Friday, April 25, 2014

Instant Feedback: Dean, Seth, and Vampire Roman Strike Back

Believe in The Shield, SNOOGINS
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The plot of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is, at heart, a revenge tale. The titular characters are used as inspiration for characters in the movie Bluntman and Chronic, but they get ridiculously skewered on an Internet message board called Movie Poop Shoot. In an attempt to keep their good names intact, they roll out to Hollywood to prevent the movie from shooting, with several zany diversions along the way keeping them from attaining their goal in a timely manner. Of course, they realize the royalties from being in a potential blockbuster would hook them up for life, so they do the next best thing to get back at the trolls talking shit on them. They use their newfound fortune to fly across the country to beat the ever-loving shit out of every single one of the people who said a cross word about them.

Obviously, The Shield did not suffer such capricious injuries as having avatars of their likeness shat upon by faceless Internet trolls. They were set up to be mauled by 14 other wrestlers - 11 goons hand-picked by The Authority and the members of Evolution who would come out and pick the bones. They obviously had more of a reason to exact revenge because hey, they were led to the slaughter. But watching Smackdown unfold tonight and seeing The Shield prevent deja vu brought back vivid memories of the penultimate scene in Kevin Smith's much-maligned but overall hilarious installment in his series.

What made the arc brilliant was its strict adherence to the characters of the group while tweaking slightly the aim of their tactics. The Shield is a group of mercenaries, so they act either because a benefactor gave them a large lump of money, or because they wanted to get back at someone or some people who tried to impede their ability to make said money. The divide and conquer hunt of the members of the team they were slated to face again - Jack Swagger, 3MB, Fandango, and Curtis Axel (with Brad Maddox thrown in for good measure) - is a tried and true Shield tactic, only instead of jumping these entities for dastardly reasons, they did so with the hammer of righteousness at their beck and call.

Obviously, these tactics do not befit the strategy of white hats. Then again, for all my kvetching about John Cena not acting the part of the hero in shining armor, The Shield don't abide by a credo of "Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect." Character consistency is far more important than alignment is anyway. Besides, wrestling, like in cinema, doesn't demand that you always act virtuously to be popular. You just have to be entertaining when you do it. So just like Jay and Silent Bob can beat the snot out of a priest and a teenager just for their words on a forum and still be eminently appealing to the viewer, The Shield in all its coordinated attacking efforts, pithy catchphrases, and in Ambrose's case as he mauled Maddox, manic flailing was able to be suave as all fuck during their revenge fantasy acted out in the flesh.