Carrion Part Eight: Nobody Nowhere Doing Nothing

Kane arrives in the first town to the north, the aptly named Dry Creek. The place is mostly made of houses that surround the general store which he enters. Inside is an old woman standing at the counter. Her entire face sagged, including her wrinkled cheeks, depressed frown and tired eyes. Kane looks to her and asks “You got ammo?”

“Over here.” She groans.

“Where?”

“At the counter.”

“You always this rude?” Kane asks as he approaches the counter.

“Well who else are you gonna go to?” Kane knows she’s right. She asks “What do you need?”

“.45.”

“I’ll see what we got.”

The clerk approaches a locker behind her, which she opens. Kane waits as she checks the boxes. Eventually she comes out with an old box of rounds, which she says “That’s it. You can take ’em.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. They probably don’t work anyway.”

“Alright. Say did two men come here? One bald with a goatee and scar. The other has brown hair, a square jaw and blue eyes.”

“No.”

“You sure?”

“I don’t see many faces, and remember every one I see.”

“Okay.”

Kane grabs the box and leaves. Outside he sees that self-righteous doctor prick leaning against his car. He growls “You again?”

“Sure is. The car stands out.”

“You come here to preach?”

“I ain’t a preacher boy.”

“Then fuck off.”

“What you running from boy?”

“I ain’t running from anything. I’m running towards those bastards who did this too me.” He growls, pointing at his face.

“You know they only took so much. The rest you gave up. You’re nothing. You’re a nobody who’s gotten nowhere in the pursuit of nothing.”

“What should I do then, become a doctor? Be a patron fucking saint?”

“You’re right, none of those things confirm your ego. You’re the greatest gunfighter that’s ever been. The church, the bar, the caravan park, Jackson. You’re one bad mother fucker aren’t you boy?”

“Yeah, so maybe you should stay out of the way.” Kane snaps.

“Never seen you attack with words before. You wanna add one more notch on your belt?”

“Not today.”

“Not even Kid Lighting?” Silas states. Kane shoots him a puzzled look. Kid Lighting was suppose to be dead, and so was Big Thunder. Silas had told him so. Kane asks “Wait, he’s dead?”

“He died. You brought him back out of necessity. Me and my brother use to run around causing all sorts of chaos just like you. It needed to stop, but he didn’t see it that way. Turns out I was faster.”

“So you shot you’re own brother?”

“Correct.”

“Why?”

“Because gunslingers are only good for the birds they provide carrion for, no one else. You could’ve been so much more. You’re just too stubborn to see it.”

Kane grips his gun, proving his stubbornness. Silas locks eyes with the boy as he reaches into his pocket. Both men draw. Turns out Silas is faster. The round strikes like lighting, ripping through Kane’s belly. Kane gets his gun in hand and squeezes the trigger. The click, declaring the empty chamber is as loud as thunder to him.

He still remains standing, clutching his wound. Silas aims at his knees and shoots both of them. The bullets tear through the metal joints of Kane’s mechanical legs, making them worthless. Both men know he can’t do anything. If his gun had ammo Kane wouldn’t have spent so much time talking. There aren’t any hospitals around here. It’ll be a cruel death, either from bleeding or infection, the only kind of punishment Kane will receive.

Kane rolls over on his back, and looks up to the birds hovering above, waiting for the last meal he’ll ever provide them.

 

 

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Carrion Part Seven: Late

“I should’ve known better.” Thought Silas as he looked at the aftermath of the gunfight at the caravan park. “The boy will never step off the path. He only knows one thing: violence.”

Silas saw the grief in the face of those who had lost loved ones. They looked to him like he was a hero of some sort. They’ll never know that he’s part of the reason Kane got here in the first place.

He walked towards Sheriff Lucius’ body. His head was a deformed mess now pouring out a mix of sickening gore. The Sheriff got what he deserved and he was glad he had struck him down.  Unfortunately the boy was still alive.

Silas headed back to his vehicle. The boy only had one option, to go north to Jackson. Not much else out that way for a long while. Silas knew he can’t be late again. He can’t miss again. He can’t make any more mistakes.

