginning of the movie, it’s stated that Jon has an almost completely artists based circle of friends. but as the movie progresses we come to understand that many of them chose to follow different careers due to the difficulties to survive or make it as one. This being the quintessential problem that artists around the globe face every day, right? the inability to make money out of self expression.

I don’t know where I read this, but there’s this idea that all people are selfish, yet artists are kind enough to show it. In Tick Tick Boom we find this idea portrayed many times, mostly in the relationships Jon has with his girlfriend and best friend. I mean he has this fixed idea about his project and many times has to face others trying to catch his attention into their own lives. There’s a particular lucid moment when Jon’s girlfriend asks him to accompany her to a job opportunity outside New York, a place where she can build her own path. Jon evades this conversation because deep inside he knows he’s not gonna go, right? he has his own dreams. So, what happens? The girlfriend ends up confessing she only wanted for him to say he wanted for her to stay, she says this after noticing that Jon is more fixated than ever in his writing. Jon admits he wants this and immediately has an inspiration moment for a song he desperately needs, she notices this and breaks up with him, shocked that he’s using the moment to further write his play. Was she jealous of him at this point for being so committed? I don’t know, it kinda hit there for me but if it is true, it’s only implied.

I’ve found a similar idea in “A Ghost Story”, in that movie the couple fails to communicate with each other, mostly because he’s using the pain he’s feeling with her as a means of expression for his music, he does this because he knows and wants her to listen to the songs he’s writing, but also because he’s an artist and making art is his way to make a living. In here we find a similar idea, the harvesting of life itself into the emotional journey of an artistic piece that can possibly connect with millions of people.

Any artists there? If you’re one you should definitely watch this movie, it will help you understand a bit better about your own life and choices, which may seem irrational many times, let’s face it, almost all the time! But the thing is, you’re not wrong in pursuing your own life, your own path. As better stated by Jon himself, “cage or wings… ask the birds”.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

There are certain ideas that are just wrong… I mean… a movie about a guy who travels in time and makes a little girl fall in love with him just to ruin her entire life with his rare genetic disease? Who can even fathom such a story? Well, as it turns out some old lady called Audrey Niffenegger did. Not only that, she managed to write this book about the time traveler and stuff, but she didn’t populated with complex sci-fi redundancy or high philosophical nonsense, no no no, she did far better job than that. What this lady did was to occupy every single excuse available to make her characters have sex and in a very explicit way! Btw, non of these revolutionary ideas make it into the silver screen in the book adaptation envisioned by director Robert Schwentke, his version of the story is far more conservative and predictable, yet the movie os not bad, just a bit uninspired.

As I stated before, this movie is about this dude who can time travel, not because he wants to, but because he’s sick. So he jumps back and forth between different important events of his life (most of the time) and this turns out to be his demise in a very dumb way I might add. So, the ending is awful, prepare for that, but the thing is that this movie has some good things going for it too.

So, what are the good things about this time traveler’s wife? Well it’s an amazing attempt to dive into the actual drama of a person who has this issue, in this particular issue the movie excels, it really puts you in the shoes of the character, especially regarding the relationship he has with his wife, which by the way is not the protagonist as the title would mislead you to believe! Waht begins as a fantasy and a romantic tale between two people bonded by non chronological time, soon becomes a drama about a couple struggling in the face of a genetic disease which prevents them from having a normal life. So the conflict arises from the realization of the wife that the life she choose with her strange husband may turnout to be not as fun as she thought it would be (at this point I don’t even know if she thought about any of the implications of her decision to marry the guy!). The drama begins with the time skipping which leads her to experiences weeks without seen him, later on it gets worst though, as the time travel disease is inherited by a child who dies before being born because of it. In a series of cringy twists, the dude gives himself a vasectomy to avoid having another unborn baby and the wife sleeps with a younger version of him as payment for that one sided decision.

