So once again we have survived.

The Phantom

tn_phantomYou know what movie gets a bad rap, or unfairly ignored? Well, you probly already guessed it’s gonna be the one I wrote the title of above and then there’s a picture of it to the left. Maybe this is not the best format for a guessing game of this type, now that I think about it. If that’s your answer then you are correct, THE PHANTOM from 1996 starring Billy Zane gets a bad rap or is unfairly ignored.

I’m sure in its darkest moments THE PHANTOM believes that nobody understands it, but it doesn’t care. It knows what it is. It’s comfortable with itself. I mean, I don’t know how you guys feel about slamming evil, but THE PHANTOM is all about slamming evil according to the American poster, and I think it does a good job of making the slamming of evil entertaining.

mp_phantomBilly Zane plays Kit Walker, better known as The Phantom or The Ghost Who Walks. Apparently he was once an ordinary American college student, but when his father (Patrick MacGoohan) died suddenly he “took over the family business,” which in this case means he moved into a skull-shaped cave in the jungles of Bengalla where one of his ancestors was shipwrecked, taken in by Natives and given a skull ring. Since then each generation of the Walker family has put on purple tights and a mask and fought piracy and evil, creating the legend of an undying hero, a purple pirate puncher.

The Phantom is awesome because he’s so unashamedly old fashioned. He doesn’t try to be high tech or sophisticated. He’s straight out of an old serial or the cover of a pulp magazine, swinging punches or carrying two pistols. His repertoire mainly consists of fisticuffs, climbing or swinging on ropes, jumping over and onto things, ducking or crawling, hanging off of pontoons, with an occasional somersault. He is adept with horses and seaplanes. He has a pet wolf named Devil and a horse named Hero. When he goes to New York City he jumps across moving cars like he’s in Frogger, swings on a tree branch, hides in the tiger cage at the zoo, then gives the tiger a hearty pat.

Like Wesley Snipes in BLADE, Zane pays special attention to super hero poses and movements. And although he avenges the murder of his father during the course of the movie this is one super hero who has no interest in brooding or beating himself up. He smiles and flirts with women and seems like he’s having fun, even when he’s being chased and shot at.

I’ve talked to alot of people about this movie and they say they haven’t watched it because they just don’t like Billy Zane. Well, number one, apparently you haven’t heard of a little movie called SNIPER, but number two, this is clearly the role Billy Zane was born to play, unless there’s ever an Arnold Vosloo biopic. Zane is great in this movie and just the fact that it’s a role he’s passionate about easily makes up for that dick he played in TITANIC. According to my source (the internet) James Cameron actually cast Zane in TITANIC because he saw him in THE PHANTOM. In fact it’s too bad the movie takes place around 30 years after the Titanic disaster, because I don’t know about his dad but this Phantom could’ve definitely saved everybody if he heard what was going on over there.

I think it’s fair to say THE PHANTOM is not a product of its time. Ever since Tim Burton’s BATMAN in 1989 comic book movies were supposed to be “dark” and highly stylized. DICK TRACY (1990) didn’t have the dark but it was designed as a primary colored live action cartoon, and even that one tried to have a psychologically troubled hero. He was struggling with mid-life lady and child problems. THE CROW (1994) was an angry, violent revenge story drenched in shadows, gothic architecture and composited night skies. THE PHANTOM was closer in tone to two less successful super hero throwback movies, THE ROCKETEER (1991) and THE SHADOW (1994), but unlike those it took place in a mostly real world, shot on location and mostly in daylight, with minimal model shots or matte paintings and no exaggerated cityscapes. THE PHANTOM says Yeah, I know it’s 1996. Fuck you. I’m wearing a purple skintight suit riding a white horse. I get tips from children and animals. I don’t give a fuck what you think. Why would I even want your approval? I don’t need your respect. Do you know who I am? I’m the fucking Phantom.

The supporting cast is pretty good too. Treat Williams (THE SUBSTITUTE 2-4) is Xander Drax, the power-mad New York businessman trying to find three skull-shaped treasures that when combined will shoot lasers or something. Because he’s Treat Williams he treats all this with sarcastic glee. After a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK type supernatural event he chirps, “Wow!” Later he asks the corrupt police chief, very sincerely, “Did you hear the exciting news? We’re going to the Devil’s Triangle!” He’s got more than one “Just How Evil Is He?” scene, one where he de-eyes a snitch and one where he throws an antique spear at a mobster who, because of his Catholic upbringing, is hesitant to get involved in all this evil magic shit.

There’s also James Remar (THE WARRIORS, MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION) as Quill, a treasure hunter with a fedora that reminds me of some other cinematic adventurer, I can’t think of which one it would be. Although The Phantom is also a white dude he’s not down with all this colonial treasure hunting shit. In fact, when he sees one of the skulls on display in a museum (with completely inaccurate labeling, he notes) he breaks the glass and tries to take it, saying “I represent the original owners.”

c-htThe least memorable villain is the leader of the Phantom’s arch-nemesis pirate clan, but he’s played by Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, and if C-H T is your weakest villain then you’re doing something right, in my opinion. Because he’s always a good villain.

Kristy Swanson is likable enough as the feisty ahead-of-her-time love interest Diana, but I gotta say if I was the Phantom I would go for super-hot 27 year old Catherine Zeta Jones as Sala, leader of an all female air pirate brigade. Sure, she works for Drax and tries to kill The Phantom at first, but she later turns into a good guy when Diana asks “What is wrong with you? Why are you so mean? Don’t you care about anything?” Sala has that to think about during one of those flight-around-the-world montages they have in these types of movies, and that’s all she needs to switch sides because “I figure us girls need to stick together.”

One thing The Phantom does that I don’t think happens in any other comic book movie, he has help from animals. In maybe my favorite scene he escapes from the pirates in a stolen sea plane. When he takes off his wolf friend Devil runs over to his horse Hero and barks at him, then the two run into the jungle together. They somehow are way ahead of everybody and know that the plane is shot up and leaking fuel and the Phantom is gonna have to jump out onto the horse just before the plane crashes into a cliff and blows up. And I mean it’s true, wolves are supposed to be very intelligent. I’m not even talking about Wolfen, I mean just regular wolves.

I’d like to see The Punisher have a wolf and horse that talk to each other. It’s just not gonna happen. Nothing against the Punisher but I’m just stating the facts. Only The Phantom has the wolf-horse connection in his arsenal.

