All posts by Machine Trooper

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Cobra (1986)–a Review

The centerpiece of NASCAR’s Speed Week–the Daytona 500–just took place. We’re considering a Speed Week of our own right here. Or maybe a Speed Month, anyway.

I have been informed that Virtual Pulp is lacking a review of Cobra, and this simply will not do. So without further ado…here it is:

I would call this action movie a “guilty pleasure”…but I’m really not all that guilty about liking it. When it first hit theaters in 1986 I watched it for every weekend pass while it was still showing at the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville. As soon as it came to video I bought a copy, too.

Cobra has a lot in common with the prototype renegade cop flick Dirty Harry. Obviously they’re both about cops who teeter on the edge of vigilantism, ridding civilization of scum that the inept “justice” bureaucracy lets terrorize decent people. But it goes even further than that. Both Harry Callahan and Marion Cobretti have the same partner…at least he’s played by the same actor. Last name is Gonzales in one, Garcia in the other. Remember the villain from Dirty Harry? Same actor plays Cobretti’s nemesis inside the police force in Cobra.

And now for what, more than anything else, made me a fan of this classic action adventure cop movie: Cobra’s ride–a chopped and channeled ’50 Merc lead sled. This is my kind of cop.

“I know what you’re thinkin’: ‘Did he drop two gears or only one?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kinda’ lost track myself. But seein’ as how this is an American V8, the most powerful engine in the world, and would blow your doors clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

Okay, we can all pick this scene apart if we choose to. There are continuity errors throughout–bulletholes in the trunk that disappear in the next shot; cars doing over 110 MPH on the freeway in one shot, doing 15 on a back street in the next… Obliteration of the laws of physics: a burst from a submachinegun causes a pickup truck to flip bed-over-cab and explode… And in typical Hollywood fashion the best car in the movie is needlessly destroyed. But it’s still fun while it lasts. (Despite some continuity problems of its own, the best car chase ever filmed is probably in another cop flick called Bullitt.)

Another similarity to Dirty Harry is in the blatant attempt to generate memorable lines. Cobra has a few of them, but not all of them are as bad as its reputation suggests.

Now, I agree that “I don’t like lousy shots” isn’t terribly noteworthy (and there is some even worse dialog at the end). But “Go ahead–I don’t shop here,” is hilarious. Stallone even pulled off “You’re a disease, and I’m the cure.” It’s when the marketing people decided to put it on the posters that it became groan-worthy. “Crime is a disease. He’s the cure.” Ugh. Puke.

Did you catch that Sly said, “Drop it!” right before ventilating the ugly psycho at the grocery store? Me neither, the first time. Bang! Bang! Bang! “Stop, or I’ll shoot!”

Trivia note: When Sly Stallone began working on the treatment that was later developed into the Cobra script, the title was Beverly Hills Cop. The suits wanted a comedy though, and the ideas diverged from that point.

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An Cosantoir reviews Hell & Gone

An Cosantoir is the official magazine of Ireland’s Defense Forces. Sgt. Wayne Fitzgelarld, the editor, has recently reviewed Hell & Gone.

From his review:

Henry goes for all action with his ‘Dirty Dozen’ like squad sent on a daring mission in Sudan, with a final battle that reminded me of Black Hawk Down.

The ending of the book is explosive; you are in the thick of it.

Nice to find out that folks across the pond appreciate it, too. My thanks to Wayne for taking the time and effort to share his thoughts. His complete review is available in An Cosantoir, or on Hell & Gone‘s Amazon page.

And speaking of that, Hell & Gone has been picking up some reviews lately. In fact, it has received more reviews in the last couple months since the BookBub promotion than in all the preceding years. Wish I had done this much earlier…but then, I did almost everything wrong with my first few books, and squandered or missed out on numerous opportunities out of my marketing ignorance.

Don’t forget: the first two Retreads novels are available as Audible downloads as well as E-Books and paperbacks. If you’re like me, then listening to a book is the best way to “read” these days, with our busy schedules and drive time. Hell & Gone is narrated by David H. Lawrence XVII, and Tier Zero is narrated by Johnny C. Hayes. Both voice actors have their own style of delivery, and the contrast is interesting. I’m toying with the idea of recording the third book in the series, False Flag, myself. Don’t know if/when I’ll get around to that, or if it’s a good idea. We’ll see.

Anyway, if you can’t spare the time to read the first two normally, buy the Audible versions and let us entertain you while you work, drive, or whatever.

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Marvel Comics Regains its Senses?

Probably not. This is more likely economic reality putting the temporary kibosh on their agenda.