It’s a shame that these same elements of slice of life stuff that make the movie strong, also make it weak, this is because the time travelling itself becomes secondary to the drama, many times we don’t even know where the guys is travelling and only a few times it really connects with the actual story. But when it does, does it in a fulfilling way and that I guess is no easy accomplishment in regards of the plot. Apart from some awful dialogues and that constant feeling that the situation makes no freakin’ sense, this is not a bad movie, is actually mildly entertaining, though now that I think about it, I don’t think I know anything about the characters!

Saint Seiya (1986)

Okay, so I wanted to write about Saint Seiya for a long time now, and I’m gonna be clear from the start, I’m a fanboy here. I admit it, to me this manga/anime created by Masami Kurumada is the most epic and awesome story ever. Why you ask? Well, let’s start by listening to some of the OST, okay?

Did you listen to that? I mean, when have you heard score in an anime this elaborated, and this piece above isn’t the best one either, is like a normal one from the eight complete soundtracks this anime has. Listening to the music you kinda understand what the story is all about, EPICNESS. The story is deceptively simple, a group of orphans are chosen by the goddess Athena to regain her sanctuary, which has been taken by the Gemini saint, she needs to regains it to be ready for a war predicted in myth, a fight against another god, Hades. Now, “saints” are warriors chosen by Athena herself to defend humanity against other gods. The name of the show, Saint Seiya references our protagonist, Seiya, the Pegasus saint. The “Pegasus saint” is a warrior who appears again and again in history as Athena’s bravest warrior. Over the course of the last Divine war, the Pegasus saint managed to defeat Hades and so this will have an impact later on in the story. For now let’s just keep in mind that Seiya is entrusted with a lot of baggage the day he wins his “Pegasus Cloth”, the armour that is proof he has become an Athena Saint.

About the armours, there are different types obviously, as many as the toys that can be sold about them! Kidding (not really!), thing is, the Pegasus cloth is actually in the weakest tier in regards of armours, being a bronze cloth. Silver and golden cloths follow, so Seiya being an orphan and also winning a bronze cloth puts us in the very bottom of the food chain at the start of the series, right? Isn’t that amazing? I mean I don’t know if Kurumada knew anything about storytelling when he begin the series, but it’s almost like an instinctive thing to place your protagonist in the very bottom to have a larger scope in the story, from there to the end of the series, Seiya really pushes himself to the limit, but this is not like Dragon ball where the characters power up and find new levels of strength, is more like the good guys need to understand some truth about existence to reach for a power that doesn’t belong to them, but is entrusted to them by the universe every time they’re aligned with the core values of the series and of Athena, of course.

So, what are these core values you ask? Surprisingly enough it has to do with love, as cliché as that sounds, yet to get to that idea, which ends up being Athena’s self revelation near the very end of the original saga (tenkai-hen overture) we have to go through some explanation. At it’s core, Saint Seiya is a reflection on the resistance and acceptance of pain in our lives, while finding a way to overcome this pain and move forward in the protection of those things that are dear to us. In the series, the main characters, which they all are bronze saints, have to deal with countless battles in which definitely all the time they’re the weakest ones. Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, Ikki and Shun, they’re all bronze saints sworn to protect Athena against any evil doer that stands in their ways, and man… the amount of enemies they face and the caliber of them! I mean let’s make a quick recount, there’s all of the twelve Golden Saints, the most powerful of all the Athena Saints (they can even punch you at the speed of light!). There’s one of the golden guys who can actually speak with Buda and send you to a number of hells, I mean c’mon! There’s also some heroes from Myth like Heracles (Hercules), Siegfried from the Nibelung myth, Icarus, who’s also an angel! not to mention Poseidon and Hades, two of the most powerful Greek gods! And each time the saints face such enemies they get their asses beat to a pulp, they suffer the most horrible wounds, even loosing their senses! Yet every time they manage to find that truth that allows them to tap into the power of the universe and overcome any danger.

