Gran Torino and Bangkok Dangerous

 

Clint Eastwood pointing the gun to a Hmong Laotian gang member

Clint Eastwood pointing the gun to a Hmong Laotian gang member

 

 

This is the movie where Clint Eastwood and Nicholas Cage starred. I would like to start my movie review with these two movies because it is avout two people who are in the end of their life who tried to change their ways and influence others for long term good. So there is similarity between them.

I will also try to analyze such films based on two perspectives-the first is biblical or by special revelation.The second by natural law or common grace perspective. According to Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www.utm.edu) natural law is “the moral standards that govern human behavior are, in some sense, objectively derived from the nature of human beings and the nature of the world.” while common grace is according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_grace) is a theological concept in Protestant Christianity, primaril in Reformed and Calvinistic circles, referring to the grace of Godthat is either common to all humankind, or common to everyone within a particular sphere of influence (limited only by unnecessary cultural factors). It is “common” because its benefits are experienced by, or intended for, the whole human race without distinction between one person and another. It is “grace” because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God. In this sense, it is distinguished from the Calvinistic understanding of “special” or “saving” grace, which extends only to those whom God has chosen to redeem.” It meansto me  that ther are aspects or influence in society that is derived from either directly from Christian perspective or it is there because God is doing his providential care of his elect.

Both movies shos their protaganist as indifferent to others. They are alone and they did not know that they are. They had horrible memories of the past of killing other felloe human beings. In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood character has at least a happy marriage and a wife who cares for him even in religious matters. The environment where Eastwood confronts his past is in Christian terms-in fact Catholic at that. The priest represents a bit naive perspective of life but confronted by Eastwood’s street smart wisdom and eventually martyrdom. With her wife dead- and he estranged from his two sons, he lives alone in their house.

But jolted to life by his Laotian Hmong nieighbors. Briefly described by the Laotian girl as “fault by the Lutherans” since they were persecuted by the Communist at Laos so they were brought to US.But because , being a Korean War veteran, he cannot just stood by when others are being molested by their own Laotian gangs-he went out of his “retirement” and protected them. He even mentored a young Hmong teenager-Tao and taught him “fix-it” skills and got him a job-thus giving him a future that he does not have. Except for the gutter language-You might think this is a Fernando Poe movie or CSI:Miami. But it did not end there. It is when the Laotian girl were raped and beaten that final confrontation happened. Most of us will expect that Eastwood will blast his enemies to kingdom come like Dirty Harry-but here , his character is already old and with some sickness (Lung disease?)- and so resolve differently-insurinf that the gangs will be arrested and the neighborhood saved-and Eastwood will not carry the burden of killing them.

 

Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage

Bangkok Dangerous has a Buddhist mute girl as a background to Cage’s character transformation. From not caring for his lackey’s to even dining and being with the Thai girl. But without a Christian influence-he resolve his troubles at the end by rescuing his sidekick from their captors and then commiting suicide.

Clearly Gran Torino’s end is better and more in sync with Christian worldview. though both characters wants to influence others for good by sharing their wealth of experience- Eastwood’s wife and the priest influence clearly set it a notch higher than “Bangkok Dangerous” buddhist view of life.

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