This past weekend I finally got around to matching wits with Sherlock Holmes via the recent Guy Ritchie helmed version. It was an enjoyable film, though it does have one perplexing aspect that I found perplexing. heh. Dredger, the gigantic enforcer portrayed by Robert Maillet, is a fun part of the movie, but also troubling. This mound of musculature pounds his way through the film, absorbing damage without so much as a flinch. He takes hammers to the chest and is blown through walls. What is he – some sort of monster? What is being said about large men here? That they have no feelings? They’re immovable ogres only capable of distributing pain, but not feeling?
Sherlock Holmes did not invent this phenomenon. It’s been around forever. Big guys just take damage. In The Punisher, The Russian (Kevin Nash) is beaten with hunks of metal and stabbed with no effect. He only feels pain once a pot of boiling water is thrown into his face. In Happy Gilmore, the towering Mr. Larson (Richard Kiel) takes a nail to the head as if it was a drop of birdshit. Tiny (Matthew McGrory) in The Devil’s Rejects absorbs bullets and all sorts of pain, only to walk off as if nothing ever happened. We also can’t forget Fezzik (Andre the Giant) in The Princess Bride, who was virtually immune to everything except a lack of oxygen. This barely even scratches the surface of gigantic men with no nerve endings.
Now there are two ways I could finish this article. One I would take on the guise of some bitchy, annoying sign-waiving party pooper and claim that this is somehow discriminatory and demand an apology and call for a boycott of these films. But I’m not a giant dickbag. The second option, and my point, is this – this gag is old. I get it. The dude is huge. But huge doesn’t mean bulletproof. Getting hit with a hammer fucking hurts. Having someone plunge a knife four inches into your chest is painful. Big guys have big lungs, but they’re still lungs that need to not have knives plunged into them.
I’m not that upset this week, but it’s a point that finally got to me this weekend. The Invincible Big Man. I mean, number one – the guy is either invincible or he’s not. Where is the pain limit drawn? You can smash rocks on Fezzik’s head and he’s fine, but tiny Wesley is strong enough to pinch his airway shut in a rear naked choke? The Russian can take a knife to the chest and bend a wrench with his hands but a fall down the steps cracks his head?
I like intimidating guys kicking the crap out of each other. I’m a fan of Schwarzenegger and all those giants who can crush skulls with their bare (bear?) hands. But what I am tired of, at least for now, is the false invincible man punchline. If you’ve watched UFC fights or DREAM or K-1, you’ve probably seen giants like Brock Lesnar give up to ankle-hooks or the man-beast Bob Sapp get his legs kicked out from under him to the point of tears. Big guys are strong guys, but let’s back off the punch line for awhile. Take them seriously for just a little bit. I’m not exactly raging, but I am simmering and taking notice. Let’s just all remember that big men have feelings too. Not emotional feelings, but nerve endings and feelings of pain. Hollywood, every time you don’t physically hurt a big man, you bruise him emotionally. And that pushes me past my boiling point.
Does this bother you, ever? I didn’t think so.