I knew a man who once said, "Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.
I consider Gladiator as a film with epic proportions, along with Braveheart, The Last Samurai, Troy, etc. There was a massive display of violence but it somehow made me feel that I was with Russel Crowe's character all throughout the film. I was once asked during my father's wake that if he was a fictional character, who would he be? With a direct answer, I said.. Maximus Decimus Meridius. A relative challenged me and even asked, "What were the qualities that you liked in the character Maximus, that you wish to inculcate in your own self?" Granted, he is a man of valour and utmost dignity. But beyond that..what? Why I look up to his character is that he is just not the man with the protagonist face all this time, we all witnessed how anger ate him all up. It had to be deeper than revenge isn't it? Maximus was a virtuous man, afterall. He believed in a democracy, as Commodus was ruling rome like a dictatorship.
Rugged, Manly, Sexy, Inspirational. Maximus is the quintessential good guy. That is just how my tatay is. Rugged and manly as I always feel secure with his presence and his genuine love. Sexy with his perfect Elvis Presley voice. He is always the most requested host for every party, witty, funny and sexy. Perfect combo. He even beats the Mayor of our community in terms of gathering each and every member of our neighbourhood. Beat that. He usually receives political offers but he always decline. For the simple reason that he said anyone can contribute to one's society even he doesn't hold any significant position. Besides he said that he likes to focus more on his work and family.
That is a character that I love. He does not just "command the loyalty of the army" (as said by Marcus Aurelius), he inspires admiration from the men at his command. He looks more like a father tapping a shoulder or a chest here and there among the ranks. Good, skillful and wise, allergic to politics; a family man whose main aspiration is go retire to his farm with his beloved wife and son. What's not to love?
Tatay, they said you're my angel now. I beg to differ. I see you more as my Gladiator...with wings. I miss those times na binubuhat mo 'ko pag nakakatulog ako sa bed nyo ni nanay...kakahintay sa'yo galing sa trabaho. Tapos kakargahin mo ko ng dahan-dahan para hindi ako magising para ilipat sa kuarto ko. Ang hindi mo lang alam, na lagi akong nagigising, sinisilip ko 'yung mukha mo. At lagi kong nakikita 'yung ngiti mo na sobrang tagos sa puso ko...na sa ngiti pa lang alam ko kung gaano mo 'ko kamahal. Madalas man ako magtampo na hindi tayo nagkikita...gusto ko pa rin sabihin sa'yo na hindi ako makakarating kung nasaan man ako ngayon kung hindi dahil sa pag-gapang nyo ni nanay makatapos lang ako ng pag-aaral. Napaka-swerte ko. Kumusta ka naman dyan sa langit? May bidyoke din ba dyan? Sinong ka-jamming mo? Mas miss ko 'yung pinagbabalat mo ko ng paborito nating oysters... tapos ibabad natin sa special suka sauce na ikaw lang nakakagawa. Miss ka namin. Miss ko duet natin. The way we sing Green Green Grass of Home is just different.
When I see Russel Crowe touch the grass in the film, I know that it's really you. You touch the grass and say, "Angel, am going home now".
And i know you are.
One fine day, we'll see each other, and I will be singing again the line:
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.
Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
And I shall have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
If that's not enough to move you, then I rest my case.