Category Archives: Crime

MadMax

Speed Week Plus: Mad Max – a Review

Motorized Mayhem Down Under! Time to take Speed Week Plus south of the Equator, to a continent comprised entirely of one country–and into the future, where civilization is on the verge of complete breakdown.

Imagine an Australia populated with butch, entitled women; supplicating nancy-boy males considered “men;” oppressed by a draconian police state hell-bent on gobbling up more power until farting in the privacy of your own toilet is a crime punishable by death…

Oh, wait. No need to imagine–Australia is just about there already. Imagine instead an Australia saved from that dystopian present by a nuclear holocaust and utter economic devastation. Whew!

That merciful cataclysm seems to be underway at the beginning of the original, unfeminized Mad Max.

I actually saw the sequel, Road Warrior, before I saw Mad Max. And having seen it, I just had to watch the original.

I should clarify something up front: I won’t be including Beyond Thunderdome for Speed Week Plus, and probably never will review it or the more recent Mad Maxine.

So the “thin blue line” Down Under has become razor thin, fighting a losing battle to keep civilization from toppling. Amoral, perverse gangs rule the roads, stealing whatever they want, raping whoever they want (which is pretty much anyone), and more than willing to murder and destroy in order to do it.

On the side of good is the MFP: Main Force Patrol. Just as our police have come to be known as “cops,” originally “coppers” because of the badges worn by New York policemen, these Aussie lawmen’s badges were made from a different metal, hence they are slurred as “the bronze” by the villains in this film (as well as the hero in Fast Cars and Rock & Roll, which pays homage to many films, including this one).

A very young Mel Gibson plays Max, the MFP’s star patrolman, who’s considering quitting the force and taking his family away from the madness. To bribe him into staying, the MFP makes an unofficial gift to him of “the last of the V8 Interceptors.” It’s a black-on-black Australian Ford Falcon, supercharged, with “Phase IV heads” and “Nitro.” By the end of the movie Max deputizes the Falcon Interceptor to run down the gang that murdered his family and made a vegetable of his friend Goose.

Mad Max Poster

By the way, the clutched supercharger on the Falcon was a pure fabrication sold via the magic of film editing. But Hollywood has plagiarized it with their own clutch-driven blowers in movies like My Science Project.

Director George Miller was fascinated with medical apperattus and you’ll see some on display in Mad Max and its sequel. He must have been equally obsessed with Catholic symbolism.

But the appeal of this movie is the high-octane action, and it’s got a lot. A lot of the speed scenes were undercranked to exaggerate the velocity of moving vehicles, yet it was accomplished with a subtle touch so that it doesn’t make everything comical.

That’s not to say there aren’t some laughable moments (dig that Roman Candle in the exhaust pipe)–if you watch the version with overdubbed American voices, it’s downright groan-worthy. So I recommend getting the version with the original soundtrack.

“We remember the Night Rider! And we know who you are.”

Bullittposter

Speed Week Plus: Bullitt

I mentioned this chase scene recently in my post about Cobra. Despite swinging ’60s soundtrack and the advance of both special effects and automotive technology since this cop flick was made, this is still the best car chase I’ve ever seen. So help me, if somebody so much as mentions any of the abysmal Fast and the Furious movies in this context…well, just count yourself lucky that you’re not within slapping range.

Here’s some rumors and trivia I’ve picked up here and there about this famous scene:

  1. The old fart with glasses at the wheel of the Charger is a stunt man who did the actual driving for the shoot.
  2. Steve McQueen did some of the stunt driving as well. Those little throttle blips just before the upshift were him showing off.
  3. At first the suspension of both cars were tuned to handle quite well (especially considering the era and the skinny bias ply tires), but the director wanted them to skid around the corners more dramatically and so had them de-tuned again.
  4. That 440 Mopar was bone stock, as was the Dodge body/frame.
  5. The Mustang’s 390 was warmed over a little, and the chassis stiffened to handle those spine-kinking jumps.

BTW younger generation: This is what an actual Dodge Charger looks like. Those pregnant 4-door luxury sedans on the streets now? They are a result of some German engineers having a few kegs too many at Oktoberfest and mixing the ugliest body styles from both Daimler-Benz and Chrysler (and it should have been called a Coronet or something, though even the Coronets were never that ugly). Putting a badge on it that says “Charger” is just sick German humor.

Geez, a whole lot of Pontiacs get in the way of this epic vehicular battle.

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I’ve heard people say that the movie Ronin has a great chase scene. I just watched it again, and it’s a decent flick with some good driving scenes. The chases aren’t as good as this one, though I think I know why some people find it exciting. I just blogged about it last time.

