The other morning my eyes caught sight of a large,hair brushed poster,announcing yet another arrival of a poor me American war series.American men,in these porno adventure stories always give the impression of carrying the burden of destiny on their shoulders.This is the Empire projecting its image and values into our living rooms.Here we have the lone hero in some far flung shit hole of the world defending the civilised world from the gathering storm.
What is interesting about this poster is the impact of the image and what it actually tells us about the projection of a new masculinity.
But first look at what is going on in the background.Its the tell tale weaponry portrayed to brutalising effect in Apocalypse Now.Helicopters and burning villages.We are in the territory of war is hell for the American Hero.but for the foreign other,hell is what they have coming to them
So we know the plot without having to sit through the violence.Maybe the production values will be high,this concept only enforces the the underlying cowboy story lines which ,in reality is all these war interpretations are about.
Something else is going on in this poster and that is the image of the man,a clean cut American with designer stubble and Californian Beach bum good looks is gazing at us.But what is he representing?What war is he fighting in?Because at a glance, this image is saying something interesting
Are we looking at a Roman solider on the fringes of Empire Because without doubt this air brushed image is presenting a series of mixed messages.The lone Roman legionnaire facing the corruption of an Empire and the dangers of Barbarian infiltration, was toyed with recently in the Gladiator,the ultimate historical geezer adventure,
Are we now being feed with the image of America on its mission to defend the civilised world alone.The last of the Romans in a landscape of feminine Greeks.History is a playground for Hollywood. The Westerns invented the notion of strong individualism and moral certitude.Now we may be witnessing another Western on a grander Historical scale.
The poster and its message could also imply the deep uncertainty which lies at the very heart of the American Empire.After all the Roman Empire feel apart at a time when nobody believed it could, and once it started to unravel the whole edifice proved to be a landscape ruled over by bullies and crooks.
Just an early morning thought