The Phantom is also down with indigenous cultures. When outsiders chase him through the jungle the Natives love to help him out, throwing ropes around the intruders. The Phantom is their neighbor, they know he’s a cool guy and good with animals. They’ll take care of these palefaces for him.

Of course, The Phantom character is an example of this weird old tradition of a white hero in another culture. It’s like everything from The Man Who Would Be King to The Last Samurai, Enter the Ninja, or Avatar. It could just be a story about samurai or whatever but they gotta put a white man in charge. I think The Phantom is an interesting spin on it though because he’s a guy pretending to be a ghost. I don’t know if the Bengallians are supposed to be African or what exactly, but I do think they’re taking advantage of his paleness. Hey, get that whitey to pretend to be a ghost, that’ll freak everybody out. Also consider that everybody believes the same Phantom has lived for hundreds of years, when really it’s different Phantoms. But they fall for it because all white people look the same.

By the way, although the Ghost Who Walks is not really a ghost, this does take place in a world where ghosts are real. His dad appears and talks to him sometimes in his cave or in a taxi. The phantom ex-Phantom. This is the one element of the movie that is actually a little too goofy for me. I draw the line at ghostly pep talks. But they go by quick. Still, you gotta wonder why the test screen audience was against wrestling a snake but for exchanging barbs with the ghost of Patrick MacGoohan.

I’ve heard from Aussies that The Phantom is supposedly the most popular comic book character there. Is that true? This was partly filmed in Australia by Australian director Simon Wincer (FREE WILLY) from a script by Jeffrey Boam (who wrote INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and LETHAL WEAPON 2). Before Wincer it was gonna be directed by Joe Dante, who later claimed in an interview that it was written as a comedy and “disastrously played straight.” He said it was test-screened and a bunch of stuff had to be cut out because people were laughing at it. I wish I could Phantom-punch those knuckleheads at the test screening because now I’ll probly never get to see the scenes where he wrestles a lion and a snake.

Despite what Dante says I think they played this one just about perfect. It’s got a smile on its face and some light-hearted quips (occasionally too corny, but not a big deal). I can’t picture the comedy version being very good at all. I’d rather laugh with the Phantom than at him. This is definitely my favorite of the period piece super hero movies.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 1:16 am and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

111 Responses to “The Phantom”

  1. hey asshole vern,

    The Phantom took place during the 1930’s, the movie’s tone is more that of the 30’s serialized B movies a la Indianna Jones.

    Are you sure you even watched the movie before doing this review?

  2. Hey my friend Brad who is obviously very polite and a careful reader,

    I’m not sure how I could make it any more clear in the review that I understand that “The Phantom took place during the 1930’s, the movie’s tone is more that of the ’30s serialized B movies ala Indiana Jones.” I had hoped the review would convey that the character is straight out of an old serial or the cover of a pulp magazine, especially in the sentence where I wrote “He’s straight out of an old serial or the cover of a pulp magazine.”

    I get the sense that you are angry at me for not liking the movie, which would be kind of weird since the entire review is a rave that begins by saying that it “gets a bad rap and is unfairly ignored” and goes on to use words and phrases like “awesome,” “clearly the role Billy Zane was born to play,” “just about perfect” and “definitely my favorite of the period piece super hero movies.” More importantly I compare Zane’s performance to Wesley Snipes in BLADE, which is not something I throw around lightly.

    Are you sure you even read the review before commenting on this review?

  3. I’m not sure the Man Who Would Be King would work without Connery and Caine being interloping whiteys, the idea being that they’re outsiders passing themselves off as gods and getting comeuppance when the locals find out they are actually just plain old white dudes.

  4. Oh shit, you’ve pissed off the worlds biggest Phantom fan, Vern. These fuckers can be like Trekkies.

  5. Hey, the man was in a hurry. Give him a break, guys. Who has time to read something before they comment on it? Not me, that’s for sure.

    Anyway, is there going to be a review of the new direct-to-DVD Phantom movie, too? It looks terrible, so I can understand if actually watching the thing is too high of a price to pay.

  6. Truth, the Phantom is very popular here is Aussieland. I used to buy it in my early teens, where it would come out once a week or every 2 weeks, what we call a fortnight, but it’s been a while, so don’t quote me on that schedule.
    I don’t know if it still is, though.
    I’m not sure that makes sense.

  7. What the fuck Vern? You know the Phantom is a motion picture with Billy Zane in it that was shot in colour on film and later released on VHS and DVD? Right? What the fuck. Dipshit.

  8. Yeah, I always dug this too. They had guys in purple Phantom outfits walking around big cities as a promotional gag, and I remember seeing one of them on Newbury Street in Boston eating an ice cream cone.

    I hope Joe Johnston’s CAPTAIN AMERICA follows in the retro-hero footsteps of RAIDERS, THE ROCKETEER and THE PHANTOM. (Given that Joe Johnston directed The Rocketeer, that’s a step in the right direction.)

  9. I spent the entire time between The Mummy and its first sequel thinking Billy Zane had played the title character, so the line about the Vosloo biopic cracked me up.

    I’m more partial to The Rocketeer and The Shadow myself, so far as the throwback trio goes, but I’ll have to give it another shot, see if it’s better than I remember. After all, I think the last time I saw it was its release on home video.

    According to Bruce Campbell’s autobiography, he was the second choice for the role. I guess it would have been cool for BC to have his own superhero movie, but I’ve always felt that Zane is unappreciated.

  10. Will you be reviewing The Shadow as well, Vern? I’ve always considered that as the superior film. The adaption was fairly faithful and Penelope Ann Miller is a gorgeous Margo Lane.

    As for The Phantom, I thought it was an okay flick by itself. The Ghost Who Walks isn’t exactly an interesting superhero for me. Though I do appreciate the Pulp 30’s feel the film has.

  11. Simon Wincer directed Crocodile Dundee III. That’s just kind of hard to get over, Free Willy notwithstanding.

  12. I think everyone knows The Phantom in Australia, if that’s what they mean by the most popular. They’ve been selling the books for ages here, and all the papers run The Phantom strips in the comic section.

    Wikipedia states it’s the highest selling comic in Australia apparently. I guess that means overall sales since they started publishing them. Compared to like, more people bought Phantom comics this month than Spiderman or something.