The barren road allowed for speedy driving. Silas saw the sheriff’s pickup outside of the city. He was already behind. He headed into town and found the nearest dive bar which he entered. Inside was a lonely young barmaid who’s earning her tips with a skimpy outfit. Silas approached the bar so the woman asked “What can I get ya?”

“Just a water.”

“Sure. That’ll be one dollar.”

“Will an old dollar count?”

“Sure sweetie.” She said with a forced smile. Silas pulled out his wallet and pulled out ten dollars, before saying “Make it ten if you can tell me about a man called Kane.”

“No, just the one.”

“Okay then.”

“Who’s this Kane, you’re boyfriend?” A man at the bar asked.

“No, he’s all yours.” Silas replied.

“What, you wanna fight?”

“No, those days are over.” Silas sighed. There was no point in spending his time trading insults and fists. He decided to get up when the man said “Yeah you better fuck off old man.”

Silas thought back to when men wouldn’t dare say a thing like that to him or his brother. Those days however were long gone. Now he’s just a broken down man chasing a boy on a wild goose chase.

* * * *

The sirens wake Silas from his slumber. There were multiple cruisers. Only the boy could raise hell worthy of this response. Silas has a sinking feeling he’s late again. The cruisers lead him to the Greyson Apartments.

Silas watches old man Greyson being assisted out of the building. He cries “The burned man. He’s going north. He’s going north. Stop him.”

The responding police officers rush to calm him, but Silas had heard enough. He has to go north, and now. He cannot be late again.

 

I Have Been Reluctantly Dead (To the Internet) – Update #3

Dear Reader,

As some of you may have notice, I haven’t made a post in over two weeks. The reason for that is my computer died. Well to be more specific, my graphics card died. I had to get a new one which is now working just fine.

The good news is in my absence I have been able to finish off my Carrion series on paper, so expect that to be finished soon. I also intend to talk about the process of writing the series and influences.

Beyond that, I don’t have anything to really say. I’m glad to be back and hopefully I’ll be posting regularly again.

Regards

Your Writer

Marvel’s The Defenders – Now With 75% Less Iron Fist

Dear Reader,

I’ve been following the Marvel’s Defenders series ever since I first got Netflix. Hell, Daredevil was the first TV series I’ve followed since My Name Is Earl. I enjoyed both the first season of Daredevil and Jessica Jones a lot but I wasn’t big on Daredevil Season 2 or Luke Cage. That being said Iron Fist is the only series in this universe I flat out hated. I find the character of Danny Rand to be very bland.

In Defenders, the Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Kysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colton) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) team up to fight The Hand, a Illuminati-esque criminal group that are seeking immortality after using up all of ‘the substance’ to revive Elektra (Elodie Yung) who is also part of some prophecy.

Honestly I’ve never liked the Hand as an antagonist. Compared to Kingpin or The Punisher from Daredevil, Kilgrave from Jessica Jones or even Cottonmouth in Luke Cage, they just feel bland. Their motives are cliche and basic and I feel their scale compromises the ‘street-level’ crime fighting that was originally established.

This season did nothing to change that. Sigourney Weaver was fine acting wise but her character wasn’t menacing or interesting on any level.  The arch with Elektra and Daredevil was incredibly predictable and honestly disappointing. None of the other leaders of the hand were interesting either and overall I didn’t really care about them in any way.

Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are still likable characters, but I struggle to buy Danny Rand as the Iron Fist at all. This isn’t the fault of Finn Jones, but of the writers. Honestly Danny Rand still comes across as a whinny millennial and I don’t believe he could have ever become the Iron Fist in the first place. Being fair it probably doesn’t help that his origin series was really weak, but I’m still not on board with him.

The supporting cast that have proved themselves in previous series are still good here. Rosario Dawson as Claire kills it like always. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) proves to be a much more interesting a likable character than her love interest, Danny Rand, and even though I doubt it will happen, I still want a series based around Stick (Scott Glenn). That being said sometimes these side characters can bog the pacing down a bit.

