Let’s take a second look at our story to learn why we should pay attention. This is an action movie & action movies are movies in which one or more heroes save us as a city or country from those enemies or those catastrophes which are beyond our unaided imagination. The importance of heroism is again stated & again subjected to inquiry in every such story.
It is of great importance that we not abandon heroism to the tender mercies of sophisticated nihilists. For every bunch of people whose tastelessness is overblown by circumstance & convention – there is at least one sophisticated, educated, dissatisfied fellow wielding accusations of bourgeois philistinism & concocting sociological theories about culture. He is the death of beauty & the petty persecutor of the admirable. Cluelessness in many & vileness in a few are a dangerous combination…
Blindness to heroism is common nowadays. The most deluded pretend Gandhi teaches war or anything else serious. Hannibal is immune to this delusion: he makes even of Gandhi an argument for war. The man who sees pacifism itself as a part of war knows the entirety of war. Where others, whose judgment is corrupt, think speeches replace deeds, Hannibal stands for the man of action, whose sense cannot be deluded by professions of good. His planning is not a science, but an art – particularly an art of prophecy. Unlike those who hate American arms, he stands as a justification of their worth, not only because these arms fight for a just cause, but because they enlist such worthy champions in the fight.
The two utterly conventional characters are his opposites, the CIA agent & the girl. They show us the good & bad parts of the law. The agent’s lawlessness is concealed by regulations & bureaucracy: This is law after it degenerates into tyrannical technicalities. This man knows lawlessness masquerading as law is his path to power or at least private wealth. The woman, for her part, dares not admit that her obedience to the law requires abandoning the man she loves & therefore any private happiness. Unsurprisingly, she is unable to enforce the laws… Pretty girls cannot teach soldiers justice, war, & death anymore than bureaucrats multitasking abuse of power & the local martial arts gym can teach the rest of us politics.
If the woman’s principles & the man’s daring were put together, that creature would resemble Hannibal. Gazing upon Hannibal, we learn that man excels in war. Can we be blind to military camaraderie? Who does not believe in the justice of a cause cannot describe its heroes. – No cause can be called just without heroes, for heroes alone show that a cause is choice-worthy.