Last evening, I was discussing movies with psycho and we went into various genres and he happened to mention this guy Jason Statham when we came to action and I blinked. So he told me how he was like the Rajinikanth(I wonder which one of the two would be more humbled) of the Hollywood dishum-dishum genre and didn’t even sound surprised when I looked him up and reported that I had never seen his face ever before. “Heh, yes, you’ll only see this guy in action flicks” he said. I explained that I do watch and even love action flicks, just not the ones that are action for the sake of action. But I’ve noticed this very common misconception – that women don’t like action flicks. Or would prefer rom-com over action any day. I assure you, this is not true. But before I present my case, you should know that I am speaking for the die-hard rom-com and chick-lit lovers, popularly known as “girls” or “chicks.”
Because I just watched Knight and Day and have a Tom Cruise crush all over again. Also, I’ve found my comfort movie for the next one year – a movie for all moods. See, it has all the right ingredients – action, romance and humour – that’s all I want from a movie, really. And life – a guy who knows how to live on the edge and have the ability to say ‘I’ve got this, June, I’ve got this’ in that supremely cool and confident fashion even when the bad guys have got him dangling upside down from the ceiling. Blush Blush…Goosebumps too.
Instead, I have always seemed to have had men-friends(I am engaged, i cant use terms such as boy friends for fear of being Judged!!) who – while they are supremely cool and confident and even say such things as ‘I’ve got this, Mads, I’ve got this’ – prove in the end that that they’ve got nothing. Anyway, the movie made me sighhhh and it’s been a while since I sighhhhed in that Oh-I-want-thaaaaat kind of way after watching a movie. So I decided to use the opportunity to set the story straight on women – sorry, chicks and action flicks.
Coming back to Knight and Day, I know a lot of women who would have very strong views on how this movie insults women’s intelligence. I mean, not only is the woman, June Something (played by Cameron Diaz) a prop in the movie, going around getting into trouble and acting helpless till our hero, Secret Agent Roy Miller literally dives into the scene from out of the blue to rescue her – she is also portrayed as someone who is incapable of following simple, straightforward instructions such as ‘DO NOT get into ANY vehicle because they will KILL you’, ‘STAY in the room, DON’T GO ANYWHERE’, ‘We’ll get up at the count of THREE’ etc.I know I should feel insulted but I lapped it up because I could totally relate. I would do exactly those things (the opposite) too if I found myself surrounded by tension and ambiguity. But see, there’s a simple logic to that. Ambiguity implies action. Action implies testosterone and a general sense of manliness. Which in turn makes me weak in the knees and clouds my judgement.
Of course, to say that all women are like this would be wrong and unfair. I know a lot of women (like aforementioned Tom Boys) who’d rather fantasize about being the action hero than being rescued by one. But it’s just not my fantasy. I mean, I’ve just never had such ambitions. I’d rather be the girl-next-door who accidentally slips into the jaws of death just before being swooped up by hot, secret agent guy who keeps saying ‘I’ve got this.’ But even in my fantasies, I find it very hard to separate reality and refuse to jump off planes and get caught in gun fires (as all secret agents’ girls are expected to) and that’s where the fantasy usually ends.But this is the part that the movie tackles brilliantly.
See, our man keeps drugging her every time she panics and/or is expected to do dangerous stuff to escape from the bad guys. So she ends up sleeping through the scary bits and waking up in tropical islands to the view of secret agent coming out of the waters all bare-chested and muscular. Perfect.And in the end, the bad guys give her truth serum. So while our hero is wielding a gun, trying to keep away from harm’s way and asking her to ‘Go, hide behind the wall’, she’s busy saying ‘Oooh, Roy, this is so exciting. Life with you is sooo exciting!’ And when he appears a bit distracted because you know, he’s kind of preoccupied dodging death, she gets all sulky, pouts and goes ‘But you don’t seem happy to see me.’
Spot on. I wouldn’t even need a drug to do that.
This does not make me stupid though, it just means my brain is wired in such a way that when it spots an opportunity for romance, all other things get blurry. And action, the way we see it, induces romantic feelings (among other things). So if you’re going to be holding a gun and doing all those action hero gymnastics, you can’t blame me for taking a minute to drool and letting thoughts of romance get in the way of the task at hand. In fact, I don’t care who’s out to get that stupid battery you’re safeguarding, I’ll actually stomp my feet and demand that you kiss me right away. And I’ll judge you if the kiss doesn’t stack up to expectations.
So yes, assuming that girls like only candy floss or girls don’t like action is wrong. Most of us, like a bit of everything. Even the ones who say they don’t like action, like it in cutesy doses (as in this movie). Action, when it’s packaged the right way and in acceptable quantities is in fact most conducive for romance.
It’s like this – we feel about action the way men feel about lingerie – it’s great and puts us in the mood but at some point, it’s got to go off. So when a woman tells you she doesn’t mind action flicks, please don’t get excited and start boring her by listing out your favorite action scenes. That’s not how it works. How would you feel if she spoke of bras (not ones she was wearing or ever intended to wear) but instead droned on and on about the type and texture of the fabric?
So, if you’ve got the hots for a “chick,” screw the horror movie. Take her to an action-rom-com and when the time comes to brave the crowds queuing up for popcorn and she’s sulking about not being able to make it back to her seat in time after getting caramel popcorn, tell her in that cool and confident fashion – “I’ve got this.”