    Oh and that remake they are doing is apparently going to be a “darker, grittier” version. So they will probably have the Phantom wear a trenchcoat and struggle with an opium addiction or something.

  13. Never mind about Australia, Vern, The Phantom has his biggest following
    here in Norway. Norwegian newspapers have been printing the comic
    strips since 1939 (and still do), and there has even been a few stories
    where he visits Norway.

  14. Vern has gone spelunking into musty cinema many times. He has uncovered many gems and become quite the backwoods ranger of unknown ways of film lore.

    But not even Vern was prepared for the strangest find of all: The 1996 “The Phantom” is apparently a potent elixer of NERDDDDDDDD RRRRRRRRRRAGE

  15. Pulp is my drug, so i like The Phantom. Can´t wait for John Carter and Mountains of Madness.

  16. The Phantom was great but Rocketeer was cooler and Shadow more badass.

    Billy Zane is great, him and Cary Elwes are probably the most underrated and underestimated actors of all time.

  17. Vern – I’m shocked you didn’t pick up the obvious reason why Zane didn’t hook up with Zeta Jones. I mean dude….I think from the innuendo all over the place, she prefered to swashbuckle with girls than boys, you know?

  18. When I first watched this, I thought it was only about 60 minutes long – making it, for me, the perfect illustration of the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”.

    Gonna have to watch it again immediately.

    “No smoking in the Skull Cave” … class.

  19. I WOULD MAKE OUT WITH BILLY ZANE.

    So would the rest of you.

    Especially that AussieGeddon guy.

    Phantom fucking rocks.

  20. I second the review of Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane in The Shadow.
    That silver dress is something to behold. With her in it, I mean.
    And the shootout in the Chinese restuarant is terrific – John Lone is superb as the baddie.

    I liked the Phantom, too – it’s daft and a bit cheap, but Treat Williams gets a lot of mileage from his role and it has it’s heart well and truly in the right place.

    Rocketeer is my favourite, though. Heut Europa – Morgen die Welt!
    Probably got that wrong.

  21. I only know Billy Zane from TWIN PEAKS. I never saw TITANIC, and I only learned he was in BACK TO THE FUTURE a few seconds ago when I looked at IMDB.

    Anyway, I thought he was fine in TWIN PEAKS, but, man, those Peaks Freaks seem to hate him with a passion usually reserved for Hitler and George Lucas. It might be because they brought Zane in as a romantic interest for a character who was intended to hook up with Cooper. Or something. Like any discussion dominated by Nerd Rage, the nuances get lost in the white noise of pure fury.

    Anyway, IMDB has something called SNIPER: RELOADED in post-production on Zane’s page. Based on Vern’s enthusiastic response to the earlier film, I thought that might be worth mentioning.

  22. No discussion of Billy Zane is complete without mentioning his stellar work as the villain in DEMON KNIGHT. The movie itself is totally underrated, and Zane is the best thing about it. He’s sleazy and seductive and hilarious. I’ve been a fan ever since.

  23. My favorite Zane appearance is a tie between Memphis Belle (I kinda like how a lot of his dialogue is incomprehensible in a hilarious way) and himself in Zoolander. Mainly because he doesn’t seem like a guy who should be playing “himself” in a movie.

  24. Demon Knight is the movie I was think of when someone mentions Billy Zane too. Or Jada Pinkett-Smith.

  25. I agree about Billy Zane in Demon Knight. They probably tried too hard to make a jokey Freddy-Kruger-ish villain out of him, but Zane really sold it.

  26. RRA – I think Sala has broad tastes though. Yes, you can read “Us girls need to stick together” the same as McCoy’s “You’re not my type.” But what about when they’re gonna kill the Phantom and she says all sexy “I get the body when you’re done”?

  27. Yeah, loved Zane in Demon Knight.

    Never understood why he is hated so much. Always came across as a bit of a player to me.

  28. Jeez, all that love for Billy Zane and nobody mentions his awesome performance in DEAD CALM.

  29. I dug this flick too, but I can see why so many cynical motherfuckers feel like it’s their sworn duty to hate on it. Why enjoy something a little goofy and a lot fun when you can be all broody and bitch about the oppression of this world?
    But easily my favorite Billy Zane performance is in the Tales from the Crypt movie, Demon Knight. Not only is it Ernest Goddamn Dickerson directing a badass horror siege picture with a seriously nuanced (I swear to God) performance from William Fucking Sadler, but Zane is gloriously off his meds in that picture. He’s so obviously having a blast being such an evil bastard that it’s infectious. There’s a scene where, up til now, he’s been trying to be cool about getting his MacGuffin, playing by the rules more or less, and then he gets caught and the gig is up. He knows he’s gonna have to either go to jail (not happening, obviously) or get down with his bad self. Zane takes a brief pause while you see all this flitter across his face and then he’s like “aw, fuck it” and decides to bring it. Which results in what is sometimes known as “carnage of a highly kickass nature.” And then the rest of the movie happens. I love that movie for many reasons, but that single moment is chief among them.

  30. Billy Zane is a good example of somebody playing a part too well. You can’t portray the world’s biggest asshole in the most popular motion picture of all time without some of that rubbing off on you.

  31. A.J.: I love that scene where the jig is up and he just says fuck it and throws down his cowboy hat and does a little hoedown on top of it. It’s like the character suddenly bursts to life in that moment.

  32. This movie is awesome for sure. A while ago some friends and I were debating which movie to watch, there was a Deathwish in the conversation, Double Team, some other less descript action and The Phantom.

    We couldn’t decide between them, so we wrote all the titles on pieces of paper, put them in a bowl with a doggie treat and let my pup go after it. Whichever movie stuck to his nose was the one we would watch. Luckily, it was the Phantom.

    You’re absolutely right about the best scene, by the way. Watching Billy climb out of a seaplane, dangle below it for a while, then drop casually onto his horse is truly a sight to be seen.

  33. Majestyk: That’s exactly what happens with that character and it’s fucking great. From that point on the movie is on rails – we know who’s who, what’s what and precisely what everybody wants and whatever little side roads the movie may take, we all know where it’s going to end up (in the best way). Also of note is how Zane delivers the line “for cryin’ out loud!” God, I love that flick. More horror movies these days need to take a page from that book. Treat the situation seriously when it calls for it but don’t ever lose sight of the fact that ultimately it’s supposed to be a good goddamned time overall.

