Pay or Die

photo credit: J. Star via photopin cc

photo credit: J. Star via photopin cc

That’s the title of a martial arts movie I watched many, many years ago (not to be confused with a mafia movie made in 1960 with the same title) while I was completing my MA at university. My housemate and I watched it, and both of us were literally stunned at the awesome badness of it all.

The brown Ford that was crashed or blown up at least four times through the movie.

The improbable plot twists.

The cheesy dialogue.

The fight scenes! Oh, the fight scenes! (I was a mere Shotokan karate orange belt when I watched this movie, and boy, did I laugh.)

And you know what, I loved it. Can still remember the title, even though Google no longer seems to have any record of this movie’s existence. It was so bad, it was good.

It reminds me that we can enjoy things for what they are. I’ve never been a huge fan of the idea that literature or film has to be educational or enlightening. Entertaining works just fine. Sure, it’s a bonus when it is entertaining, and educational, and enlightening, but it doesn’t have to be.

I watched Now You See Me yesterday, and it this concept was a thread in the movie, and for some reason, Pay or Die just popped into my mind. One of the characters in Now You See Me criticises magicians and magic as being manipulative. His partner disagrees, telling him it’s about wonder and having fun.

I think most often, truly entertaining fiction or stories, whether in film, books or stage, are an agreement between the viewer / reader and the creator to all be in on the make-believe together. If the writer / director can hold the illusion skilfully enough to allow the reader / viewer to agree to allow themselves to be sucked into it, that’s when magic happens.

What book or movie made you happy to suspend your disbelief recently?

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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10 Responses to Pay or Die

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    I didn’t know you were a martial arts expert. Very cool! And, yes, to be entertained matters. My husband and I’ve recently been seeing movies that were entertaining. The latest was We’re the Millers. The premise was ridiculous. The hero was a drug dealer, the heroine was a stripper…and then there were their fake kids. Yet we both enjoyed it and laughed through it, along with the rest of the audience. It’s a show that I’ll watch more than once.

  2. marilynbrant says:

    I just saw the 2nd “Percy Jackson” movie with my son…we definitely had to suspend our disbelief, LOL, but it was still really fun and entertaining 😛 .

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Michelle,

    It seems like there’s been a mess of ones on my screen lately – Looper and Epic are two that come to mind. Both far out and both fun when I let them be. Of course I’m a big Walt Disney fan any way!

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Michelle, how fun that you were into martial arts!

    I like action movies and romantic comedies. Most are highly unbelievable, but fun and entertaining all the same. What makes me buy in to the story is the main character(s). We just watched Olympus Has Fallen over the weekend and I liked the premise even though it was completely implausible. At least I hope it is!

  5. Liz Kreger says:

    My belief is suspended every time I pick up an Urban Fantasy book. 😉 You gotta try to immerse yourself in that author’s world in order to enjoy the story. At present I’m totally buying into Ilona Andrew’s world. Thanx for turning me onto that series.

    I try to never take a movie critic’s opinion to heart. What may or may not appeal to that person has little bearing on what I personally like. I prefer to make my own decisions when it comes to books and movies.

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