Comic book fans are among the most loyal fans. Few things run them off of their favorite books. For some reason, Marvel decided to do three of the most likely things to cost them fans: remove their favorite characters, tarnish the histories of those characters, and insult the fans who complained. The latter proved most insidious because the insults accused fans of racism, sexism, homophobia, and bizarrely resorted to stereotypes about comic book fans.

As Marvel did this, their new politically correct fan base proved not to be fans at all. As Marvel published book after pandering book, the books enjoyed initial high or good sales only to drop most of their audience within the first quarter. The prime example of this is the recent Black Panther book, which lost 70% of its audience in one month.

As far as I’m concerned, they have permanently lost me as a reader. Both DC and Marvel have gone too far off the deep end to ever get me back. They may dial it down a little bit for a while but I don’t believe for a second that they’re going to abandon trying to push The Narrative.

McCarthyism, “Witch Hunts,” and Coincidence Theory

A lot of people in 2017 are aware of the deceitfulness of the mainstream media, academia, and Hollywood, and the duplicity of those in government. But it would no doubt surprise them to learn this is nothing new. It’s been going on for generations–but with no alternative media to blow the whistle on them.

Before “triggering,” “microagressions,” and “safe spaces” came out of the SJW vocabulary to infect our everyday language, one of the old-school terms left-wingers liked to throw around was “McCarthyism.” Ironically, the term is used to describe what they (leftists/SJWs/feminists, etc.) do to people who challenge their Narrative. Use your own money to support a cause they don’t like:  admit in private that you believe in creationism; wear a T-shirt that they determine “sexist; or even just make a “dongle joke” to a friend; and they will launch a witch hunt of their own that won’t stop until you are fired from your job, or worse.

“McCarthyism” got it’s name from Senator Joseph McCarthy, who noticed our government being hijacked after WWII (actually, it started well before that). It turns out, with declassified documents and a non-hysterical examination of the facts in retrospect, that he was absolutely right in his whistle-blowing. (Not that truth matters to those who craft The Narrative.)

What McCarthy began to uncover was an orchestrated effort to usurp our Constitutional republic. But hell hath no fury like a conspiracy exposed, and it is the Deep State’s M.O. to assassinate the character of anybody who might be taken seriously, who would shine a light on the pattern and connect the dots.

Coincidence theorists, of course, will find some excuse to reject what stares us in the face. And the speaker in this video, himself, might be one, despite all the dots he highlights, just begging to be connected.

Stefan Molyneux has really done a good job assembling a lot of pertinent information. He gives an in-depth background so we have a context to put it in and compiling it into a pretty thorough presentation. Then he breaks down what McCarthy and his contemporaries actually did. If you’ve got the attention span, this is well worth the time it takes to listen.

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Ding, Dong, the Fraud is Gone!

Pray tell what fraud?

The Muslim fraud.

Ding, dong, the Muslim fraud is gone!

He’ll take Jimmy Carter’s role

More apology tours on the public dole

But let’s make our country great again,

And bring those jobs back!

 

Now he can’t worry ya.

Send the candidate back to Manchuria.

Worship Allah and Karl Marx

You fart-blocking weasel!

 

Ding, dong, and adios!

He’s coming out? Well that’s just gross.

Ding, dong, the queer impostor’s gone…

Movie Fight Scenes

When the audience is young, suspension of disbelief is much easier. I watched some abysmal movies and TV shows up into my teen years that usually didn’t bother me.

Whether the movie is good or bad, though, the fight scenes are almost always laughable. Once you begin paying attention, it’s hard not to notice the cheesy aspects–like Western Union Punches, for instance.

See if anything bothers you about the clip below:

Now, granted, this fight scene is from a comedy. But what’s sad is, films we’re supposed to take seriously are just as bad.

Notice the Adam Sandler character, who has been a brawling goon up to this point…how he just stands around waiting to be hit. It’s in the script for him to lose the fight to Bob Barker, so he just plays crash dummy.

Maybe I’ll post an example of a good one some day, if I can find one…

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Russian Hackers!

Yes–that’s right: Elite hackers from the Kremlin prevented us from posting anything at Virtual Pulp for the month of December! 13 different intelligence organizations have determined that Putin’s Cyber Warfare Department rigged the blogosphere in a misogynist conspiracy to prevent the first female president from taking power. The exact connection between Virtual Pulp and the election can’t be divulged at this time for national security reasons.