  34. I remember this movie being a beat-for-beat redo of Raiders…but considering that the screenwriter actually did Last Crusade, maybe I’m confusing the films. Do I lose Indy street cred for that?

    I’m shocked that you guys like this film. I remember seeing it on TV when I was like 10 and knowing it was crap even then. One of the first times I ever understood that a movie could be “bad.” Another odd Joe Dante connection here, “Small Soldiers” was the other movie that introduced me to the idea of suck. Seriously, I was looking forward to that movie for months and months and months. Bought the toys and everything and then I was so bored during the film. I guess it’s how Star Wars nerds feel.

    Also, the first comment on this topic had me in stitches.

  35. “One thing The Phantom does that I don’t think happens in any other comic book movie, he has help from animals.”
    What about the “Backup” scene from Batman Begins, or dogs uh, “helping” Marv in SIN CITY.
    Never seen THE PHANTOM, so I can’t say what I think of it, but BATMAN FOREVER’s on tv right and for some reason I can’t bring myself to really hate it like I do BATMAN AND ROBIN. How come?

  36. Stu:

    The reason may be that BATMAN FOREVER is almost a legitimate motion picture. Oh sure, it’s kind of a shit pile, but buried within it are nuggets of… stuff. Some of it good. I really like the idea of Bruce Wayne working out his issues by taking on the ward who he sees so much of himself in. He recognizes that Dick is who he used to be and how it’s really up to him to ensure that he doesn’t go down the same path that he did. “You find another face and another, etc.” On that level it’s actually kind of an interesting film. And then there’s the bulges and Jim Carrey and TLJ hamming it up, which is sort of entertaining in its own right.

    However, I can’t bring myself to join you in hating BATMAN AND ROBIN because in a weird way I think it’s more entertaining than FOREVER. I mean it’s got Uma Thurman in a purple gorilla suit, for Christ’s sake. How is that not entertainment?

  37. Vern,

    This prob won’t show up correctly, but I figured this would cheer you up after that bummer of a starting comment. (if it doesn’t, then ignore it.)

    C:\Users\abradley24\Pictures\bladevstwigh.jpg

  38. Goddamitt. Of course it didn’t.

  39. A video compilation of the ridiculously bad stuff from B&R would be entertaining, but I couldn’t sit through the whole thing.
    And I am reminded of some of the better bits of FOREVER watching it now, like it’s pretty funny when Bruce breaks down the door to Meridian Chase’s office because he thinks she’s being attacked, but she’s just working out, so he looks like a total idiot, which is kinda the opposite of how they tend to handle that. Also, it’s not quite the overwhelming campfest the latter film is.

  40. I took my nephew to see this when he was a little kid and he loved it. I think the movie is a success on that count and considering that little kids really ought to be able to enjoy superhero movies, as opposed to the seemingly prevailing attitude that superheroes are SERIOUS BUSINESS and absolutely should not be accessible for family viewing.

    Also really dig how Treat Williams’s character has that 1930s Can-Do spirit. In any other movie his optimistic businessman character would be an inspiring hero but in this one he’s the bad guy. Heh.

  41. Oh, and I’ve always appreciated that Zane as the Phantom really looks like that. I mean, most guys playing superheroes these days have all those fake muscles built into their costumes but the guys who made this one just told Zane to get into the best shape of his life because he wasn’t going to get any fake muscles to bail him out if he wasn’t ready to go. He still looks goofy because of the purple but at least he can’t be faulted for his build.

  42. Actually, consider that every superhero in the world is a fascist thug who completely disregards the systems of justice that society has spent literally thousands of years refining, I donno that they SHOULD be family viewing. Superman finds its’ roots in an essay by Nietzsche about Das Ubermench that also inspired one, Adolf Hitler…so.

  43. Thank you, Fredric Wertham. I will take your observation into consideration.

  44. Bob Vila – that’s certainly an interesting way to pick a movie, but how were you sure that one of the papers would stick to your dog’s nose? I was expecting you to say that the dog wolfed down the whole bowl and the first one he yakked up was the one you watched.

    anthony4545 – I believe you were trying to post this hilarious picture:

    http://tonyjwhill.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/blade_twilight2.jpg

    You can’t post pics from your hard drive but you can upload them to sites like imageshack.us for free hosting. I just Googled this one cuz I seen it before

    Never seen THE PHANTOM though. Billy Zane in purple spandex has always seemed like a lose lose proposition to me.

  45. Thank you Sir Lo. You are a gentleman and a king. Some twigh-hard’s always tryin’ to ice skate up hill.

  46. Uh, well ACTUALLY Superman finds it’s roots mostly in a 1929 novel called Gladiator and a whole lot of Kabbalistic mythology as remembered by two Jewish guys, which makes calling him and every other superhero Nazi fascism a bit offensive, I’d think. The name “Superman” was chosen BECAUSE the Nazis were using it too describe themselves and Siegal and Schuster were angry and wanted to take it back from them.

  47. All those years watching Seinfeld, and somehow I never learned these things about Superman. I feel gipped and empty.

  48. Hunter D.: Hitler was indeed inspired by Nietzsche, but in the same way that Michael Bay is inspired by early James Cameron. I don’t think Nietzsche or Cameron should be held accountable for the atrocities of the nitwits who failed to grasp the significance of their masterworks.

    Also, Nietzsche abhorred anti-semitism.

  49. M. Prestwich (no relation)

    September 23rd, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I remember thinking this one was pretty lame. I had a buddy who went nuts for this, though and he had hyped it up so much I think I was expecting too much. I might have to give it another look…see if I like it any better now that I’m a lot older and a tiny bit wiser.

  50. I tried watching this as a kid when it came out on VHS, but I quickly grew bored and stopped watching it

    however now that I’m older, wiser (but not really more mature) maybe I’ll give it a second chance since it just came out on blu ray

  51. “27 year old Catherine Zeta-Jones”

    I must see this.

    That is all.

  52. Fucking a, AJ. I watched DEMON KNIGHT a few days ago for the first time in like twelve years and I loved it. I saw it when it first came out and sort of forgot about it, and nobody ever mentions it so I assumed it wasn’t as good as when I was in junior high, but fuck if I didn’t have a blast revisiting it. Great cast, good gore, some decent scares, and Dick Miller in a room full of titties. Maybe not a classic but I’m surprised it’s never mentioned as quality horror.

