It must have been very hard to find good henchmen in the 80s.
As I was speed-flipping through the channels today, something in the info section caught my eye and actually made me go back a few clicks. Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen that a certain movie starred both Steven Seagal and Katherine Heigl, which I knew could not be right. Sure enough, there it was. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Well, now I'm already hooked.
The funny thing here is that I actually don't like either of those actors very much, but an awesomely bad film with both of them in it definitely had potential. I did not even realize that this was my mother's favorite Seagal movie until the end when he delivered her favorite line: "Nobody beats me in the kitchen."
What struck me in this movie, as it always does in 80s action flicks, is just how bad a shot everyone is, with the exception of the good guy. Seriously, now. If you're going to hire a never-ending army of henchmen, aren't you going to have some sort of requirements with regards to their abilities? I mean, how many mercenaries can you hire that are completely inept at every possible form of combat? My wife suggests that it's simply a hard job with low pay, and their failure in production is a result of what she calls "the plight of the henchmen," which is sort of sad when you think about it. Me, I just think that movie villains put too much thought into the details of their plans, and not nearly enough into their personnel decisions. If you're going to take down an action hero, get someone who can hit a moving target.
Today, films are a little better about giving reasons why the hero just won't die, often giving them all sorts of injuries along the way. Heck, look at Live Free or Die Hard. John McClane ends up with blood all over himself in that one. Still, discerning (yeah, right) audiences want to know how you survive certain things, and the films are slightly better at making villains more realistic these days. To make a bad guy believable, you've got to make them smart, strong, and driven, but you've also got to make them beatable. It's a fine line.
In my day-to-day life, the closest thing I've got to a combatant is the marathon. To best that race, you've got to be smart, strong, and driven, but I think that being smart is the most important thing. You can't run at 26.2-mile race with your guns blazing and expect to come out of there alive. You've got to pick your spots, plan, and make sure you've got the right equipment, particularly your shoes. (Yes, in this analogy, my running shoes are my henchmen.) They may not survive the encounter, but if they lead to your victory, then they've done their job. Mine are on their last legs. Both pairs.
So I've got a few things to consider in the coming weeks. My mileage is about to explode, which is great, but it means I've got to be smart and keep my pace in check. I need new shoes, which may be the one big purchase I make after the next paycheck comes in. Also, I need to start planning my races for next year. I've got an idea of what I'd like to do, but it will depend on a few little tweaks here and there that could make decisions for me. Also, it might depend on whether or not I qualify for Boston this fall. If I don't, then I've got to select races based my ability to qualify in them. If I'm already set as of October, I'll get to enjoy next year's races, and maybe do a few that are more difficult, but will be more scenic.
There's so much planning that goes into this, that I've barely got time to consider it all.
If only I had some henchmen.
81 Degrees / Cloudy
29 Minutes, 42 Seconds