In other news: another domestic terrorist attack! A suspect who goes by the name Muamar Fuqfridum opened fire on bystanders (we avoid the term “innocent” because there may be a possibility some of them voted Republican) with a semi-automatic muzzle-loading artillery machinegun, before detonating a bomb that killed 50 innocent victims (we know they were innocent because they were all registered Democrats inside an LGBQT-friendly nightclub, before they attended a private party at Comet Ping-Pong). The suspect was seen waving a Koran in his free hand screaming “Allahu akbar!” during his rampage. Experts are not entirely sure what his motives were, but are investigating a possible connection between the suspect, Mike Cernovich, and Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, a group of high-IQ Black Lives Matter activists beat a young white male, kidnapped and tortured him while recording video of the incident and later posting to Faceborg Live. While torturing the young man, they repeatedly shouted “F*** Donald Trump!” and “Death to Whitey!” Experts are not entirely sure what motivated the kidnappers, but the NAACP is looking into the possibility that the young man might have oppressed the kidnappers by flaunting his White Privilege, and triggered them with microagressions while violating their safe space.

Five seconds ago, an innocent black youth was gunned down by a rogue white cop while charging him with a machete…while on his knees, hands raised in surrender, with his back to the officer while shouting “Please don’t shoot!” Experts have concluded that this is a racist hate crime resulting from centuries of racism in racist America perpetrated by hateful free market racist entreprenuers clinging to racist Christianity and the racist gun culture. 13 separate intelligence organizations have discovered a vast, right-wing conspiracy of conspiracy theorists, climate change deniers and free speech advocates who have infiltrated the police and weaponized them against the black community. Links have been established between the racist cops and the racist NRA, as well as racist Tea Party members and racist veterans with PTSD. Racist, racist, racist. Did we fail to mention racism as the motivation? And furthermore: rape culture; toxic masculinity; homophobia; Islamaphobia; Russian hackers; intolerance; culture of hate; home schoolers; Iran-Contra; Watergate; one-percenters; global warming; sexism; the pay gap; fake news. And racism. The science is settled.

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The Magnificent Seven 3.1

The grandfather of this latest Magnificent Seven movie was Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai.

Set toward the end of the feudal period in Japan, the plot blossoms out of a small village ravaged by “brigands.” The villagers’ livelihoods are being progressively wiped out by succeeding raids, and their very existence will soon be threatened. A wise villager proposes a plan to pool what remaining resources they have, and use it to hire samurai to protect the village. Seven alienatied warriors, for various reasons, answer the call. What follows is, in effect, a suicide mission, in which the samurai face overwhelming odds with inferior weapons and equipment (the brigands have horses, armor, and even firearms while the samurai have nothing but their swords and the clothes on their back.

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In 1960 the story was transposed into the Old West, in a film directed by John Sturges, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach. The samurai are replaced by gunfighters, of course. The remake is not without its flaws, but certainly has some memorable lines.

In 2016 the latest update hit the screen. I was not even aware of it, due to how hectic personal life has been lately…until a few days ago.

Some character types have survived the evolution of the story, and the core of the plot remains the same. But the SJWs in Hollywood just could not help but conform it to The Narrative.

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The Japanese original suffered no obligation to ethnic diversity; but the new Seven is composed of mostly minorities (one each: black; Asian; Mexican; native American), and none of the white ones survive. (OMG! Is this a metaphor of WHITE GENOCIDE?!?!?!?!?) Denzel Washington is a great actor, who has been believable in every role I’ve seen him play. Furthermore, there were some black cowboys and soldiers on the frontier. But the Chisolm character is the de facto leader of the Seven and nobody (even among the bad guys) so much as mutters under their breath about it. Granted, 19th Century America was not the racist holocaust SJWs tell us it was (when they’re not trying to convince us that the USA was founded as the secular welfare state it is now, where illegal aliens are treated better than our veterans/citizens; it’s “legal” and even mandatory in some cases to discriminate against straight white males; and the only people with inalienable rights are sexual deviants). But there certainly were bigots who weren’t afraid to speak and act on their prejudices.

As if the suspension of disbelief weren’t strained enough, the film makers just had to insert a Brave Womyn Warrior into the message film. She is the de facto leader of the townsfolk during the war against the cutthroat army (led by an Evil White Male, of course).

Yeah, okay…

Despite all the social engineering, Magnificent Seven 2016 is an entertaining 133 minutes. There are plenty of dramatic scenes and fun action sequences to keep your attention. Technically the acting and direction is Grade A.

If you have the time and inclination for a movie marathon, you could do worse than watching this one back-to-back with the 1960 film and the original (and best, IMHO) Seven Samurai.

Boomtown by Gilbert Morris – A Review

I originally read this as a mass-market paperback titled Vigilante. I was just beginning to appreciate westerns at the time. I’m so glad to have found this. I subsequently bought and read the entire Reno series. Most were pretty good but I’m confident this is Morris’ pinnacle in fiction.