Speed Week Plus: Ronin – a Review

Welcome to Speed Week Plus! You’re in the middle of a series of blog posts dedicated to a specific selection of action adventure, featuring blazing horsepower, shattered speed limits and melting tire rubber.

Up this time is Ronin, an action flick that is part caper and part espionage, with plot twists and double-crosses in all the right places. Robert DeNiro is a superb actor who is brilliant in the villain role but no sloucher as a hero, either, as proven in this movie. In this one he’s a former spook who, like a samurai without a master, must rent out his skills to make a living. He is hired along with some other “specialists” to pull a job that grows increasingly complex as the twists pile up.

It’s a solid action yarn that is well worth spending an afternoon watching. But it was recommended to me specifically for the chase scene.

To be honest I found the car chase rather unremarkable. Its popularity probably has a lot to do with the body count in vehicular destruction, and the now obligatory driving-into-oncoming-traffic segment.

Anyway, the car chase is above for your viewing pleasure and you can decide for yourself how good it is.

I agree with Jean Reno, BTW: De Niro should have just shot her. But then there wouldn’t be an excuse to flog these European luxury sedans through traffic for eight minutes.

This is actually an idiosyncratic selection for me. Stay tuned to watch some American iron raising hell next time.

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Speed Week Plus: Cobra – 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.

cobra1

Razorfist Rants on a 1980s Action Classic

We’ve only recently discovered Razorfist AKA the Rageaholic. Not only are his epic rants impressive simply for lung capacity and linguistic aplomb, but a whole lot of his observations are savvy, too.

I can’t believe this, but there is no review of Cobra posted here or at the Two-Fisted Blog. How can this be? I was sure Hank had posted one years ago…

Well, that just means we have to do one, and soon. Stay tuned.

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Another Drop In an Overflowing Bucket

For those aware of the massive election fraud in 2012…as the saying goes: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. There’s so much fraud locked-and-loaded for 2016, that it’s too much for a part-time blogger to keep track of half of it. It’s to the point that the only newsworthy stories during Election 2016 will be about untampered votes cast (only once) by living US citizens.

Hillary  implied during the first debate that she has ducked reporters for most of this past year because she was preparing for the debate, and for the presidency. Well, her army of fundamental transformers have been preparing, too.

Early voting does not begin in Ohio until October 12, so no votes have officially been cast in the Buckeye state.  However, inside these boxes were, what one source described as, “potentially tens of thousands of votes” for Hillary Clinton.

…With this find… it now appears that Clinton and the Democrat Party planned on stealing the state on Election Day, making any campaigning there now a waste of time.

This is just one of the aspects of the upcoming election which have been inadvertently discovered. For every instance revealed, you can bet money there are dozens or hundreds which never come to light. And even when the Democrats are caught red-handed, the mainstream media assists in the coverup and 90% of the population remains ignorant. Team Hillary will not be held accountable, just like Team Obama was never held accountable. Assuming The will of the people will be determined in November, much less a Trumpslide, is extremely naive.

If the elites played fair, we wouldn’t even be where we are now, would we?

hillaryvoterfraud

In Case There Was Any Doubt

…That Hillary Clinton armed ISIS and other Muslim terror organizations while Secretary of State, Wikileaks has confirmed it.

Clinton took the lead role in organizing the so-called “Friends of Syria” (aka Al Qaeda/ISIS) to back the CIA-led insurgency for regime change in Syria.

Under oath Hillary Clinton denied she knew about the weapons shipments during public testimony in early 2013 after the Benghazi terrorist attack.

And all this, once again, begs the question of what the US Ambassador was actually doing in Benghazi, and the actual reason for his murder.

Selling Books is Like Alchemy

…Which is to say, I may never figure it out.

But, sometimes advertising in the right way can give you a bump. For months Shadow Hand Blues has been buried on about page # umpteen zillion or so at Amazon. Nobody bought it, because nobody knew it existed.

Virtual Pulp took advantage of an advertising special on Kindle Nation Daily. (It’s unlikely we’ll ever use Book Bub unless their prices get a whole lot less ridiculous.)

Then on May 29 SHB reached #60 in Mysteries>Private Investigators; #76 in Suspense>Political; # 68 in Historical/Suspense; and # 8,755 paid in the Kindle Store. (The rankings were actually a little better than that before I thought to take a screenshot.) Not bestseller status, of course, but it at least moved the book up out of the enormous slush pile for a hot second where browsing readers might actually find it.