  53. yeah, this is big in Australia
    the SyFy Channel back in the USA is apparently doing a ‘gritty reboot’ movie series
    i liked the Phantom 2046 cartoon. that was fun!

    i saw CATWOMAN last night. i didn’t hate it

  54. BLOOD AND CONCRETE is another good one for Billy Zane. He plays a charismatic but complete loser small time crook who gets caught up in an only slightly bigger time drug scheme. The criminals remind me of the ones in GHOST DOG or BRICK, where they make like they are big shot kingpin types, but can barely scrape together enough cash to keep from needing a legitimate job. Plus it has the guy who played Jacob on LOST as gay disco dancing hitman.

  55. vern, i’m totally with you on this one. I absolutely loved this movie. I’m going to watch it again. I liked reading this article too. Thanks for not tearing this movie a new a-hole. I love your humor. purple pirate puncher and phantom punches left me laughing my a** off!

  56. Chopper, there’s no denying the greatness of that flick. Also, you rock for bringing up the utter kickassery of not just Dick Miller, but the room full of titties. Who could possibly have less than a fantastic time with such a movie? Not that I’m a perv, just simply a pro-titties kind of guy. One doesn’t have to be Harry Knowles to be a heterosexual male and appreciate the female form. Having said that, I love titties and I love Demon Knight! (the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive in case any of you feel kinda funny about that)

  57. RE: Jareth Cutestory,

    you’ve clearly never read Nietzsche closely if you think he “abhored Antisemitism” Dude abhored antisemtism like a compulsive eater hates a buffet.

    Dude was a genius, and an anti-semite. Read “On Genealogy of Morals.” Wasn’t exactly subtle in that one. There’s a great documentary called “Nietzsche and the Nazis” which streams on netflix. It largely whitewashes the brazen racism of his work and it comes from an Objectivist point of view, but the first hour offers a fascinating analysis of Nietzsche’s work and how it was instrumental in the development of the Third Reich.

    I’m a big fan of a lot of what Nietzsche had to say, but at the same time, I feel as though the accurate application of his worldview is Nazi Germany. And this is difficult for me as a Jewish dude who has almost been murdered by Skinheads. Twice. Though, truth be told, my interest in this type of philosophy could well stem from those experiences.

    Also, what is a vigilante if not a Fascist? We love our superheroes and all, but when it gets down to it, the morals espoused by them are horrible. And for the record, I never said any superhero was a Nazi, just a fascist. There is a difference, obviously.

  58. Just to be clear: I do not mean to bash Nietzsche, not to summarily dismiss him. The modern man ignores Nietzsche at his own peril. And, because I agree with the main thesis of Beyond Good and Evil, I can accept that a thought is no less profound just because it is anti-Semitic.

  59. It was still a stupid-ass thing to say.

  60. That Billy Zane is a pretty cool dude. You should listen to him.

  61. I’m sorry, this movie is pretty horrible. Haven’t seen it in a while but I remember thinking that the movie just looked cheaply made and it thought it was more clever than it actually was. Also, the movie falls under what i call “the James Remar conundrum”. Basically, any movie made after 1982 that has James Remar in a significant role will be complete shit. He’s one of those guys that whenever he pops up in a movie i think to myself “oh no . . ” The Shadow is similar in tone and is a way better movie. This is back when Alec Baldwin was still cool (even though in the beginning he was supposed to be a chinese opium drug kingpin lol) and yes Penelope Ann Miller in that silver dress is a sight to behold. Anyone else think that when Alec was the shadow, he looked like Daniel Baldwin? I think its the nose.

    By the way, am I the only one who liked bordello of blood more than demon knight?

  62. Also rather a trollish thing to say. And manifestly untrue. I don’t know much about Nietzsche (apparently at my own peril), but I am almost certain that most superheroes don’t promote nationalism as a political principle (even Superman only wanted to promote the “American way”, not subject all nations politically to “America”–and that was a long time ago); authoritarianism (most are rather anti-authoritarian if anything in favor of populism instead, including populist justice systems); dictatorship; a single-party state; social Darwinism; state propaganda; state indoctrination; eugenics; or economic interventionism. Maybe social interventionism. (Anti-communism used to be a big thing, but isn’t much anymore, except insofar as ‘communist states’ generate threats to the weak which the heroes feel obligated to correct. But it’s just as, or maybe more, popular nowadays for the villains to be super-capitalists instead!)

    There are _so_ many ways that that comparison fails… The Phantom in the movie (to make a topical example) may not be especially concerned with bringing the villains into a system of procedural justice (it’s been too many decades since I saw the movie–which I wanted to like but couldn’t bring myself to quite do so, btw), but most American superheros (including the Phantom in the comic strips) don’t just pop a cap in the heads of the villains and call it a day. They go out of their way to work with the police, not only of America but in other countries as well, in delivering the villains into the hands of social justice procedures. (The current storyline in the Phantom strip, running here in American newspapers, is even more explicitly about working with the justice system than usual!)

    There are occasional large-scale exceptions, of course, mainly because the villains simply aren’t in a position to be handled by social justice procedural; and sometimes that includes heroes built around the concept of going after villains that human social justice systems simply cannot handle. (Dr. Fate, to pull a name completely out of the hat, doesn’t typically hand captured villains over to the police of this or that nation. That would be like murdering the police! {g}) There are heroes who also just say “screw the system” and don’t bother trying to work with it even a little–allowing them to simply pop a cap in the heads of their opponents when the opportunity arises–but those heroes are also, practically always, anti-authoritarian. Ironically, they’re also the sort to call the usual heroes fascists FOR WORKING WITH THE SOCIAL JUSTICE SYSTEM! i.e., for _not_ “completely disregard[ing] the systems of justice that society has spent literally thousands of years refining”.

    Anyway. Really, Hunter. Fascist? I’d pass it off as just throwing out a popular meaning of the word as a slur about bullies, but you seemed to be trying to claim actual knowledge about such things. And, not incidentally, what most superheroes in the world do (whether with social justice systems or against them) is help protect the weak against bullying threat. Which is why they’re considered heroes in an ethical sense (instead of merely in a Nazi sense of successfully imposing will to power against long odds.)

    It’s also why most heroes end up fighting Nazi or neo-Nazi fascists, sooner or later. It isn’t because the heroes are competing to be better fascists; it’s because those particular fascists are being bullying pricks (that the normal system of social justice needs some help to keep up with).

