Rocky Balboa – Trailer

Uploaded to Youtube by: oldhollywoodtrailers

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Rocky Balboa – Trailer

Rocky V – Trailer

Uploaded to Youtube by: YarcoTV

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Rocky V – Trailer

Rocky IV – Trailer

Uploaded by: YacovTV

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Rocky IV – Trailer

Rocky III – Trailer

Uploaded to Youtube by: oldhollywoodtrailers

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Rocky III – Trailer

Comeback

Author: Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (Reprint edition)
Published: 1997

I have a hand-written list on the fridge of items that I should own, but don’t. Mostly it’s mainstream films that I have never bothered to pick up. They are easy to find, and often turn up on TV. Generally, these are the items that I am almost embarrassed to say that I don’t have a copy of. For example, I do not own any of the Terminator films. Now I love the Terminator. I went and saw the original about four times at various cinemas across the state. But I don’t have a copy of any of them (I, II, III or Salvation). But I have no doubt they will come into my life again, and at that time I will cross them off the list.

Funnily enough, there is only one book on the list (and it is still on the list). It is The Hunter, by Richard Stark. Point Blank is one of my favourite films, and I find it embarrassing that I have never read the book. But I always keep my eye out for it. I know in this modern world, it is easy enough to get on the web – but I am kind of old fashioned when it comes to books. I like scrounging through second hand book shops. Anyway, the thing is, I have never found a copy.

But, the other day, in the centre-court of my local shopping-town there was a book sale, and one of the titles going cheap was Comeback. I almost didn’t pick it up – but then thought, ‘David – you’ve had The Hunter on your list for so long now, why don’t you just get Comeback. Try Richard Stark out. See if you like him. If you do, then continue to search for The Hunter.

So that’s how Comeback came into my life – and my introduction to the character Parker (He doesn’t have a first name.). And I thought it was a really good book. The first three-quarters where damn good, it is only towards the end, that the story sort of fizzles out. But talking to fellow Melbournite, Andrew Nette, from Pulp Curry – a man well versed in all things criminal, and a man who knows his Parker – he suggests go to the start of the series, written in the early 1960s. Read the early books. And I will.

But today, let’s briefly look at Comeback, which was the first Parker novel in 23 years (the last being Butcher’s Moon in 1974). Parker is a career criminal, and as the story opens, he has teamed up with George Liss, Ed Mackey to rob William Archibald. Archibald is a big time TV evangelist, and he holds Christian Crusades at football stadiums, where his flock attend and hand over large amounts of cash in donations.

Parker and his team intend to relieve Archibald of this money. And they have help too. A guy on the inside, named Tom Carmody. Carmody is actually a good-guy, not a crook. He has simply become frustrated with Archibald’s lifestyle. That is to say, Archibald doesn’t use the money for the betterment of his flock and society. He uses the money to live high on the hog.

So Carmody teams up with some crooks to teach Archibald a lesson. And Carmody intends to use his share, to do some actual good. As you probably can imagine, Carmody, is way over his head. And during the robbery is knocked out by Liss.

Parker, Liss and Mackey make their getaway, and hole up waiting for the heat to die down. But Liss is the type who doesn’t play well with others. He tries to steal all the loot for himself, and shoot Parker and Mackey. Luckily Parker had the foresight to unload all the weapons beforehand.

Liss flees, rightfully fearing retribution from his colleagues. But he doesn’t go too far. He didn’t get what he came for – the money. And so he watches and waits, looking for an opportunity to step into the picture once more and claim, what he believes is rightfully his.

As I alluded to up above, the majority of the book is fast paced and gripping to read. It is only the final physical confrontation between Liss and Parker that lets the story down. It is not helped by the fact, there is no doubt that Parker will win, so there’s a lack concern about his fate – which is a shame because the setup is so good.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still recommend this book – but if you are like me, and are new to the world of Parker, then maybe we should go back to the beginning and take it from the top.

Comeback

Winter Chill

Author: Jon Cleary
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 1995
Book No: 12

I don’t know if Jon Cleary is still alive, but if he is, he’d be 95 years old. His Australian crime fiction legacy is staggering. Actually that statement probably is unfair, as not all of his books are crime thrillers. The first Cleary book that I read, would have been High Road to China when I was in high school. It was much later that I would discover Scobie Malone.

I have only read three Malone stories, however whenever I see one I don’t have in a second hand book shop, I always pick it up. The first I read was Winter Chill, which I picked up in the late 1990s (this post is more of a reminisce, than a review).

Two of Cleary’s Malone stories have been made into films. The easiest to track down is Nowhere To Run, starring Rod Taylor as Malone. You may also know the film by the title, The High Commissioner, which is also the name of the book on which the story was loosely based.

