If my life were a John Woo movie, I most certainly wouldn’t be the Chow Yun-Fat character.  I don’t have the necessary grace to kick a poker table so that a gun flies effortlessly into my hand.  Nor do I have the wherewithal to slide myself back in a chair in order to shoot at a shadow creeping down the hall.  I’d probably drop the wounded little girl I was trying to carry into the Scared Heart (sic) Hospital.  Yun-Fat and I share at most the same cool, calm demeanor, the seemingly unruffled surface, even as the light of a thousand prayer candles flicker around us and white doves coo in the rafters.

No, I’d much more likely be the Danny Lee character:  good-meaning, but always one step behind and one poorly-timed gundraw away from failure. I’ll surround myself with composite sketches of Chow and draw wild conclusions based on his eyes:  he seems like a good guy.  One day he’ll be all mine.  I mean, Jenny might be cute as a bunny — and as equally useless — but she’s really only a gloss, a beard.

When we meet, we’ll be at arm’s length from each other, exchanging smoldering looks. Sure, we’ve got guns pointed at each other’s faces, but we know that guns are merely metaphors.  Look at how deftly Chow plants a kitchen blade deftly between a marauding gangster’s shoulder blades; it’s like he’s opening a letter.

Later, when I touch his bare skin, I feel a spark.  Sure, I’ve just poured gunpowder into a bullet wound and lit it with my cigarette but, cauterization or no, this is our moment.  Why worry about the fact that I may have accidentally put the bullet there?  What’s a mistake between friends?  What I’m looking for, in my John Woo life, is a place for male intimacy that’s neither necessarily erotic.  You could call it “bromance,” if you must, but how can two nominally-heterosexual men transcend friendship without sex?

I’ll tell you how:  with guns.  With violence.  All the filmic tropes of romance — slow motion, soft lighting, classical music — are present when we pull out our guns.  Inside the church, we move in synchronicity and as our eyes search the room for bad guys to waste, we always find each other. Jenny?  Oh, she’s cowering in a corner somewhere.  I’m sure she’s fine even as bullets fly about the room like hollow-point hornets.  And once we pull out the machine guns–!  Don’t get me started.  It’s better than an orgasm — we’re covered in blood (our own and others’) and sweat (mostly ours) and we’re tired and panting and our hands are sore from clutching gun handles.  And when we burst out of the church doors, ablaze with muzzle flashes, we’re now beyond friends, beyond perhaps even lovers.  We’re a symphony, a ballet, one element irreducible from the next.