    And now, having fed the troll, I shall withdraw.

  63. Oh heck, another comparison: fascism usually doesn’t play well with religion, and actively promotes a post-religious secularism where the state itself becomes the state religion. Not too many superheroes going that route either.

  64. Gwai Lo –

    The little fella has a pretty wet nose generally, so I was confident something would stick, if not we would’ve just rubbed some bacon on the paper and done what you suggested.

    Luckily, one stuck.

  65. Look, in my mind, all superheroes can be boiled down to what Frank Miller displayed Batman to be in Dark Knight Returns, and what Alan Moore described Ozymandias and Rorschach to be in Watchmen. We can gussy it up all we want, but in its’ core, a superhero is a thug philosopher with more in common with say, Timothy McVeigh, than with Hammurabi. I read comic books and I love revenge films enough that I’ve written a couple (agent reading one this weekend, fingers crossed!) but what vigilante does is clearly reprehensible, both morally, ethically, and logically.

    A vigilante superhero is, at least to me, no different than a guy walking up to you, shoving a gun in your mouth and telling you you’re not allowed to be in this part of town because you’re a “Kike” or a “Faggot” or a “Chink” or whatever reductionist, dehumanizing form his bile chooses to take. He is keeping his neighborhood “clean.” How is that, in principal, different from any realistic variation on what Batman does?

    Yes, the authors invent “super villains” and bizarre alternate realities where governments are just like, “yeah, dude, go ahead and be a vigilante, and we’ll like, build you a base and stuff to make it official” but at the core of a superhero is vigilantism. And it’s a principal thing. It’s either okay for an individual to use overwhelming violence to enforce a specific and narrow political ideology or it is not. (I am stronger than you, ergo, I am “Right,” which is very fascist, especially if the hero has special powers.)

    The parts of superheroes that resonate with us emotionally are not defeating super villains or promoting justice by working with the police. Strip it down and you have a dude in a trench coat, out for blood and ready to kill anyone who doesn’t fit with his, ultimately arbitrary, definition of right and wrong.

    How many real world vigilantes don’t pop caps in peoples heads? How many? We soften the edges in our funny books and our picture shows but I think the parts of superheroes that get our blood pumping are the more hard edged subtexts. And you’re free to disagree, but I’m gonna keep seeing the inclusion of government approval of vigilantism as a rationalization and the existence of super villains as a metaphor.

    I mean, when was the moment superhero films became profitable? Oh, yeah. September 11th, 2001. There is a great mass of literature on how these films (and I would wager the “Torture Porn” films too) are a direct reaction to the events of that day and the collective will for revenge in a moment when we feel emasculated. I agree with that too. I was that asshole who majored in film theory, so I could go on and outline how Iron Man, Dark Knight, Saw 1-6, Hostel, and a bunch of others fit into this, but it would take way too much space.

  66. Fascism doesn’t play well with religion? What? Maybe in theory, but, c’mon… Italy… Spain?

  67. Wasn’t it Nietzsche’s sister who inserted all the anti-Semitic stuff into his work? Although, all I know about him is what I read in Action Philosophers, and that was a while ago.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/7018535/Criminal-manipulation-of-Nietzsche-by-sister-to-make-him-look-anti-Semitic.html

  68. ThomasCrown442
    [The Phantom] falls under what i call “the James Remar conundrum”. Basically, any movie made after 1982 that has James Remar in a significant role will be complete shit. He’s one of those guys that whenever he pops up in a movie i think to myself “oh no . . ”***

    So, are you familiar with a little 80s Action classic called Band of the Hand, featuring Remar as one of the bad guys along with a youngish Larry Fishburne in a totally rad hairdo?

    It’s cheesy as hell for the most part, but I love the experience of watching this thing. With Michael Mann as executive producer, it’s no mistake that it tastes like R-rated Miami Vice, which is definitely a good thing in my opinion.

    http://www.crackle.com/c/Band_of_the_Hand

  69. Or what about a little movie called QUIET COOl in which Remar, in a rare leading role, demolishes fat henchmen with giant swinging logs and throws rollerskating hoods into the East River? It’s a minor action gem from 1987, a movie with more minor action gems than just about any other.

  70. (Obviously, 1987 is a year, not a movie. Although I would certainly watch a movie called 1987. It would be like 1984, only instead of a dystopia, it would be a radtopia.)

  71. I’ll have to check those out. I’m only familiar with the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation’s of his resume.

  72. I’m intrigued, Senor Majestico. . . intrigued indeed.

    Damnation, why is it that I allow comments & reviews here to basically dictate 80% of my Netflix & online movie viewing tendencies? Bump Quiet Cool to the top of the list, and, meanwhile, Syndromes & A Century remains unwatched & floating in the top 5 of my to-watch list. I’m a bad person. You people are bad friends, bringing me down to the gutter of low-middlebrow when I should be educating myself on Official Film Festival Selections and shit. Shame on you all.

  73. Wow, i just looked up his filmography on IMDB. From 1990 to 2000, i can’t find one good film that he was in. Look at this murderer’s row:

    1994: Fatal Instinct
    1995: Judge Dredd, Wild Bill
    1996: The Quest, The Phantom
    1997: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

    No wonder I gave up on this guy.

  74. Yeah, but then he’s got, um… Jesus, the PSYCHO remake? That is a rough run of years, man. I guess WHAT LIES BENEATH wasn’t terrible, but jeez.

    Things pick up a bit in the 200s. Well, I like BLADE: TRINITY, anyway. And hey, I forgot he was in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. And his recurring role on DEXTER is kind of a victory lap for his career, in my opinion.

  75. Yeah, but young 1979 James Remar’ll stop running and beat the shit out of some wimps that are in another gang.

    BAM, THWACK, baseball bat, PFFFF.

    See, told you they’re just a bunch of wimps.

  76. I liked Pineapple Express but he was only in the movie for like 5 minutes. I thought the whole black and white beginning sequence was pretty bad though (just so happens to be the part he was in). I also liked The Girl Next Door and 2 Fast 2 Furious (Terrible film but immensely entertaining). Thats pretty much it.

  77. I’ve just finished “Night of the Demons 2” , by our good friend Brian Trenchard-Smith , so I’m in a Australian mood , and I think I will continue with the Phantom , since I saw that it’s available here at the videostore. I like pulp figures and vintage imagery and serials , but to tell you the truth I never followed the Phantom as a character . The Shadow , sure , but not this one . I will rectify that.

