Hell on Wheels Gunplay at Last

Hell on Wheels Gunplay at Last

AMC’s Hell on Wheels has, at last, given viewers a taste of gunplay. The trouble with modern day westerns like this latest western show about train tracks being laid across the country at a snail’s pace so that the Union Pacific can stretch from coast to coast, is that the makers of the program have forgotten, if they ever knew, what makes a western good. This is not to say that the program is bad, in some ways they have tried hard to keep from relying on previous Hollywood stereotypes such as the Native American two dimensional characters used in most westerns back in the day.

Hell on Wheels Gunplay at Last

Hell on Wheels Gunplay at Last

AMC’s Hell on Wheels has, at last, given viewers a taste of gunplay. The trouble with modern day westerns like this latest western show about train tracks being laid across the country at a snail’s pace so that the Union Pacific can stretch from coast to coast, is that the makers of the program have forgotten, if they ever knew, what makes a western good. This is not to say that the program is bad, in some ways they have tried hard to keep from relying on previous Hollywood stereotypes such as the Native American two dimensional characters used in most westerns back in the day.

America the Troubled

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It’s been a very violent and bloody week for this country. First a bloody ending to a national runners event that marred the day by killing and injuring innocent people taking part in the Boston Marathon and Patriot day.

That all occurred on the 15th of April this year.

Two days later, a fertiliser plant in the farming town of West, Texas exploded, killing 14 and the police are still sifting through the rubble to find casualties.

On the 18th of April, the first of two bombing suspects was shot and killed in a prolonged shoot-out with police.

Yesterday on the  19th of April, the second suspect was shot and captured.

America has had a very troubled and busy week in the violence and death department. The denizens of this troubled country can be forgiven for feeling a little abused at the moment.

I wrote a blog post on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings and raised the query of security forces spending too much time looking for evil within the borders of the USA. I felt that they were looking in the wrong place for terrorists.

I was wrong.

Sadly, this terror attack did indeed come from within.

But…

These two heinous and cowardly individuals did not originate in America. They were “immigrants” who came over with their families. According to initial reports, they’ve only lived in America for ten years.

Both, according to the news again, were recent Muslim converts.

The face of monsters.
The faces of monsters.

Oh boy. That’s going to rock the proverbial boat. As if Muslims did not have enough negative press already, they now have even more and I can imagine that Mr and Mrs America and their children won’t be inviting their next door followers of Islam over for a barbecue.

Another unsettling reason for the non-Muslim community to feel leery about this “foreign” religion and its violent outbursts against “the infidels.”

Overshadowed by Monday’s events is the explosion in Texas that took so many lives. Not – as far as I know – terrorist in nature, it is still an enormous tragedy and one that isn’t getting a lot of  media attention due to the Boston tragedy; at least not on this side of the big pond.

West Texas. Fires after the explosion.
West Texas. Fires after the explosion.

On top of the two explosive events, we have the news that guardians of justice move damned fast. Literally within days of the Boston outrage, both suspects have been dealt with. Of course the death of one and the injuring of the other, may make it difficult to find out why  these two monsters – Yes, monsters.  People do not indiscriminately murder in this fashion. – with the end result being one dead and one captured.

Suffice to say, I think I was wrong to denigrate the security forces and their head offices for watching the American people. It seems that what appeared to me as paranoia, was not.

Now it only remains for the authorities to find out why. Why killing innocent children and people was necessary and why the fertiliser plant exploded in Texas.

I cannot think of a more troubling week of events for America within her shores before. Certainly not that I can remember. Sure we’ve had international American tragedy before. Remember Jonestown? But that was outside the boundaries of the country and not on Main Street USA.

On Jonestown, I had a friend in the USAF who was at the New Jersey air base when the bodies were brought back. He was on body-bag detail. I cannot imagine the horror that must have been.

I close this puzzled post with prayers sent to all who have suffered loss in this last week. Loss of life, loss of family, friends and neighbours and loss of innocence. I also pray that we might find out that the horrid events of Boston were a “one-off” and that other recent converts to the Muslim religion who are US citizens aren’t so murderously inclined.

May the country of my birth breathe a sigh of relief now that the week-end has arrived and may my fellow countrymen rest a bit easier knowing that the keepers of the peace do seem to know what they are doing.

To the residents of both Boston and Texas I hope you can get closure for this violent and troubled week. And my the American people not be so scarred that they become xenophobic in action and thought.

And lastly, may the greatest free country in the world continue to be so and fly the flag proudly and safely.

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Max Payne 3 – Conclusions

Max Payne 3

Okay, so I finished Max Payne 3 last night, well early this morning, and I had a little think about the game. I was perhaps a bit harsh on the game, in my ‘first thoughts‘ on it. Because all said, it was a fun play through.

Now admittedly I’m not a Max Payne fan. I had played a very little bit of Max Payne 2 and my initial thoughts on that game, was that it seemed a lot like Condemned. As I said in my first post about Max Payne, I felt that I had been there before.

I guess to an extent it felt like that because Rockstar had set the whole game up as a ‘Game Noir’ and that’s okay, but did they really have to have that ‘grind house’ look to it?

I am still trying to figure out why they did the scratchy and shaky appearance to the whole thing. It did look like a addicts vision of life around him, but the bleeding and blurry colours didn’t really make a lot of sense for a ‘third-person-shooter.’

If it had been a ‘first-person-shooter’ it would have fit a bit better, but I still maintain that it was an un-necessary distraction.

The story was okay. The bit about powerful, rich, corrupt families has been done before. I suppose that with the drug cartel problem in Mexico these days grabbing headlines, it seemed the topical thing to do. But again, it still felt a little like a ‘re-run’ that I had seen before.

My other main complaint? The game was short. Damn short. I guess they felt like the inclusion of a Max Payne multi-player would make up for that. I did play the multi-player for a bit after I had finished the game. Sorry Rockstar, it didn’t add anything to the game. For a start, my character wasn’t even Max, for crying out loud. That bit was locked.

English: The Rockstar New England logo, a divi...

I guess I do have to admit that I liked the almost easy task of blowing bad guys away in their dozens. I do like shooting things whether said things are aliens, bad guys or enemy soldiers I am a sucker for a gun fight.

The ‘bullet time‘ feature is still fun, although it took me ages to really master it and the R1 feature took me forever to remember I had it as an option. But when I did remember all I could think of was John Woo’s Stranglehold game.

To be completely fair I have to say that it was a good play, but, it did not have that wow factor. So in my thinking it is more of a rental versus a ‘gotta have’ game.

I will say that I did like the fact that Max was in his mid-forties. As an old fart myself, it was nice to see a protagonist who was not young, bronzed and muscle bound. Someone instead with a bit of character on his face. Grizzled and wrinkled and still able to get the job done.