the Jack (buggery) wrote,
the Jack

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Why don't we get comic-book film adaptations like this?

So, last night I had the most fascinating dream about a 'lost' Batman film from the 70s.

It was produced by, (or financed by or the brainchild of,) among others, John Lennon.

It starred an Asian actor as Batman -- though not as Bruce Wayne; the premise seemed to be that Bruce had only been the first, or at least only one, of the heroes behind the cowl.

It was entitled, Come. (You're twelve.) The title came from this Batman's catchphrase, which he used both in the 'bring it on' sense and to invite someone to join him, whether for a walk, a meal, or the Mission.

The actor playing Batman did not look entirely unlike Tony Jaa or Andy Lau, but neither would most people mistake him for Tony Jaa or Andy Lau.

As the film opened, Batman -- for the life of me I can't remember what his real name was, or even any of the aliases he used -- had just arrived in a moderate-sized Asian city (or possibly in a city with a moderate-sized Asian population? All I'm sure of is that it was neither in Japan nor Batman's hometown) to visit some old friends. They lived in a large old temple-like home (it could as well have been a converted church or fortress, imposing and fireproof, several stories high, and with entrances that would give beseigers pause, as well as its own spring-fed water supply) in something like an extended-family arrangement except that not all of them were related. I think one or more of the elder members of the household had had a hand in training him to be Batman, though not his hand-to-hand fighting skills. Possibly strategy, as we shall see.

Not everyone was home when he first arrived, as his visit was unexpected. (Apparently this Batman does a lot of just roaming and fighting injustice where he finds it.) After visiting with those who are at the house for awhile, he decided to go for a walk through the neighbourhood. He said hello to the owners of the business next door -- along the street to one side of his friends' home was a short string of commercial properties, a mix of shops, restaurants and services, some of which had changed hands and/or type since he was there last.

He decided to eat lunch at a restaurant in the middle of this strip, which served sushi (this was how I know the film wasn't set in Japan, as there was a definite sense of someone having tried a little too hard to evoke a Japanese atmosphere without having a native sense of what that would mean) and was somewhat dauntingly upscale for its neighbourhood. At first he was almost the only patron, which may have been meant to make the viewer wonder how such a restaurant stays in business, but he received polite and professional service despite his somewhat casual dress... IIRC, sunglasses, chinos, a tan windbreaker, and a polo or other non-dress-shirt in some colour darker than tan. (Overly distinctive 70s western 'fashion' was thankfully not in evidence. My dating of the film is based largely on Lennon's involvement.)

Then a large party in western-ish business dress came in, just as our hero was deciding where he wanted to sit, and he was invited to join them. They began their meal with an apparent tradition wherein once the first person was served, she or he would choose what they wanted from the serving tray, then insult the person next to them as they passed the serving tray on. The insults seemed to be all in good fun, and both the members of the party and the restaurant staff would laugh at particularly witty insults. Apparently-fortunately for our hero, the tray had started some three or four people away from him and proceeded in the opposite direction around the enormous table, and he had ample opportunity to observe the pattern the others were following. So, when the serving tray was passed to him (along with some good-natured ribbing about his appearance) he served himself, and then passed the tray to the man in the next seat, and insulted him, as seemed to be expected.

Nobody laughed. The entire restaurant fell quiet; the rattle of dishes from the kitchen even stopped.

The guy Batman had passed the tray to stood up and delivered a 'you dare to insult *me*? do you know who I *am*?'-type spiel, and his goons tossed our hero out of the restaurant. Of course it turned out Mr Full-of-Himself was a local organised crime boss, and there was a sub-plot that involved Batman busting up his operation. Either I didn't retain that part well once I was awake, or it was elided in the dream.

Another part of the plot involved Batman tangling with local law enforcement. I'm not sure whether this had to happen because they were corrupt (maybe in with the aforementioned organised crime element), took a hard line on vigilantism, or both... but, being Batman, he managed to infiltrate the investigation as an outside consultant, using a persona which was supposed to be blind. The investigation got hung up on some sort of bureaucratic or inter-agency issue, and seemed likely to stall on its own, but of course Batman made an appearance to kick a bunch of law-enforcement ass. His use of his blind-man sunglasses as a weapon, jabbing people in pressure points, was particularly impressive.

There was a nice surprise twist near the end. As Batman was making his way back to his friends' home, dark-garbed figures (definitely not ninja, but arguably ninja-esque) melted out of the night to confront him. Their message was along the lines of, 'we passed the mantle of the Batman on to you, we provided or financed all your training and equipment, and we've let you be Batman your own way, not even restricting you to operating in Gotham or the US, but now you need to be brought to heel.' Needless to say, Batman disagrees. (Incidentally, I was also left with a sense, though I'm not sure from where, that one of the secret identities of Batman between Bruce Wayne and this guy was Barbara Gordon, perhaps a la Thrillkiller.)

More and more of the secret-society people appear out of the gloom, and he kicks just enough butt to get back into the house (remember I said it was fortresslike? Suddenly that's germane). Even more of them show up, while Batman is climbing the stairs to the courtyard-like area of the roof -- seriously, it has gardens and and a seating area and even a spring-fed pool -- where he finds the household just lighting some huge bunches of giant incense sticks. He uses some of the incense to drive some of the besiegers back, using both the thick smoke and the burning embers, and everyone prepares for the coming battle... it's not clear exactly what kind of numbers the other guys have, or at least not more specifically than *lots* more.

During the lull between the incense attack and waiting for the main brunt of the siege, Batman takes a moment to share a clinch-y kiss with the woman he's been having chemistry with since the flashbacks to the first time he met her there. (A fairly impressive job was done of showing that she was *not* his only or even main love interest over the course of the film, though the details of that, too, were lost either to faulty recall or elision -- it was more a matter of, 'we've been making eyes at each other for years, let's get at least a smooch in before we're knee-deep in attackers.') And the film more or less ended there, with the siege imminent and Batman smooching the kick-ass woman whose home was being attacked; the credits started to roll.

But after a moment or two, the image behind the credits scroll started changing to moments Batman had had with other romantic interests, not all of whom were female or even human. I quite distinctly remember something like a merman and something like a female centaur, as well as at least two beings of intriguingly uncertain or complicated gender, among others -- I think there was a modest fantasy element present throughout the storyline, and some, but not all, of the other people Batman is remembering (or fantasising about; that was left deliberately unclear) macking on were in earlier scenes in the film, including some of the ...meta-humans? anyway, not-normal-humans.

It's a weird, almost unheard of way to end a Hollywood film, of course, but I think that, along with its general 'failure' to stick to one genre, mark it as at least having been strongly influenced by the Hong Kong style of cinema.

...I kind of wish this was a real movie. I'd totally love to watch it again.

Hurray for whatever makes dreams happen!
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