    But I’ve got to point out that in the Batman universe everybody is using animals in some kind of way .If you watch the Burton movies , Catwoman was “resurrected” by cats , and the Penguin has penguin sidekicks. With rockets.

  78. Hi Vern

    Have you seen Prince of the City Treat Williams is insanely good like vintage de Niro levels of quality. Would love to see your thoughts on it.

    Thanks

  79. PRINCE OF THE CITY is indeed the shit. Vintage Lumet.

  80. Hey now – I quite like Wild Bill. Jeff Bridges handles business and Walter Hill remains a champ as always. Plus it’s got Diane Lane (hot all these years after Streets of Fire) and Christina Applegate shoots a dude’s ear off. So don’t hate.

  81. Hunter D.: Nietzsche broke up with Wagner because of Wagner’s increasingly anti-Semitic views. As early as 1886 he also left his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted by his anti-Semitic opinions. He explicitly stated that anti-Semitism should be “utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind.” Elsewhere, referring to how his idea of the “will to power” had been misunderstood by nationalists, pan-Germany supporters and anti-Semites, he wrote: “These accursed anti-Semite deformities shall not sully my ideal!!!” You know he was serious about it because he used three exclamation marks. And that was pre-internet, when exclamation marks were used more sparingly.

    I think you might have read one of the versions of Nietzsche’s texts that was doctored by the Nazis in order to lend legitimacy to their reprehensible actions, or one of the books of criticism based on the doctored texts. It was only in the 1980s when most of that propaganda was fully removed from the texts.

  82. Besides, Nietzsche’s whole philosophy posited but two races: man and the Superman. I don’t think he cared about piddling differences in ethnicity and culture, to him the whole of humanity had reached a terminus in its evolution and it was up to the species to drag itself up to the next stage by the bootstraps. The Nazis took that and declared themselves the Supermen, but I doubt he would have agreed with them. He was quite critical of Germany in his time.

  83. I remember checking this out long ago after hearing that Ebert was in love with it!
    I think he gave it four stars or something.

    Zane is the best thing about the movie and is instantly likeable. He’s really nice to that poor little kid who’s forced by James Remar to drive a truck across a rickety jungle bridge. I think Zane could have been a good Superman. And I also liked the animal sidekicks. I liked how the Wolf occasionally attacked people, but was clearly too old to do any real damage. The weakest part of the movie was the ending. Aside from Treat screaming “UN-BEEEEEEE-LEEEEEE-VABLE!!!!!!!!!!!” it was a big letdown. Tagawa appears and is quickly eaten by foam rubber sharks.

    And I’d love to see those deleted scenes. I’m surprised they haven’t been thrown onto an overseas release of the Phantom. The character is a lot more popular around the world than he is in the states.

  84. One must remember in context that Ebert grew up back when theatres still played matinee serials, thus he is much more prejudiced in favor of such adventures, which is cool.

    Also why he liked FLASH GORDON….which alot of you I’m guessing didn’t care as much for. I like it, but is it so bad its good, or so goofy its bad?

  85. Ebert called it “one of the best-looking movies in any genre I have ever seen.”
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19960607/REVIEWS/606070302/1023

    And FLASH GORDON is intentionally campy, so I’d say ‘so bad it’s good’.

  86. I liked the FLASH GORDON soundtrack. In spite of myself.

    Flash AHHHH!

  87. I liked this one… barely. Bad acting, bad dialog, bad special effects, Indiana Jones ripoff-y story, but, y’know, I still like superhero-driven evil thumping. Gonna try out the two-movie-long 2006ish one next. And then maybe the Phantom 2040 cartoon, which Peter Chung of Aeon Flux cartoon fame worked on.

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  89. Grimgrinningchris

    July 15th, 2016 at 2:53 am

    After the new Tarzan and the “live action” Jungle Book… To say nothing of the movie-going world being far more accustomed to seeing men run around in brightly colored spandex… That it’s time to give The Phantom another go…

  90. It had me thinking about THE PHANTOM too. Man, I love The Phantom, both movie and character. It’s such a cool idea that I even enjoyed that modernized TV version a couple years ago. I was thinking about this, because it’s hard to revive a character like this in the modern age. At one time it was progressive to have a white guy who is down with Africans, but hopefully we have evolved enough that the white savior part is now not good enough.

    But wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an African-American Phantom? He is of mixed heritage, lives in the U.S., suddenly discovers he is the heir to the Phantom. It would be like CREED meets THE PHANTOM. The dynamic would completely change because he would question this history of white saviordom but also change his world perspective as an American now learning about Africa.

    Of course, to deal with these types of issues you’d probly be looking at a more modern, grounded world, which would lead away from the classic jungle adventure shit. Also, I have always taken “The Ghost Who Walks” to be partly a reference to his whiteness, in addition to the notion that they think this has been the same guy for multiple generations. So I don’t know if he’d need a different mask to hide that he’s not a white dude.

    Anyway, if BLACK PANTHER is a gigantic smash hit maybe this idea can get rolling. I would appreciate an executive producer credit thanks Hollywood

  91. “The Ghost Who Walks” definitely sounds like a reference to his whiteness, I remember reading once about this Australian aboriginal dude who was part of an uncontacted tribe way out in the outback who by chance stumbled upon a white guy and no joke, thought he was a ghost.

    I don’t see why The Phantom couldn’t still be a white guy, he’s just a dude who lives in Africa and kicks ass (or should I say “slams evil?”) and he happens to be white, only in this ridiculous fucking decade could the basic idea be grounds for offense.

  92. The “modernized” or “updated” version of THE PHANTOM just felt misguided. It felt pretty cynical with the parkour stuff and the “edGy” DARK KNIGHT-influence in a desperate attempt to get a new technology fetiszchizing generation of hipster youngsters interested

    Why bother trying to sell an antiquated pulp hero to a demographic with little or no interest in the property? How about those of us who loves these kinds of old timey adventure characters? We don´r really need an update with whatever fad that is going.