There’s one final thing I want to talk about before the end, it’s about Seiya’s own self realization, now, we said before that Athena’s self revelation is that there’s a power beyond that of the gods (which is immortality). This idea comes to her after she questions the reasons why the gods are immortal, she says that the reason they are is because they exist to protect other beings. Then she lands on the idea that this protecting of others comes from love, something she could only learn because of her involvement with humans, specifically with Seiya. Was this her strange way of saying that she loves Seiya? I’m not sure, but anyways, Seiya’s own self revelation comes after this, at the end of the whole story, when he faces Apollo, who’s presumably his strongest enemy yet. Apollo is set to make all of humanity disappear, yet Seiya says that with his fist he will punch Apollo so hard that no god will ever forget about the existence of humans (how cool is that!!), oh, and his self revelation? Humans don’t need the gods.

So there you have it, Saint Seiya, the most epic and amazing manga/anime ever! admit! I want to end by saying that there’s a special thing about the five members of the core group of protagonists, each of them brings something to the table but also, each of them represents a part of Seiya’s own personality. Their fights and interactions are structured in such a way that the path of Seiya is often expressed by their interaction. This is just awesome storytelling which reminds us that the heart of any story is always the characters that live the tale. So fly high Saint Seiya, cause the epicness and emotional rollercoaster found in Seiya’s journey will last forever in memory.

Dune (2021)

I never thought there would be a day when I would say something like this, but Dune and director Denis Villeneuve really went way too far on the movie references. I mean the general aesthetics and feeling of the movie, at least for the first half of it, is a shameless mashup of GOT, Star Wars and some very recognizable Nolan’s cinematography. Yet somewhere along the line, someone must have notice this, because by the end of the movie you really start feeling that the thing is walking in its own legs.

So, is the movie good or bad? I think neither.

But let’s start from the top, shall we? The movie is about this family/house, kinda in the same vein as in GOT (okay okay, Dune came first… yeez) that is threaten by an Emperor that fears them. This emperor sends the family, who’s name I can’t even recall… Let me see… house Atreides, to a planet that is essentially a giant desert, to oversight the recollection of the “spice”, a valuable commodity that enables ships for interstellar travelling. But as it turns out, the whole thing was a trap and soon there’s an attack to wipe all of the Atreideans? From existence. In the midst of all of this we find our protagonist Paul, the duke’s heir and the awakening of his powers and of his own legacy.

Uhm… I want to take some time with something about this character, Paul. I don’t think I know anything about him, other than he’s constantly being pushed by her mother and father to do things he doesn’t even understand. Some people even call him a sort of prophecy, yet there’s little we actually learn from him in the movie. You know what the problem is here? This guy is constantly being tormented by visions of things that haven’t even happen yet. So is not like he’s trying to change, he doesn’t have a ghost or a past, he’s actually becoming something and this is his problem, there’s a path he doesn’t seem able to escape from. So, I guess this movie is about him accepting this fate, right?

Anyway, it sounds kinda interesting but it really isn’t that interesting. Is not like the movie is bad or anything, but it felt uninspired to me. Consider this, almost the entire movie transpires in a desert, the most simple and tedious of scenarios. And I know, there are great movies in deserts, that’s a fair statement, is just that Dune isn’t one of them. I guess the editor knew about this as they populated the entire movie with music score, I mean, there’s not a single time when the audio isn’t telling you how you’re supposed to feel! What’s up with that? And the movie is 2:30 hours long!! I mean… what da hell!!       

Men in black (1997)

Men in Black… I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this movie before, but I have to be honest, when watching it last night it was the first time, I could really understand Jay’s character, and the thing is, the movie practically throws it in your face. It happens after the two main protagonists, Jay and Kay, go to the farm where the antagonist lands. After talking to the wife of the first victim, Kay explains to Jay why having a bug on the planet is a bad thing, he says “imagine a  big cockroach with unlimited strength and a massive inferiority complex…” and you have to pay close attention to Jay’s reaction when listening to this, specially the “inferiority complex” part to really understand him. There are other subtleties like this throughout this movie, nuances of the characters that elevates this comedy into space and beyond and make me understand why it had and still has such success.