The other film is Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson, which is currently MIA on DVD (or Bluray). However, on a recent post over at Andrew Nette’s Pulp Curry, in the comments, a person has done us all a great favour by highlighting that the film is on Youtube under the title, Murder at the Opera House.

Here’s the Link. Thank you TH.

But, back to Winter Chill – in the mid 1990s, like now, I was very much interested in Australian genre fiction (and films), and knowing a long running series of thrillers had been written, featuring a Aussie cop, that I had not sampled, and had virtually no knowledge of, was in my mind, criminal.

As I alluded to above, I joined the series quite late. Winter Chill was the twelfth book in the series, and the fourth in what was known as the Four Seasons books – the other three being Bleak Spring, Dark Summer, and Autumn Maze.

The story begins with the president of the American Bar Association (law, rather than alcohol), Orville Brame, found dead on the Sydney monorail. Scobie Malone is woken at an un-Godly hour to investigate. Brame is in town, with another 1000 lawyers, for a conference. As you can imagine, this sets the scene for quite a complicated case. It gets even more complicated, when the security guard who found Brame, is found dead in Sydney Harbour. Coupled with the investigation, Malone’s wife Lisa, has a serious health problem, which throws his home life into turmoil.

The story is self contained, and you do not have to have read any other Malone stories to enjoy and appreciate Winter Chill. However, as it is a series, there are characters and plot threads that follow on from previous books. For example, Malone met his wife, Lisa in London, when she was working for the Australian High Commissioner, John Quentin – as featured in the book The High Commissioner (1966). Therefore if you have the time and money to track down the previous stories in the series, and read them in order, I would suggest you would gain a more satisfying reading experience. But I have not done this myself, and I had no problems – so a casual reader would have no difficulty jumping into the Malone series.

From the blurb:

Concluding the acclaimed Four Seasons tour of Sydney’s urban underside, the latest Scobie Malone investigation introduces death’s winter chill to the Detective Inspector’s own front door.

3:30am. The Sydney monorail performs its endless circuit like a pale metal caterpillar. All for the benefit of one dead passenger. Elsewhere in the city’s bleak midwinter, Darling Harbour buzzes to the sound of one thousand American lawyers attending an international conference. And that means one thousand opinions as to who killed their president.

Two bodies later, the Homicide Unit has lost one of its own. But establishing the connection is like trying to stick labels on a barrelful of eels. The more Malone fillets the heart of the city’s legal profession, the more he cuts into an intrigue of international proportions…

Cleary, like Peter Corris, should be an Australian literary institution. Every home should have at least one of his books – and if you don’t, then you should rush straight to your local bookshop and rectify the situation immediately.

Winter Chill

King of the Outback: Deleted Scene

I am proud to announce that King of the Outback should now be available.

It is available as an eBook for Kindle or as a Paperback for those who like to hold a physical copy in their hands.

I found writing a book can be a little like making a film. Sometimes you have to make cuts, chopping out a section that just doesn’t work. Or even sometimes, a section that works, but doesn’t serve the story.

The narrator of King of the Outback is an American named Laurie McCann, who settled in Australia after being injured in World War II. In an early draft, I wrote a flashback prologue that showed how he came to be injured.

The problem was, McCann, while being a very active participant in the story, he is not the hero. This heroic detour into his past was not necessary and only served to muddy the plot. Furthermore, as a boxing story, I really wanted to start the story in the ring – even if it was only a brief flash-forward to a fight that happens much later in the story.

But for your enjoyment, and amusement, below is the deleted prologue.

Prologue

USS Hammerhead, Arifura Sea
December 1944

Laurie McCann opened the hatch and walked out on to the deck. The air was clean and fresh, unlike the choked fumes and stale heat of the engine room below. The USS Hammerhead was sailing into Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea to restock supplies and rotate some of the injured crew. The last few months had been pretty hairy with the Japanese fleet pressing down hard through Indonesia towards Australia.

McCann walked to the rail, leaning on it and staring out to sea watching the white caps. It was good to be above deck for a while. A brief while anyway, before catching a few hours sleep. He was dead tired after spending the past ten hours in the engine room as first assistant to the chief engineer. It wasn’t a role he was suited to, but when the commissioned first assistant was killed in action, someone had to step up to the plate and do the job.

“Looks like you could do with a coffee,” said a voice behind him.

McCann turned, and faced the man behind the voice. It was First Officer William Grant, known as ‘Wild Bill’ to the crew. Wild Bill was tall, with tanned weathered skin, and a big smile, with teeth so white that they were blinding. He was also one of the best officers in the fleet. The Captain was a good man, but he really lucked out when Grant was assigned as his first officer. Grant held the ship and the crew together like glue. Grant held out the enameled metal coffee cup. McCann declined.

“I’ll pass. It’ll only keep me awake. I have another shift in four hours. I need the sleep,” McCann said.