  93. All those 90s pulp hero revivals like this and THE SHADOW and THE ROCKETEER really worked for me. Even that one Zorro movie was pretty amazing. I think if a Doc Savage one had happened I’d care more about that character as well. I just don’t think modern Hollywood has what it takes to recreate those same sensibilities of fun adventure and genuine stunt filled set pieces with the same flair anymore. There would be nothing tongue in cheek about it it’d probably be a self aware green screen fest that will be kind of embarressed of being a PHANTOM or SHADOW movie in the first place.

  94. Occasionally I make efforts to appreciate these pulp characters in their original form, but I just can’t do it. The writing is usually pretty bad, all declamatory statements that treat readers like idiots. Plus, you can just feel the racism and sexism oozing off the page a lot of the time. If these were compelling character studies of a certain individuals from a certain time and place, that’s one thing. But they’re just supposed to be simple escapism and hero worship, and that’s hard to accomplish when all I can think of is all the awkward dinner conversations I’d get into with Doc Savage about why it’s scientifically proven that the subcontinent is genetically subservient to all Caucasoids or whatever. I don’t trust these characters right from the jump, and the writing isn’t good enough to change my first impression.

    As for The Phantom, I can’t imagine why anyone but a lowly, egg-sucking SJW would have a problem with a white patriarch whose family has lived in Africa for generations yet gives birth solely to Aryan children and is worshipped as a deity by the superstitious black locals who are too dumb to solve their own problems. That’s just good, not-condescending-at-all fun that everybody can get behind as long as they remove it from all context and never think about anything ever.

  95. Grimgrinningchris

    July 16th, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Not sure why the natives would have to be portrayed as helpless. They aren’t Oompa Loompas.

  96. Then what the hell do they need this cracker superhero for? I have nothing against the Phantom, but he is the White Savior Complex incarnate. You remove that and what else is left?

  97. A guy in a purple suit who was born into a secret family of superheroes, who is an all around asskicker and keeps evil out of the jungle?

  98. Exactly. The Whitest of the White Saviors.

  99. I’m not saying all White Savior narratives need to be thrown out. But we can admit that they exist, and that this is a prime example. If it’s not a problem for you, fine. But don’t pretend it’s just some minor incidental detail. It’s his entire reason to exist.

  100. And what if he isn’t even saving any native tribes? What if he would just beat up some supervillains who want to bomb New York, but have their headquarter in the jungle? I even think the villain in the movie wanted to rule the world or something and wasn’t specifically targeting any non-white people.

    (I admit, I’m at least 75% fucking with you.)

  101. And I was mostly just responding to Griff, who seems to think that complaining about narratives deeply rooted in racism is for babies but complaining about people trying to take away white folks’ precious honkey comic strip characters is super justified. The Phantom is such a low-profile and cheeseball remnant of outdated imperialist attitudes that he’s not even worth getting angry over in the grand scheme of things, but I also don’t think he’s ripe for rediscovery. The basis of the character is simply too retrograde to merit a modern update, especially right now when Hollywood is making an ostensibly earnest effort to be more diverse and inclusive. The Phantom is the exact opposite of that philosophy: Yet another movie set in the milieu of black culture that’s all about the white guy. I’m not saying we never need another one of those (a movie that actually engages critically with the trope of the White Savior might be interesting) but I’m saying we definitely don’t need one right now.

  102. I was reading an article about Big Trouble in Little China and they went the route of the white guy being a bumbling idiot and they still got razzed for it.

  103. The existence of smug, punctilious scolds does not mean you give up trying to get it right.

  104. (Even when one of those smug, punctilious scolds is me.)

  105. The structures we are familiar with have roots from different times when white middle class people was the dominant absorber of the narratives. In post colonial literature theyre is something called “to write back”

    What that means is using the language or mediums that was used to enforce or give dominance over to a specific people can be used against the dominant discourse as a way to give your own point of view. I am convinced genre films can do that.They are heavily dependant on conventions and by subversing them you can sort of “write back”. The Wachowskis did that sort of with BOUND as they subversed the notorious sexual politics of the film noir

    I believe genre films can be used to “write back” as they say. The revisionist westerns of the 70´s is another proof of that, when all of a sudden what befall native americans in SOLDIER BLUE was meant to be shocking instead not as an heroic act.

  106. I believe BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA did that by making a mockery of the audience’s perceived assumption that the handsome white fella was the hero. So it’s possible. I’m not sure The Phantom is the right vehicle for that kind of revision, but Vern’s idea of a biracial Phantom coming to terms with his legacy is intriguing. If you just want to throw another white guy in the jungle and NATIONAL TREASURE your way through some lip service about how unlikely this all is, though, count me out. Purple Outdoor Batman isn’t worth that kind of agita.

  107. I don´t remember who wrote BIG TROUBLE, but it was probably some white dudes. Maybe that was were the criticism was targeted against. For someone to be able to write back must be someone who has lived and experienced racism.

  108. BIG TROUBLE was a W.D. Richter script. So yeah, very white guy, but definitely committed to minimizing the (perhaps inevitable) White Savior aspect of the story. It’s telling that the opening scene, in which Egg (not very convincingly) claims he and his people are in Jack Burton’s debt, was demanded by the studio to make Russell look like more of a hero. The creative team were thrilled to treat the American braggart as the ineffectual comic relief sidekick but the suits couldn’t deal.

    Near as I can tell, there wasn’t a non-honkey anywhere near the production of SOLDIER BLUE so I guess that doesn’t count either.

  109. I don´t agree that a white can´t write about these kind of topics. But I think a lot of people are convinced of the notion that only the ones who have been oppresses can truly speak about being oppressed. And everytime a white dude does something about these things it gets quickly questioned and often times written off as non-authentic and therefore useless as socially important.

  110. That’s that smug, scolding punctiliousness I was talking about earlier. We should all endeavor to be citizens of Planet Earth, and earnestly trying to view situations from other people’s perspective should be considered a good thing, even if it doesn’t always work out. (It also used to be considered a vital component of being a good writer, before Intro to Creative Writing’s rule of thumb for beginners to “Write what you know” became gospel for everyone across the board.) Shutting every writer down for even attempting to put themselves in someone else’s shoes is a great way to make allies feel like they shouldn’t even bother and bigots feel like they are justified in digging even deeper into their prejudices.

  111. BTW, the main outcry about BIG TROUBLE wasn’t about the “white saviour”, but its use of Asian stereotypes (A villain who looked like Fu Man Chu, everybody can Kung Fu and is an expert in magic and mysticism, etc.)

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