The fight scenes were okay, but it’s not on the same level as Daredevil. At times there’s so much going on that you start losing track of what’s happening as it cuts between characters. There’s also times where multiple battles are happening and sometimes you feel like your missing out on the exciting stuff. Finally, I just didn’t feel a sense of urgency with the fights. I mean they looked neat for the most part but that’s about it. I know Daredevil has set the bar high for fight scenes, but this wouldn’t be such a big deal if I more invested in what was going on, like I was with previous series.

Overall The Defenders was okay. I didn’t care much for the story, but the fights and snappy dialog were enough to keep me entertained. If you’ve been following the previous series you’ll probably still enjoy this. Here’s hoping The Punisher will be a lot better.

Regards

Your Writer

Prisoners – Criminally Underrated

Dear Reader,

Prisoners is a crime drama directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) about the abduction of two little girls, one of them being the daughter of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) who takes matters into his own hands when initial suspect Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is released from police custody. Meanwhile Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) pursues various leads whilst looking for the girls.

This movie is filled with brilliant performances. Hugh Jackman is absolutely fantastic as the distraught father of one of the kidnap victims. The way this character evolves is absolutely fascinating to watch. Jake Gyllenhall is also great as the restless detective.  He’s able to bring a sense of narcissism without ever becoming too unlikable. On top of that the police training he received during End of Watch is evident when he’s searching buildings. Finally, Jake brings authority to any scene when he has to boss around other officers.

The supporting cast is also fantastic, with the standouts being Paul Dano as the initial suspect Alex Jones and Terrance Howard and Viola Davis as the distraught parents of the other missing daughter. Even the child actors who play the little girls, Erin Gerasimovich and Kyla-Drew, give convincing performances which isn’t always the case with such young performers.

Nothing in Prisoners feels unrealistic. The family life portrayed in the initial scenes feel genuine and none of the characters are over-eccentric. Dialog is engaging whilst still feeling natural. On top of that you understand why characters make mistakes or do things that aren’t socially acceptable.

The cinematography by Roger Deakins is also very well done, with a cold and subdued look to it which is just perfect for the tone. The lighting at night also feels very natural. I’d argue Sicario does some more interesting things with lighting in certain scenes, but otherwise I’d have no ‘faults’ with how this movie was shot.

If I had any complaints it would be the ending, and even then those complaints would be extremely pedantic and by no means ruin this movie. Some might not feel it has a lot of replay value

Prisoners is an intense, realistic crime drama that certainly deserves more recognition. The performances are brilliant and despite a lengthy run time of two and a half hours, it never feels overly slow. If you haven’t seen this one I’d highly recommend it.

Regards

Your Writer

Carrion Part Six: Greyson

Kane gets on the road as soon as possible. He knows that he won’t last long in the desert without any food or water. He needs to get back to where this all began. The city where he’d met his employer: Jackson.

He hopes Jackson is close. The roads almost seem aimless at times. The desert rarely offers landmarks, if any at all. Just a barren road with barren land. Finally, after a seemingly endless amount of miles, a sign appears. Jackson 39 miles.

The Sheriff’s car finally gives, just as he enters Jackson. Out of all the things that could’ve gone wrong this night a broken down car wasn’t too bad. Acquiring a new vehicle might prove to be problematic but for now Kane has other things on his mind.

He walks down the streets of Jackson, which had managed to stand throughout the Collapse whilst it’s citizens fell into rioting and chaos, the scars of which still remain in the form of the occasional burnt out building and broken window. His destination is the Greyson apartments, where his employer had allowed him to live. The room’s might not be considered fancy by pre-Collapse standards, but it had a bed, a kitchen and a TV so in the post-Collapse world it’s somewhat luxurious. Mr. Greyson had manage to weasel himself into a comfortable position where all he had to do was sit in his penthouse and wait for all the money to come in.

Inside Kane grabs his Undercover .38 snub nose revolver and spare phone he’d left there. Right now he figures it’s best contact his employer, although not at this hour. Mr. Greyson will most likely be angry to find out he’d failed, no need to wake him up to tell him the bad news.