Jim Reno is a Confederate veteran, a reformed alcoholic and some-time “gunslick.” He’s also, like so many of us, spiritually lost…unsure how to fill the God-shaped hole in his soul. This is Christian fiction, but not preachy (or wimpy). There is one sermon in the yarn, which lasts for a paragraph of roughly three sentences. Christian characters surround Reno but, while it is no secret what the author believes, he doesn’t sermonize. At his core, Jim Reno is a “good person” who has fallen short of exemplary behavior in his life, and who wants to get right with God, but spends a good portion of this series alternating between running from his Creator and surrendering to Him. Something I can relate to. I haven’t read tons of Christian fiction, but I’ve read enough to be sick of the formulaic conversion of the main character at the end…reciting the sinner’s confession, standing ovation, blah blah blah.

One “bad person” does get saved in this novel, but Morris pulls it off deftly. I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t see it coming.

Morris likes to pepper his tales with romance, too. I do fault him for the way he shuffles love interests in and out of Reno’s life. Between the first and second books in the series, for instance, his happily-ever-after soulmate disappears with no explanation whatsoever, never to be mentioned again. In this one, the love interest Morris spent the entire previous novel priming for Reno is unceremoniously kicked to the curb in lieu of a brand new one.

The plot should be familiar to those who’ve read in the genre, or even watched western movies. A frontier town is at the mercy of lawless, greedy cattle barons and their hired guns. Decent folk band together in an attempt to protect themselves and the innocent, and turn to Jim Reno who has that rare (in reality) combination of a heart of gold and talent for violence. Reno, of course, doesn’t want to get involved, for all the I’m-trying-to-escape-my-violent-past reasons.

Whatever faults I could list here (and believe me: I could nit-pick ANYTHING if I put my mind to it), Boomtown is a great read. It is hard to put down. The bad guys will curl your lip, you will grieve for the victims, cheer for the good guys, and close the back cover with a satisfaction only the great books can give you.

(From the Two-Fisted Blog Archives)

Dialog at Twilight’s Last Gleaming #2

This conversation took place during the New York demonstrations against the results of the election.

 

SILVER SPOON BLACK WOMAN: This country was built on the oppression of dark people!

WORKING CLASS WHITE MAN: First of all, slavery was brought over here before there was a United States of America. Second, we fought a war to end slavery. We fought and killed our brothers and cousins to free the slaves, because we’re “so racist.” Slavery lasted about 80 years here. Care to compare that to another country? Take your pick: Africa, Asia, Europe, Central or South America…pick your continent.

SSBW: Slavery wasn’t as brutal  in other countries. It was more like just being servants. It’s America that made it such a dehumanizing thing.

WCWM: (Scoffs) You’ve been watching too much TV. African slaves in Latin America were treated much worse than in the USA.

SSBW: That’s just what you say. You don’t know that.

WCWM: I study history because I want to know the truth. You should try it. The information’s out there. You read a few memes on Facebook and assume you know everything there is to know.

SSBW: And so what if you ended slavery? That’s nothing to pat yourself on the back about. The fact is, you still did it. And you took this land from the people who were here before, so it’s hypocritical to want to keep other people from coming in and taking it away from you.

WCWM: Can you name one country where the territory wasn’t won by a group that displaced another group? Why is nothing bad unless Americans do it?

SSBW: I’m talking about this country. This is the one I live in. And just because other countries have done something doesn’t make it right when America does it.

WCWM: So the standard for America is perfection, but every other country can do whatever, and are superior in your eyes?

SSBW: I didn’t say they are superior.

WCWM: You want to make us just like them. And you act like I’m wrong because I don’t want their invasion of us to continue. Why is that?

SSBC: The point is, this is a racist country, and you’re too blinded by your white privilege to understand what I go through as a person of color.

WCWM: I understand. You’re given scholarships for nothing but being born your color. You’re given hiring preference for nothing but being born your color. All by oppressive, racist America. You poor victim.

SSBW: Those things are just compensation for what we have to go through every day in life just because of the color we were born with.

WCWM: Oh yeah, I keep forgetting how oppressed you’ve been. Your parents weren’t allowed to work any job except maids or butlers; you weren’t allowed to live in a well-to-do suburb; you were denied an expensive education and you weren’t given a six-figure job right out of college.

SSBW: I had to work for all those things!

WCWM: Ah, so you’re a victim because you have to work for something? They should have just handed it all to you because you’re black?

SSBW: (Under breath, grumbling) People who never experience prejudice just can’t see it.

WCWC: Now you’re assuming I’ve never experienced bigotry, and you assume it because of my skin color. That’s textbook prejudice, right there.