Sep 012014
 

As the movie opens, the Hero watches his mother die. Overcome, he runs away from his extended family.

The Hero, an adult now, walks across the crest of a dune. On the horizon, a pyramid can be seen through the blowing sand. Sliding down a slope, he reaches a stone doorway with statues standing guard. He consults a map, enters, and finds a golden amulet in a room behind the stone wall at the end of an underground corridor. Nazi soldiers burst in and attempt to claim the amulet for someone they call Schmidt. The Hero flees down a tunnel that brings him out of the tomb near his airplane, and he escapes.

Arriving in Cairo, he meets with the Love Interest to find out about the amulet. She hates him but hates her former professor, Herr Schmidt, even more and offers to help. In the market, they meet a Wild Card and his sidekick (“My name Sahib”), two orphans who ride around in a motorcycle and sidecar causing trouble and stealing. He also hires a very serious man to organize all the actual work. He takes the job but says “I care only that Schmidt killed my wife and children as he plundered the upper Nile. He must be stopped.”

Business happens and the Hero and the others discover the amulet is valuable. Let’s say it’s a decoder. For a map leading to Hadrion’s canon, a fabled Roman weapon buried when the emporer’s army retreated across the Mediterranean after some battle. The five set out to find it but don’t work well together, and Schmidt’s men take the amulet from them. During the fight, the Hero chooses to save the Love Interest’s life rather than to chase the Nazis, and the five end up lost in the desert. They realize they will have to trust each other and they band together to stop Schmidt from finding the canon.

More business happens that sets up the Nazi’s defeat during a final confrontation in somes caves hidden in the rocky cliffs along the northern coast of Egypt. Each of the five characters plays an important role. Let’s imagine that:

  • The Love Interest winks and raises her eyebrows at some guards then knocks them out. Insde the room they guarded, she finds her sister, a Nazi sympathizer who is packing up various maps and charts. The two fight, but the Love interest wins. She grabs a leather sack of maps and, before dashing off to catch up with the Hero shuts off the generators. All but the emergency lights go out in the cave. She then rushes off to save the Hero if she can.
  • The Wild Card stays above the cliffs. Sneaking between the vehicles, he releases their parking brakes one by one. When he gets to the last vehicle, he pushes it down the slight incline, sending it rolling into the others, which sets them all moving. One by one they fall off the cliff.
  • In the chaos, one of the large trucks risks hitting the Wild Card. The sidekick pushes him out of the way but is hit in the head by the truck’s mirror. The Wild Card shakes him to see if he’s alive, and the Sidekick mutters, “Our name Sahib.”
  • The Very Serious Man runs ahead in the cave and confronts Schmidt as he reaches the doorway leading to the canon. He is nearly killed by the Nazi guards but ducks behind some crates, dragging two Egyptian women with him. He does not know they are the Egyptian police chief’s wife and daughter. From his hiding place he fires at the Nazis to give the Hero time.
  • The Hero arrives late to the scene. He has been bound in a tent by his former university professor, the man who taught him everything he knows but who now wants the claim the canon for for himself. The Hero outwits/overpowers the man and rushes into the caves to confront Schmidt. As Schmidt is about open the stone door leading to the canon room, the roof above him caves in and a truck falls into the room. It is driven by the Wild Card.

Action ensues, but together the Hero and his team subdue Schmidt. They then open the door and enter the room where they discover that Hadrian’s “canon” is the emporer’s personal copies of great works from the fabled library at Alexandria. The Hero picks up a scroll and reads the label aloud: Aristotle’s Comedy. The police enter, the chief thanks the Very Serious Man for saving his family, and the Hero and Love Interest put their hand on the same dusty book as they look around the room and into each others’ eyes.

As the movie closes, the five sit side-by-side on cushions drinking mint tea. The Wild Card and Sidekick smoke a hooka with the Very Serious Man. The Love Interest pulls a map out of the sac she took from her sister and unfolds it on the table. Across the top is written “Excaliber.”

(Or if you prefer, replace the amulet with a spear, the desert with a jungle, the trucks with machetes and porters. If your jungle has orangutans or rubber trees, the German soldiers can be Japanese.)

the end

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This post is part of a series.

 

 September 1, 2014  Moments Tagged with:
Aug 132014
 

As the movie opens, the Hero watches his mother die. Overcome, he runs away from his extended family.

The Hero, an adult now, jogs alongside a white plastered building in a dark hoodie. He turns a corner enters a street full of loud vendors, scooters, white-gloved cops, and hot, sooty air. Near a high-walled compounded he ducks into an alley, scales the wall and makes his way to an opulent and spacious office where he retrieves a small device with a blue light. Guards arrive, led by a black man with a British accent wearing a white linen suit. “I believe you have something that belongs to Mr. Li.” There are some fisticuffs and some shooting but the Hero is wearing an earbud and explosions and sprinklers go off as planned. The Hero makes it out onto the street where he blends in by wearing glasses and a straw hat.