But let’s start from the beginning, right? So, what’s Men in Black about? Is about this agency, right? They control and administrate alien visitors that come to earth while protecting the general human population from knowing and openly interacting with visitors from outer space. Kay, who’s one of the top agents, has been looking for a new partner since his last one retires, he finds Jay, a young police officer eager to prove to everyone (and I mean everyone!) that he’s not a boy or kid or whatever, but he’s ready to assume greater responsibilities. So together they face this new threat, this bug that comes to Earth to find a galaxy hidden in a cat’s collar, starting a war response from the owners of such galaxy and the possible destruction of earth.

Now, I have to say, watching this amazing world come together under Jay’s eyes is a joy ride, simply put the movie is top notch fun and the characters are so well written that they leave the audience with that everlasting feeling of knowing them from before. Even the female character, that lady who works at the morgue, even she has this value to her character and we’re talking 1997, in those years these type of blockbuster were so disrespectful to woman, but this isn’t! I mean, not that much! What I think is incredible, apart from the characters work, is that this movie has one scene that is iconic in movie history, such thing is no easy task. I refer to the scene where the bug is escaping in the spacecraft and the heroes shot him back to the ground. What an amazing accomplishment of technical prowess and ingenuity. So, I really don’t know what the hell are you waiting there, not going to watch this amazing movie. Just forget about the sequel, I mean the second one is not that bad, not as bad as the third one anyways.

Rocky (1976)

Man… they don’t do movies like Rocky anymore. I mean, where did all of those underdog stories went? Wasn’t the underdog like a super popular character to write about? Just think about it, when was the last time you watched a movie in which the protagonist had a rough life? I can’t think of any! Well maybe the Oscar winner, what was the name? the one with that lady who lived in her car and was crazy… Well anyways, Rocky, yeah, what an incredible movie, to think that the guy was completely in love of Adrian from the start, that even if he worked for that mafia guy, he was always trying to help others. What an amazing character and what an amazing performance from Silverster Stallone, the guy truly shines in here. I would say that this movie is about a guy who’s fighting to have someone take care of him, to have some bond with others, maybe even a family and it’s so crazy that he’s been fighting all of his life in the ring in search for this.

Okay, but before getting too sentimental, let’s talk about the story.

So, this movie is about the Italian stallion, right? A man whose father told him he wasn’t very smart, yet had a good body, so he decides to pursue a sports driven life, landing in boxing and making a somehow descent career in it. I mean he fights like 58 times and in none of those fights someone manages to break his nose, that has to count for something. At the beginning of the story, we find Rocky winning his last fight against a dude named Spider, working for that mafia guy and with only one goal in mind, to take out Adrian, a girl who’s too shy to make friends outside of her own brother. At the same time, Apollo Creed, boxer champion of the world, doesn’t have anyone to fight with, so he decides to give an underdog a chance at the title. After fighting for so long and being one step from quitting, Rocky Balboa gets the opportunity of a lifetime, to fight Apollo for the belt.

As I said before and looking at the midpoint of the story, when Mickey, the old dude in charge of the gym comes to visit Rocky and offer his help in the fight, you can argue that the movie is about a dude looking for someone to give a damn about him and achieving this many years after looking for it in the boxing ring, and it’s so emotional when he’s finally able to express his feelings about it to Mickey. Also, the ending, after the fight is over and the results are being given, with him only caring about Adrian,  seems to support this, I mean the battle is over yet the bonds remain!

Just as in Jaws by Spielberg, in here we find the perfect combination of a character driven plot being executed in a visual way, a sort of fairy tale for modern ages that delivers hope and drama by the tons. What’s craziest about it is that Rocky and Apollo say that there will be no rematch, yet this movie turned into a franchise! And I can understand why, is about the characters and their world, two elements that merge in a fantastic way to convey a story about love, dreams and achievements. An amazing epic like the ones none makes anymore, and that’s a real shame.