Bill nodded in understanding. “Well, don’t let me keep you.”

That was enough. It was time to hit the bunk. McCann turned and starting walking along the deck to the companionway.

The crew heard it before they saw it; the whine of the engine as the Jap Zero dived at the Hammerhead from out of the sun. As it swooped down, it strafed the deck with bullets. Grant pressed himself tight against the hatchway, extracting his sidearm, and in what was essentially a futile gesture, started firing at the aggressor above.

McCann threw himself to the deck and rolled out of harm’s way as a line of bullets stitched the deck. Then he sprung to his feet and ran towards the stern, as the plane wheeled overhead, the pilot preparing for another strike. The deck was was pock mark with bullet holes from the previous run. McCann followed the trail to where the big twenty millimetre cannon was mounted. Gunnery officer, Archie Clemment, lay sprawled next to the weapon, with his glassy eyes wide open, and his chest a bloody mess. Archie had been a good man. The Zero had stitched him up on the first run.

McCann stepped up to the twenty millimetre, and turned the turret, aiming at the Zero as it swooped across the ship again, running down the port side. He loosed a string of fire at the aircraft, but they trailed off behind the assailing aircraft. This wasn’t his usual seat, and he wasn’t used to aiming in front of his target.

The Zero flew out of range again, twisting into the sun, making it hard to spot. McCann swung the cannon around and waited. He had lost sight of the Jap, but he knew that he would make another pass. The sound was deafening as the plane flew out of the sun again. McCann opened up. This time the plane was coming at him head on, rather than from the side. He didn’t have to aim in front, judging speed and distance. It was almost as if the gunfight happened in slow motion. He kept peppering away at the plane as the twin steams of machine gun fire tore up the deck from the Zero. The bullets were chewing their way towards the cannon where he was seated. But he couldn’t take cover. It was either him or the Jap.

The housing of the cannon sparked as the stream of bullets hit home. Three bullets caught him in the leg. The explosion of pain was instantaneous, but he didn’t release his finger from the trigger of the cannon. He followed the Zero round, dousing it in a deadly hail of lead. He felt dizzy, but kept firing, and he would keep firing for as long as he could.

There was no sign that the plane was in trouble at all, not even a puff of black smoke. But suddenly, it blew up; a bright orange fireball lit up the sky. The explosion shook the ship, the concussion wave knocking men off their feet. The blackened twisted remains of the Japanese fighter hung in the air for a second, then plummeted from the sky into the sea below.

However Laurie McCann never saw this. By this time he had lost consciousness and now lay slumped at the base of the gun beside Archie Clemment.

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

King of the Outback: Deleted Scene

The Bod Squad (1974)

Country: Hong Kong / Germany
Director: Ernst Hofbauer, Chih-Hung Kuei
Starring: Hua Yueh, Hui-Ling Liu, Sonja Jeannine, Diane Drube, Gillian Bray, Tamara Elliot, Deborah Ralls, Hsieh Wang
Music: Fu-ling Wang
Original Title: Yang chi
AKA: Enter the Seven Virgins, Virgins of the Seven Seas, Karate, Küsse, blonde Katzen

Do you like Shaw Brothers swordplay movies? Do you like German nudie movies from the early 1970s? Have you ever wondered what type of film you’d get if you crossed those two styles of film? Well wonder no more, because The Bod Squad is just such a picture.

The plot is wafer thin. As the movie starts, seven women – and as it matters to the plot – five of them being virgins (the two oldest girls have already been deflowered) have been captured by pirates. They were traveling on a ship from England to Australia, because Australia has a shortage of attractive women, and the seven beauties on the boat were to address this imbalance. I can assure you, I am not making this up – that was the reason stated for their journey. I can also assure you Australia does not have a shortage of attractive women – but I digress.

The women are brought to a coastal village where the pirates live when they are not pirating, pillaging, and raping. At this point, you’re probably wondering if the pirates are such rapists, why haven’t they raped their prisoners? Believe me, they want to. And a few even attempt it, only to be cut down by their superiors. You see, the head pirate wants to sell the ‘pure’ girls for a healthy profit. But first they must be cleaned up, which means gratuitous scenes of the girls bathing and being washed. Then they are to be trained in the art of making love – the various techniques, and positions required to please a man. And they are taught to dance.

But unbeknown to the pirates, the girls are also taught Kung-Fu, which of course is a pretty handy skill to have when you are being held prisoner by a band of ruffians. Despite the films story-line, this film is pretty much played as a comedy (at least towards the end), where the scantily-clad girls start to kick the bad guys asses.