Sleep is not an option. His mind’s not ready for rest. There’s nothing left to do but waste the hours on TV. Everything had gone wrong. The Sheriff’s dead, and even he was taking advantage of Kane, it was still a job and a job meant money, which meant survival. On top of that he’s lost three limbs and almost had his face burned off. There are only so many times a man can get lucky.

The re-runs of old dramas from the pre-Collapse era run their course and Kane eventually gives in to his body’s need for sleep, if only for an hour. Once rested, he realizes the sun has finally come up, so he decides to finally give Mr. Greyson the bad news over the phone. He answers with “Who is this?”

It’s Kane.”

Jeez, I’ve been trying to contact you all week. What the hell happened?”

It went bad. John and Caleb tried to kill me and managed to kill Vincent.”

Shit. So where’s the package?”

Gone.”

Dammit.”

I can track them down. Just give me their information.”

Mr. Greyson sighs before saying “I can’t afford to keep you employed.”

What?”

They’re long gone by now. It’s best we just cut our losses.”

I’m not asking for pay. I’m just want the information.”

Why?”

They took something from me, that I’ll never get back.”

Look, those two are long gone by now. I’ll call you if I have any work, but don’t hold your breath.”

Kane hangs up his phone and throws it against the wall. How could Mr. Greyson just let this slide? That package was apparently worth a small fortune. Kane realizes he’s on his own. If he wishes to find Caleb and John he’ll have to do it himself.

He heads to John’s room first. Maybe he left a clue or some sort. After giving the door a good kick, he’s enters. Inside flips couches and mattresses, throws pictures off the wall and opens every cupboard. Anything to find a shred of evidence, but there was nothing. The room is spotless. He has nothing to go on. Not here anyway. Kane heads to Caleb’s room and repeats the process, but to no avail. The only things they’d left Kane was a disfigured face and a burning desire for revenge he cannot satisfy.

That’s when two men enter the room. Both had shotguns in hand, and shirts that read ‘Security’. They are part of Greyson’s personal security detail. Kane looks at them and growls “What is it?”

You’ve been causing a disturbance, bothering the local residents. Mr. Greyson has asked you to leave.” One of the security guards says.

Kane groans before standing up. Not like he’s going to do much against two men with shotguns in hand. Not immediately any way. One of them approaches him and says “You’ll also have to surrender your weapon. We’ll give it back to you once you are off the premises.”

Sure.” Kane grips the pistol and draws it, before holding it out in an open palm. As one of the guards grabs it, Kane draws the revolver from his left pocket and shoots him twice. He turns to the other guard who stands stunned by the sudden gunfire. Kane doesn’t waste a second, shooting him with the last three rounds in the gun. With both of his targets on the ground, Kane grips his 1911 and executes both men with a shot to the head.

Next Kane grabs a Mossberg Maverick 88 pump action shotgun from one of the dead guards. Next he works the action to ensure a round is in the chamber. He knows that he’ll have to extract the information he wants from Mr. Greyson in person. He knows that Mr. Greyson will have to go down from his penthouse to the lobby to get to the lobby. Surely the gunfire has alerted the rest of the security in the building.

Kane opens the door and waits for his targets to arrive. He keeps the shotgun trained on the elevator. Only an amateur would take the elevator. With the scatter gun it’d be a death trap. To his surprise the elevator doors begin to open, revealing multiple targets inside. Kane begins firing rapidly, unleashing a barrage of buckshot. Once his Mossberg runs empty, Kane draws his 1911 and runs towards the elevator.

As he arrives in front of the elevator he witnesses one of the guards stand up. Kane stops and then aims his 1911 at him before unleashing a furious barrage of gunfire. The man falls down so Kane enters the elevator and presses the button for the ground floor. As the elevator heads down he reloads his gun with his final spare magazine.

The elevator opens to the lobby, where Kane sees the guard from the door. Kane shoots him thrice in the chest, causing him to slumps against the wall, so Kane shoots him in the head to ensure his demise. Next he leaves the elevator and steps in front of the opening penthouse elevator. Kane cuts the bodyguard down with three shots.