Back in Europe, the Hero discovers his rendezvous point in Prague is compromised and communications with HQ shutdown. He assembles a group of local mercenaries that includes the love interest, a wild card, the wild card’s sidekick, and a very serious man. They’re at odds but we find out who they are.

  • The Love Interest: “Li took care of me when I waz young, trained me. He iz dangerous but he iz not my fahzer.”
  • The Wild Card: “Nobody trained me. Not my parents, not my country. I do whatever pays the best.”
  • The Sidekick: “I am Yukio.”
  • The Very Serious Man: “I went rogue when Li went after my wife and kids.”

Business happens and the Hero and the others discover the device is dangerous/valuable. Let’s say it’s a code key. For a global military-industrial network. The five don’t work well together, and Li’s men take the device from them. During the chase scene, the Hero chooses to save the Love Interest’s life rather than fleeing, and the five end up trapped somewhere. In a Russian prison, say. Or in Munich with no gear, no money and INTERPOL agents watching the train stations and airports. The five realize they will have to trust each other to escape, and they band together to stop Li from using the key to take control of the military network.

More business happens that sets up the plan by which Li will be defeated in a final confrontation inside a Chinese skyscraper. Each of the five characters plays an important role. Let’s imagine that:

  • The Love Interest infiltrates a nearby bank where she confronts her sister who manages Li’s finances. One of Li’s men is using the bank’s servers to hide Li’s attack on the military network from western observers. The Love Interest subdues her sister and forces her to lock Li’s man in the server room and to shut down his terminal. She then uses the company’s systems to establish communications between the other team members and to contact the Hero’s former liaison at HQ. At some point, sitting in front of her computer screen, she will say “Okay, I’m in.”
  • The Wild Card hides in a server closet in the skyscraper and hacks its computer system. He seals doors and locks elevators. He also shuts down the security system protecting Li and coordinates the team’s approach. As he watches the screens and eats Twizzlers, he jokes “Hello Mr. I Thought I Was Bad Ass. Meet Team Yo’ So Not.”
  • When one of Li’s agents bursts into the server closet and shoots at the Wild Card, the Sidekick takes the bullet and karate chops the agent, saving the Wild Card’s life. As the Wild Card works to stop the bleeding, the Sidekick mutters, “We is Yukio.”
  • The Very Serious Man confronts Li as he enters the upper levels of the skyscraper, a tall bright space full of computers and criss-crossing catwalks. He is nearly cut down by Li’s guards but manages to save an older and a younger woman who stand frozen by fear in front of their work stations. He does not know they are the IT department chief’s family. Later when Li’s men finally get past the sealed doors and broken elevators, he helps keep them occupied to give the Hero time.
  • The Hero arrives late to the scene. He has been held in a decommissioned safe house by the man who raised him, taught him to be a spy and who now wants the control key for himself. The Hero outwits/overpowers the man and rushes to the skyscraper to confront Li. Li is well dressed, calm and gloats. Columns of numbers and code scroll across the computer screens. He explains, “You are too late.” In the server closet, the Wild Card is again typing furiously, his screen reads “password accepted,” he says “yes!” and hits return. The screens next to Li go blank, and he asks, “What is happening? What have you done?“ The Wild Card laughs and sends “pwned” to the blank screen.

Action ensues, but together the Hero and his team capture Li and subdue his men. They hand him and the code key over to the agents from HQ who have finally arrived. The IT chief thanks them for saving his wife and daughter. As the movie closes, the five sit side-by-side in an airport lounge, the Sidekick with his arm in a sling. As they chat a gate agent comes up and hands the Hero a brown envelope. Inside is a sheet of paper stamped “Top Secret.”

(Or if you prefer, imagine Li is a bearded Indian industrialist who dresses in black shirts and suits. In this case the device holds schedules and security details, the threat is an assassination attempt and/or terrorist attack, and the final confrontation involves a car chase on the streets of London.)

the end

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This post is part of a series.

 August 13, 2014  Moments Tagged with:
Aug 092014
 

As the movie opens, the Hero watches his mother die. Overcome, he runs away from his extended family.

The Hero, an adult now, rides through scrub brush and cactus in a dry, orange country and comes upon a group of broken and burnt wagons. As he collects a locked box from out of the wreckage, outlaw types arrive. “That box you got there ain’t your’n.” “Shur looks like it is,” says the hero. “McGuinty won’t like strangers takin what’s his.” There’s some shooting but the Hero holds his own and the group rides off.

In town, the Hero meets the love interest, a wild card, the wild card’s sidekick, and a very serious man. They’re at odds but we find out who they are.