The Art of Self Defense (2019)

Continuing with the woman driven comedies (please check the latest review to understand) I landed on The Art of Self Defense, a movie about hyper masculinity… what does that has to do with female driven comedies you might be thinking, well, you really need to watch this movie to understand. And it might not be an easy watch, I mean, this movie has some strange vibes going on, from black comedy to psychological thriller type of situations, and even some minor gore and a lot of character development, this movie does not end as it begins, it has a character arc like most movies, yet it also has some plot arc that reflects in the tone of the movie itself, exploring the subject of masculinity in a straight forward way, via man’s culture, but landing in a strange idea, that maybe woman are better suited to be at the top of the hierarchy, at least that’s what the main’s character self-revelation seems to be about.

But anyways, what’s the movie about?

It’s about this guy, Casey, a young man who doesn’t seem to have much of a personality. He spends the day mostly to himself, alone in a world that doesn’t seem to care much about him either. With a strange appearance and personality, he struggles to make connections with others. Yet everything changes when he gets beaten up by some bikers in the street, this forces him to find a way to protect himself, landing first in a gun shop and later in a karate dojo, where he meets Sensei (he literally calls himself like this!) who seems like the kind of man who can really help our protagonist become what he wants to become, a real man, a man like those who beat him in the street. So, he learns martial arts from sensei and in this learning, he’s also exposed to man culture by having to share spaces with other man, as he does this, we understand that almost everyone there in the dojo is following the same premise as Casey, all of them find the strength they need only in the confines of martial arts. Casey even admits in wanting to use his yellow belt, which seems to be the only real accomplishment he has in his life, in every ordinary situation.  So, by the midpoint of the movie Casey does become who he wants to be, some badass karate guy, by kicking a fellow student and managing to blow out one of his teeth and from there? Well from this point forward he will understand the reality of the situation he’s involved in, who Sensei really is, and the reality of toxic masculinity in the form of videos of aggressions that are filmed and sold by Sensei and the “night class”, the group formed by the worst ass students. Thing is, one of those videos involves the beating he received in the beginning and that sparked this whole situation in the first place.

But what about that woman thing, I really couldn’t catch the idea firmly, I guess. I mean, there’s a female character and she’s like the toughest fighter there, it almost seems like Sensei is afraid of her somehow, he doesn’t want her to be a blackbelt and refuses to give her this grade, choosing Thomas, another duchbag from the dojo, and the recipient of this prize. Sensei also talks about her as a lesser student, weaker and less useful. Is only Casey who realizes about her true strength after hearing her story, in which we understand that to be in the dojo she has had to face many difficulties and mistreatment from men. Also, she’s the one who saves him from being killed the night the bikers kick his ass on the street. Fact is, other than a couple of minor characters placed in the beginning, she’s the only woman in the movie! (Her name is Anna btw).

That’s it I guess, Casey manages to become a man by end, he sees the reality of the situation and acts in a very masculine way I guess, he shots Sensei with a gun. He realises he can’t win in a fist fight (he tries first though) so he goes for his first impulse remember? Buying a gun. Is only after that when he’s in a position of power and relinquishes such position, declaring he hasn’t earned the position and giving it to Anna, who becomes the new leader. But wait, there are some aspects of this movie that make me think about the subject. I mean, what is it to be a man anyway, is it the struggle to look and act tough to get some respect? Mainly from other man? The answer to that one is yes, I guess. Well, think about it, man tend to fight other man, not woman. Why is that? I don’t even understand. There’s this hierarchy thing also, what’s that about? Are all of those things in our heads? Well, this movie doesn’t answer that, only show’s it to us, maybe is time for us to think a bit about it, why is it necessary to be aggressive to be respected, is it the only way?