Mr. Greyson retreats to a corner of the elevator, causing his glasses to fall off. The elderly business man then shrinks down in the corner realizing he has no escape. The blur that is approaches him so he stammers “You’re…you’re crazy.”

Where are they?” Kane points his pistol at Mr. Greyson who stares down the barrel, waiting for it to breath fire.

How shoul…should I know?”

You hired them goddamnit. Where are they?” Kane roars at the top of his lungs.

All… all I know is they came from up, up north.”

Give me your car keys.”

You’re kidding?”

I’m the one with the gun so give me the fucking keys.”

Okay, okay…okay.” Greyson rifles through his pockets and throws his keys out. Kane picks them up as Greyson asks “You can’t seriously considering chasing these two?”

I’ve got nothing left to lose.”

You’ve only got their direction of travel. All this death is for what? You’re not going to get anything back by lowering yourself to the level of those men.”

Kane was already heading to the exit before Mr. Greyson finished his sentence. Kane only has one thing on his mind. The direction of north might not be enough, but it was better than wasting away in an apartment waiting for a job.

Atomic Blonde – Duck For Cover, This One’s a Bomb

Dear Reader,

Atomic Blonde is a spy thriller/action film directed by David Leitch (John Wick, the upcoming Deadpool 2) that takes place in 1989, about MI-6 superspy Lorraine (Charlize Theron) who must travel to Berlin to recover a list of spies. Along the way she meets a cast of spies who all have their own agenda as the Berlin Wall comes down.

Unfortunately this one’s a real flatline. It’s a shame because I love movies like Ronin and The Way of the Gun where various groups are after a MacGuffin, the alliances are shaky and death could be around the corner for anyone.

The problems start with one of the first scenes, with Lorraine getting debriefed post the events of most of the movie. Jeez I wonder if she’ll be okay? This takes a lot of tension out of the movie from the get go and even manages to deflate what is really the only good scene in the movie. The last thing you want to do in a thriller is remove the tension and Atomic Blonde manages to do this within the first ten minutes of it’s run time.

None of the characters are very interesting, save David (James McAvory) a seemingly insane MI-6 agent who basically does what he wants in Berlin. Lorraine is probably the least interesting protagonist in any movie I’ve seen since The Great Wall and none of the supporting characters having anything special going for them either. There’s not a single piece of dialog from this movie I can think of as remarkable or interesting. I saw where most characters were going up until the last 15 minutes, which is where the twists start to come out. Unfortunately for me, that was way too late and I couldn’t care less. None of the twists really seem to change how I felt about the characters or gave me a reason to care about what happened during the events of the movie. You can have all the badass action in the world but that’s not going to count for much if I don’t care what happens to the people in the action.

On top of that the soundtrack is really overbearing. There’s a lot of 80’s music that plays over scenes where it’s not necessary at all and at times, conflicting with the tone. I’m not an idiot I get the movie takes place in 1989 so you don’t have to remind me with a constant barrage of 80’s pop music. Considering the last film I watched in a cinema was Dunkirk, where Hans Zimmer created a sound track that literally made the movie it featured in, it was frustrating to have such a lazy soundtrack in this movie.

Finally there’s a lack of spy craft that I feel this movie really could have done with. The movie Ronin is an example where simple tricks are used to gather intelligence or gain an advantage. I’d also say this is a criticism that applies to the John Wick movies. I honestly love a protagonist that can out think and out wit, not just kill the bad guys.

With all that being said, there is some good camera work from time to time. There’s also a sequence half way in the movie on a staircase where Lorraine has to take out some enemy spies, which is bad ass. The hits feel brutal, and if it wasn’t for the early scene I had mentioned before, I would have been concerned with her survival.

I really can’t recommend Atomic Blonde. This type of movie has been done better so many times before. Hopefully someone will put the staircase scene and the scene where Charlize Theron and Sofia Boutella make out on Youtube so you don’t have to sit through this bomb.

Still I hold out some hope for Deadpool 2. I can see David Leitch pulling off a great movie with the right writer. He certainly knows how to execute great action, but to paraphrase The Bowery King said in John Wick 2 “Somebody please, get this man a writer.”

Regards

Your Writer