Yes, my squeamish readers, I took on the burden of going to see the movie Eastern Promises JUST so you wouldn’t have to sully your pretty little eyeballs with the sight of Viggo Mortensen fighting in the altogether. Aren’t I noble?
(If you haven’t seen Eastern Promises and you haven’t heard about this scene, then welcome back from your vacation on Neptune and ignore any sentences where “Viggo” and “naked” appear.)
Before we discuss the naked Viggo fighting scene, let me say: this is a really good movie. Viggo is brilliant as the conflicted Nikolai, Armin Mueller-Stahl turns in another great “kindly grandfather/scary motherfucker” performance, and Vincent Cassel is pure awesomeness (Roger Ebert, you have nothing to worry about).
Some of you will insist that the naked fight scene is gratuitous. May I ask you, when is seeing Viggo naked ever gratuitous? But seriously, the scene is important and necessary: it emphasizes the vulnerability of Nikolai taking on not one but two goons who are fully clothed and carrying weapons.
So, is naked Viggo really that big of a deal? This isn’t the first time we’ve seen his tackle. He showed the goods in The Indian Runner, and those short shorts he wore in G.I. Jane left very little to the imagination.
I’m not going to go into detail about what you see, what you don’t see, how long you see it for, etc. If you saw that other movie featuring naked fighting, well, it’s kind of like that, only with more blood and less balls pressed to faces.
In addition to the naked fighting scene, you’ve probably heard that this movie is pretty violent. Let’s hear from a reviewer on the fandango.com forum:
Well acted, interesting story Extreamly [sic] Violent do not take your wife or girl friend. Guy movie for sure.
Don’t worry, wives and girlfriends. If you’re not up for the violence but are simply dying to see Viggo and his boys, I’m sure there are already plenty of screen caps online. You can find scenes of just about any actor who ever appeared naked on film. For example, in my dogged pursuit of all things David Strathairn, I was able to study the respected character actor’s wonderfulness in various shots of him diving naked into a quarry in Return of the Secaucus 7. But you’ll have to look find those sites yourself.
Dave liked the movie, too, but had a quibble with the title. I thought it was a spin on the phrase “Western promises”—alluding here to the Russian mob’s promise of a better life in the West. “That’s stupid,” Dave pshawed. “They should’ve called it ‘Nude Viggo Fighting.’ That would’ve put the fannies in the seats.”
* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of AC/DC.