In some ways, The Bod Squad could be considered a cinematic template or antecedent for last years Suckerpunch, which has a remarkably similar story – although stylistically miles apart. Both are stories of women imprisoned, subjugated, and trained to be sexual playthings for men, but while the women are surviving the abuse, they are secretly plotting to escape. The big difference between the films being, The Bod Squad has no CGI, but more nudity and Kung Fu.Depending on your personal taste, take that as a plus or a minus.

Here’s the German trailer – NSFW.

The Bod Squad (1974)

The Naked Earth

Author: Heinz G. Konsalik
Publisher: Panther Books
Published: 1961
Pictured, 1962 paperback edition

Just look at that cover art. What does it say to you? To me, it looks like a story set in a Nazi concentration camp, wherein the female prisoners are subjected to all sorts of medical experiments – mostly of a sexual nature. The girl is disrobing, while the doctor and the Nazi officer leer at her. I imagine (you can’t see it in the illustration) in the Nazi’s right hand is a whip or a riding crop. This girl is in for a rough old time, and is about to be subjugated to horrors that we can not possibly even imagine. You can plainly see why I was drawn to reading material such as this – sorry it’s a character flaw.

But you know the old saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover. In this case it is very much true. The swastika covered The Naked Earth, is in fact an English translation of a German book called Der Arzt von Stalingrad(1956) – the Doctor of Stalingrad, and it is really the story of German prisoners in Stalingrad P.O.W. camp, and the medical team who strive in harsh conditions, with little or no equipment, to treat his patients in a humane way. It is a German equivalent of Weary Dunlop’s story (Australian readers will know to whom I am referring).

So here’s the blurb from inside the book:

The grim and horrifying background of this book is the giant prisoner-of-war camp at Stalingrad, with it thousands of German prisoners. It is the tragic story of a band of medical men who, in the icy winters and under primitive conditions, with insufficient instruments, cut off from all medical supplies, almost starving, without hope for themselves, knew only one duty – to help others.

Many people have co-operated on this work, including former German prisoners of war whose experiences the author has collected during years of research to produce this book, written in the terse, hard, and realistic language the subject demands.

As you have read, the cover, and the actual story content do not match at all, and I am sure that those who bought the book seeking slightly perverted lascivious thrills were sadly disappointed. Instead they got a piece of reasonable literature, that told a war story from the perspective of the other side.

The Naked Earth

Champion: Danny Trejo (2011)

Director: Joe Eckardt
Featuring: Danny Trejo, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Steve Buscemi, Robert Rodriguez
Music: Jared Lipof, Mark Migdal

Champion is a candid documentary about the life of actor Danny Trejo. You would recognise Trejo instantly, since the late 1980’s he has been appearing in movies, usually as the fearsome bad guy. He has appeared in Dusk Till Dawn, Machete, Predators, Con Air, Desperado, xXx, Anaconda, – all in all, over 100 movies.

But his life wasn’t always that of a Hollywood star. He grew up tough and hard. At 8 years old, he tried marijuana. By 10, he was arrested for the first time. By 12, he was on heroin. All through his adolescence he was in and out of juvenile institutions, having been arrested around 20 times.

Primarily it was his Uncle Gilbert who led him astray. Gilbert was only 6 years old than Trejo, and whatever Gilbert did, Trejo would soon follow. Trejo suggested that if Gilbert had been an athlete, then he would have followed suit. But Gilbert was a hoodlum, and so to became Danny Trejo.

However, Gilbert did teach Trejo to box, a skill he put to good use. Later, when he was in San Quentin, he won the Lightweight and Welterweight titles.

Outside of prison, many years later, it was his boxing skills that kick started his acting career. Up until then he had been working as a drug counselor, helping out kids with drug problems. One of the people he was counseling called him up one night, fearful that he was going to ‘use’. This young man said that his work place was heavily into drugs – and would Trejo accompany him the next day for support. Trejo agreed.

It so happens that the young man was a P.A. on the film, Runaway Train, starring Jon Voight and Eric Roberts. Trejo arrives on the prison set, and is immediately asked if he would like to be an extra.

Then when it is discovered that he could box, he is seconded into training Eric Roberts for the boxing scenes early in the movie. Trejo and Roberts work together so well, Trejo becomes Roberts opponent in the film. And the rest, as they say, is history. Trejo has been working solidly on movies ever since.

Champion is an interesting documentary, and Trejo’s story is a fascinating one. However, if the film has a flaw – and remember we are talking about a man who is primarily known for his acting roles – then it is the lack of footage from the films he has appeared in. There are a few clips from the Spy Kids films, but they don’t really do justice to the film career that Trejo has had.

Ultimately, Trejo’s story is a human drama, showing how he overcome adversity – and turned all the negative aspects of his life into positive points. In that respect, Champion is an inspirational, if somewhat at times preachy, drama.

Here’s the trailer – uploaded to Youtube by chuckyi10

Champion: Danny Trejo (2011)