Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The League sees "The Foot Fist Way"

Tonight I took League-Pal Matt M. out for his birthday to see "The Foot Fist Way" (it's a movie. Here's the site.)

I really liked the movie, but...

The League doesn't mention it much, but once upon a time when we were younger, thinner, full of much more youth and vigor, we were in TaeKwonDo long enough to earn a 1st degree black belt. Here's a link to the school I attended.

It was fun. And the experience is something that's very hard to relate to folks who haven't ever been involved. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue for a lot of reasons.

Despite being full of kids, the movie is NOT for kids. It's actually probably pretty funny if you've never taken a martial arts class before, but its really funny if you've ever been deep in the culture of martial arts schools and ever saw the slippery slope of the machismo and discipline for what it could turn into. It's really not too hard to live in some world of delusion when you have a small army of kids paying you fifty bucks a month, and a bunch of adults who literally jump when you say jump.

Anyhoo... Watching "The Foot Fist Way" was exactly like looking into a warped mirror of life at TKD. The martial arts portions of the movie are pretty much dead on to what I recall from the ITA, aside from the fact that my instructors weren't as... ah... anyway, my instructors happened to be terrifically educated and smart. But... that doesn't mean I didn't see folks just like the movie's protagonist, or many, many of the other characters in the movie (including the 13 year old kid who was tasked with running the school).

Truth to be told, it really made me miss TKD. I'd probably never been in better shape in my life, and I can't tell you what it does for your self-confidence to be able to punch through a few pieces of wood (eventually you start believing you can kick through anything... it's just a matter of the right kick).

And that sort of potentially misplaced self-confidence is exactly what the movie is about.

The movie fully embraces TKD and the stuff some folks might find a little cheesy. I don't think it plays those elements for laughs as much as it uses things like the tenets of TaeKnowDO as a counterpoint to Fred's struggles. And, again, if you've never been in TKD, then its kind of hard to understand why you'd take stuff like that seriously. But, you do.

I'll be honest... the movie was made on the cheap, and I don't know what it will lose if you see it on DVD. Especially if they include some of the commercials for the TKD school/ promo bits that were done for marketing the movie. But I liked it.

Not all of the acting is Oscar worthy, and the arc of the script probably needed some work, but its a fun movie. And, I expect, if I had a chance to watch it again it would be to memorize some of the better lines for use later.

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