  • The Love Interest: “McGuintty ain’t my pa. They say he is, but he ain’t.”
  • The Wild Card: “I never had no parents. Who needs ’em. I ain’t asked to be born.”
  • The Sidekick: “Mi nombre es Paco.”
  • The Very Serious Man: “McGuinty killed my wife and my kids and now I got nothing.”

Business happens and the Hero and the others discover the box is dangerous/valuable. Let’s say it’s a box of ammo. For a Gatling gun. They lose it to McGuinty’s men and, because the Hero chooses to save the Love Interest rather than running away, they all end up trapped together. In a mine, say. Or a mountain camp without horses. They realize they have to trust each other to escape or to get back to town. They also band together to stop McGuinty from using the box of ammo.

More business happens leading to McGuinty’s defeat on the streets of the town in a shootout where each of the five characters plays a key role. Let’s imagine:

  • The Love Interest confronts her sister who works in one of McGuinty’s brothels. She has let one of his men out on the balcony to shoot at the Hero from above. The Love Interest gets past her sister and stuns the man. Probably with a whiskey bottle brought down on his head. She takes his place and his rifle and covers her friends because she’s a good shot.
  • The Wild Card holds the Gang at gunpoint in a saloon and tries to rally the locals cowering at their tables. He jokes to the gang that “I don’t like people tryin to shoot my amigos.”
  • When one of the gang fires at the Wild Card, the Sidekick takes the bullet, saving his life. As the Wild Card holds him, the Sidekick mutters, “Nuestro nombre es Paco.”
  • The Very Serious Man confronts McGuinty, who is out on the street. He is nearly cut down by the Gatling gun but manages to save a mother and child frozen by fear. He does not know they are the Sheriff’s family. Later when the gang gets out of the saloon, he helps keep them occupied to give the Hero time.
  • The Hero is not yet on the scene. He’s held in a barn by the man who raised him, taught him how to shoot and who now wants the box of ammo for himself. The Hero outwits/overpowers the man and rushes out to confront McGuinty. McGuinty gloats, patting the barrels of the Gatling gun. It’s noon. From the saloon, the Wild Card fires a shot that hits the Gatling gun damaging its gears. McGuinty hollers, “Damn yer stinkin hide!” The Wild Card laughs and turns back to chasing down the gang.

Action ensues. The real shootout begins, but together the Hero and his friends subdue McGuinty and his gang, turning them over to the sheriff. They also give him the Gatling gun and the ammo for safe-keeping. The sheriff thanks them for saving his wife and daughter. As the movie closes, the five mount up on horses, the Sidekick with his arm in a sling, and they ride out of town side-by-side.

Or if you prefer, McGuinty can be an Apache not an outlaw, in which case the box holds rifles, the town is a wagon train, and the final shootout is in a canyon.

the end

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This post is part of a series.

 August 9, 2014  Moments Tagged with:
Nov 202011
 

It happened when he was on vacation. In a bar naturally. The big one. No power anywhere. City dark for miles. Everything quiet. Except here.

Here generators buzz like insults, keyboards clack. Phones flicker green against drawn faces.

The stage lights come up, then silence, then someone counting from the shadows, first a voice, then fingers: “Live in five, four, three,” two, one. Then questions through an earpiece.

He makes answers out of words, one by one. Head buzzing, tongue rank from the coffee. Serious. Reliable. Not drunk.

How the hell’d they find him? And why hadn’t they brought him his black mock turtleneck?

 November 20, 2011  Moments Tagged with: ,
Nov 192011
 

The cameraman fiddled with his equipment. The wind and the sand kept jamming everything up.

“This going to be long?”

“Just another second. Sorry.”

A new kid. Nervous as hell. “Don’t worry about it. I’m going to take a leak. Be back in a minute.”

He walked off behind the van and stood on the edge of the ravine. The sun hung in a cold sky over bright rocky hills. A slow circling bird–a hawk maybe, or buzzard–called out from the horizon.

He undid his fly, cocked one hand on his hip and sent a thick stream of urine spattering over the Persian soil below. It steamed in the late afternoon air.

He wore a black mock turtleneck.

 November 19, 2011  Moments Tagged with: ,
Nov 182011
 

He stepped into the elevator, dug the key out of his pocket, turned it in the slot, pressed “P.” The floors ticked by one by one as he rubbed his head and breathed a slow deep sigh. It was late, he was tired.

The door slid open on the soft green glow of the Toronto skyline shining through the bare windows of his living room. It was quiet.

He slipped off his coat, dropped his keys in the bowl by the door, stepped out of his shoes.

Then he saw them. On a table near the window, a glass of wine, a rose and a note. “Wake me up.” On the back of the chair, she had draped his black mock turtleneck.

 

 November 18, 2011  Moments Tagged with: ,