Archive for Fighting

THE PAINTED MAN By Peter V. Brett – Reviewed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by stanleyriiks

I’ve been really getting into fast-paced, action packed SF recently, so it was a nice change to take on the more sedate pace of fantasy. Before I go any further I have to say I spent a great 544 pages with this book, this is the first book in a series that’s going to be absolutely epic. Almost the entire first book is an introduction, building up the three main characters of Arlan, Rojer, and Leesha as they grow from childhood to adulthood, dealing with their various separate dramas and are brought together (late in the book) by circumstance. You see the world they live in lives in fear of the dark. When the sun sets corelings (demons) come out of the earth and eat and kill humans, and have done for the past three hundred years. Only wards (ancient writing) learnt only by a precious few can be used to protect them, and only then if the wards are perfect. Any imperfection will be found by the demons.

The world in which the story is set is a tired, dangerous place, humans have mostly given up fighting, instead prepared to hide and live a small, simple life, without travel, without night, and with danger just outside their warded walls and doors. There’s so much to the world that Brett has created that it would take more space than we have here to describe it all, suffice to say, it is brilliantly realised, with a nicely tied-in religion, a wide range of characters, and purposeful travel throughout the known lands to give us a nice guide tour, with much opportunity for expansion.

The only problem is that most of the book feels like an introduction or prologue. We don’t get to meet the Painted Man, as such, of the title until near the end of the book. There’s so much information on the characters that they do stick with you, but at what cost? There’s some action, and the final battle is great, but it takes it’s time to get there.

This is a difficult book to review alone, as it’s obviously not meant to be read individually. This is most definitely the first part of a mammoth series, which will no doubt be spectacularly entertaining and brilliant, but without the next book it’s so difficult to tell. A very good first instalment in the series, but I find myself reserving judgement until more titles in the series are available, although I will definitely be ordering the second book in the series very soon. (The cliff-hanger ending is ridiculously exciting!)


Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by stanleyriiks

This review is printed with the permissions of Morpheus Tales Publishing. The review originally appears in the April issue of the Morpheus Tales Supplement.

It’s not often you finish a book sweating, panting and in need of a shower. Andy Remic writes such books, exhilarating thrill rides, the perfect combination of excitement and danger. Remic’s books are not read, they are experienced, and when you get out the other side you feel like you’ve just parachuted yourself out the back of a plane or ridden a motorbike at a hundred and twenty miles an hour down a motorway. It feels like you’ve just gone three five-minute rounds (MMA style) with a huge gorilla and you’re lucky to be alive. But in a good way!

Serial Killers Incorporated follows Callaghan, a hard drinking, hard smoking, hard fucking, hard living photo-journalist for a tabloid. When he and his partner get a tip-off of a hot story they don’t expect the skinned body of a woman with her legs cut off, but that’s what they find. And there is a note to Callaghan on the course. The police want to arrest them both and interrogate them despite the evidence proving their innocence, but then Callaghan has had some run-ins with the DI and they’re not exactly friends. Callaghan’s girlfriend is also proving a problem. Or rather her Romanian gun-runner husband is about to become a problem if he finds out Callaghan is fucking his wife. Then another tip-off sends them into a dark, desolate warehouse with another body awaiting them.

The first hundred or so pages set up the characters and the scenarios, but it’s once the action starts that this book really takes off. There’s plenty of action, including multiple murders, shootouts, fighting, and car-chases.

The warehouse scene is suitable frightening and will send chills down even the hardiest of spines. Even Callaghan becomes somewhat likeable, despite being a selfish bastard.

The climax is a bit… weird… But it works because Remic’s prose style punches you in the face until you submit. Here, unlike his Clockwork Vampire series, he seems even less inhibited and more in your face than normal, which is no bad thing, but does take some getting used to. There’s not the subtlety of the Clockwork Vampire series, this is stark and brutal, and works fine for a dark, noir crime-thriller.

There are a few niggling typos and a least one continuity issue, but with a book this size (400 plus pages) it’s hardly surprising, and all can be forgiven when a book is this much FUN!

Remic has produced another fine example of how to thrill a reader. This crime thriller is dark and nasty, and that’s what makes it so good. Remic is a no-holds-barred writer and Serial Killer Incorporated is a no-holds-barred novel; massively entertaining, scary, exciting, and brutally nasty. I defy you to read it and not have a grin on your face when you’re finished.

Fighting (2009)

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.


This “Rocky for the myspace generation” is the biggest pile of pap I’ve seen in ages. I should have been alerted to the danger of watching this when I realised I was the only person in the entire cinema on a Saturday.

The story follows a two-bit hustler (Terence Howard going through the motions) who discovers a street kid, Shawn (Channing Tatum), who can fight, and basically takes him to the top of the street-fighting pile. There are four fights, the first of which is won by using a nearby water fountain, the second fight is ended by Shawn’s friend kicking his opponent and another friend being shot in the ear. Finally, the third fight arrives, and Shawn get seriously beat up before he eventually wins. The final fight is with an actual professional fighter, a mixed-martial artist and former medal-winning wrestler, and former team-mate of Shawny.

So, not only are we expected to believe that this dumb kid can fight his way to the top of New York’s bare-knuckle fighting championship in only three fights, but we’re also expected to believe that a professional fighter with his entire career at stake will take on a high-school rival in a fight on a rooftop. Also, anyone who’s seen The Ultimate Fighter will know that these guys are athletes and they train hard, yet Shawn does two minute of shadow boxing and a couple of push-ups on the subway and he’s ready to take on the best!

They also throw in a love-interest in the gorgeous form of Zulay Henao to tempt in more viewers. The only thing of any substance in the film, although the love-interest thread shows up the serious acting deficiencies of our lead (Tatum).

The best bit of the film, like trying to find a diamond in an Alaska-sized heap of shite, is the relationship that  develops between the young street kids, and not nearly enough time is given to this.

It’s not only the ridiculous story-line that doesn’t work. The fight-scenes are disjointed and ineffective, neither brutal enough nor exciting. In these days of the Ultimate Fighting Championships we need a gloss and slickness to our violence that is just lacking here. How can a film called Fighting, about fighting, be so bad at depicting fighting?

At one point in the film Shawn is all bruised in the morning and then miraculously healed in the evening. This just another reason to hate this film.

Rubbish of the lowest order, avoidlike the plague. Not even worth renting the dvd.