And a few did. Sales spiked for one day. What’s nice is, since the promotion ended, it hasn’t slipped completely back into obscurity. Some E-Book sales are still trickling in, and it’s accumulating some KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) read, along with its prequel, Fast Cars and Rock & Roll, which is targeted at a much narrower niche audience. Maybe one or both will pick up some reviews, as well.

 

OOTP

Out of the Past

There are several different ideas about what film noir is and isn’t, and you can hear a lot of them on youtube.

The best interpretation of the French term would probably be phrased “dark cinema” in English. Here are some of the requirements as I learned them:

  • Shot in black & white.
  • Dark, moody lighting.
  • Made in the postwar years.
  • Featuring a femme fatale.
  • A very cynical outlook.

(Wow–sounds like a genre custom made for the red pill manosphere.)

This classic masterpiece written by Daniel Mainwaring and directed by Jacques Tourneur fits the criteria pretty well. Whatever someone’s chosen definition of film noir, Out of the Past is universally accepted.

This movie has much in common with The Maltese Falcon–another classic masterpiece I highly recommend (and the most I’ve liked Humphry Bogart in any flick).

Jeff Marcum (Robert Mitchum) is a tough private detective who comes off smart, is never at a loss for words and seems to have rock solid frame control. You would assume him to be an alpha…until he meets Kathie (Jane Greer).

Mitchum Greer 1
Historical day game–he thinks he’s acing it; but really he’s entangling himself in the web of a black widow.

He completely lets his frame crumble; places Kathie on a pedestal; falls for her lies and reverse game (I’ve never seen a reference in the manosphere to women using game…but they do, and here’s an example); double-crosses his client; flushes his career down the toilet; and ultimately has to go into hiding, assuming a new identity, after realizing he’s been used to help Kathie avoid the consequences of her thieving, murdering, deceptive behavior.

At the beginning of the film his name has already been changed to “Jeff Bailey” and he runs a gas station in a small town. He’s found another girl, too–a good one: honest, feminine, submissive…a keeper back then; a unicorn today.

Mitchum Greer
Behind every frustrated chump is a conniving woman.

Kirk Douglas plays Whit, who is ostensibly the villain of the story–but is he, really? He’s the one Kathie played for a chump before Jeff came along. He’s also the client that Jeff double-crossed because of her. One of his henchmen (for lack of a better term) just happened to drive through the small town one day and saw Jeff pumping gas.

 

Just like that, all Jeff’s sins and foolishness come out of the past to bite him hard, in the present.

The acting is solid all around, and the production values are just plain classy. Though it takes place in a bygone era (when you really could change identities and start a new life), I consider the story timeless.  However, the plot skeleton was transposed into the 1980s for the movie Against All Odds, which is also a good watch.

oathofoffice

Oathkeeper by Troy Grice

As the USA is fundamentally transformed into a third world police state, it’s hard not to notice that the police (local, state and federal) have been transforming before our eyes even faster. Depending on where you live, you might know a “good” cop or two. More often than not, though, police officers have been conditioned to be tools to carry out all sorts of missions except to serve and protect. My concern with this issue is what led me to slip this novel to the front of the line in my To Be Read queue.

Monte Turcott is a veteran recently returned to his home in Calumet County. He becomes a local hero when he stops a pointless shooting spree by killing the shooter. But the star of this novel is Sheriff Bear Ellis.

The irony in the behavior of government employees (from the White House down) is that they all are required to swear an oath to abide by the Constitution. Then they immediately set about violating every article and clause in it. Bear is a rarity in that he remembers his oath, and is convicted to keep it. But even though a county sheriff is theoretically accountable to the people of his county, and beholden to no higher official, Bear is under tremendous pressure from the jackbooted federal Gestapo (represented by the DEA in this case) to be a team player in the encroaching police state.

When the DEA raids the wrong house, killing Turcott’s wife, Bear finds himself caught in the middle of the struggle between the rule of law (to include due process) and the aspirations of the  alphabet soup Gestapo agencies. The situation is further complicated when the agent who killed the innocent woman is himself bumped off. There is no evidence against Turcott but the judge/jury/executioner Feds want to pin it on him anyway, and exact revenge.

If this sounds like a farfetched scenario, then you haven’t been paying attention. Yes, “law enforcement” is upside-down from what it was in the 1950s and earlier.

Grice did a good job getting inside the mind of a cop. Even the dying breed of “good” ones have been poisoned by relativistic rationale that puts loyalty to fellow LEOs above actually keeping their oaths. It must be severely difficult not to develop an “us vs. them” attitude regarding the people they are paid to serve and protect.

A very well-written novel, examining one little microcosm of what is happening/has happened to our republic.

P.S: None of the characters of this book belong to the official Oathkeepers organization.