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Failing Ma Failing Marks. Now, the characters Barenga, Philander and Piggy are such broad racial stereotypes that they're sure to offend most readers; but then, the Destroyer series also takes vicious digs at WASP bankers, college professors, athletes, Jews, Asians, homosexuals and everyone else on the planet. The only group I haven't seen abused on the page are left-handers and I probably just missed that. So no matter who you are, at some point the Destroyer books will insult you and you just have to deal with that.
Feel free to go visit Chiun and Remo, tell them your grievances and see where it gets you. Lhasa is a cold, dangerous man who deals with complications by shooting people between the eyes with his small. Wait, a silenced revolver? Never mind The younger Nilsson likes killing for its own sake and, in your typical spy thriller or detective book, he would be an overwhelming and frightening presence. But here he comes face to face with a tiny, eighty-year-old Korean, who looks like he couldn't get the wrapper off a straw without trouble It's no surprise that Lhasa is not around for the rest of the book but then Gunner gets the news.
He drops his vow of non-violence and heads to the States to avenge his brother, fill the contract and restore the honor of the Nilsson name.
He's much more dangerous than Lhasa ever was. It's interesting that the Nilsson clan is not simply a bunch of people good with guns. They have developed hundreds of years of experience into a science of stalking, stealth and strategy. The House of Nilsson is not the equal of Sinanju but they are a dire threat in their own right.
I kept thinking that James Bond or Richard Wentworth would have had their hands full dealing with these Swedes. One more idea for future fan fiction, jot it in my notebook. There is one detail I loved, where Smith vaguely remembers the name Nilsson from somewhere. He sends his secretary to Manhattan in a taxi which is odd. No one on the staff could have driven her? Reading it on the long ride back to Folcroft, she decides it's horrid, disgusting trash.
One article is about the Nilsson family but there is also a brief reference to the Ninja of Japan, whose secrets were stolen from the legendary Masters of Sinanju. While there is plenty of violence and suspense in these books, that's not the real aspect which has given them lasting appeal and which makes them such treats to breeze through thirty years later. It's the Sinanju mythology, the flippant wisecracks and the satire which make the Destroyer series stand out. When Vicki interrupts Chiun's beloved soap operas by standing naked in front of him, she ends up in a corner of the room, with her back against the wall, her rear end up in the air and her heart stopped.
Remo revives her and she shrugs it off with "Heavy, man. Interestingly enough, the book is dedicated to six women, including "Vikie" and much of the story takes place at a rock festival near Pittsfield, Massachusetts where the famous post office box which Chiun maintained also was. So you have to wonder how much if at all Vicki Stoner was based on a real person that Sapir or Murphy knew. Tags: the destroyer. From November , this is one of the best books in the series.
- H. P. Lovecraft's Commonplace Book;
- DEVILS FEATHERS (The Inspector Levent Series);
- The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde;
Chiun is basically a karate teacher, the action is flat and unconvincing, and if the series had continued in that style, it would be likely be forgotten today. Mostly an introduction to the series, filled with quotes and highlights and lists of the best villains and history's best assassinations, this book also has a twenty page interview with Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. It certainly reads like their best work, but then so do a few of the books written by Will Murray The short novel tells the origin of the Destroyer, almost entirely from Chiun's point of view.
Not much in the original book is flatly contradicted, but instead we see the significance and implications of what's going on. I particularly liked the way Chiun is stunned by how quickly and easily Remo learns the art, as if the Destroyer-to-be has an inborn gift. When asked for a flowery speech of gratitude, Remo answers offhandedly, "I figure that when I do something right, that's the greatest compliment you can get. A large part of the Destroyer appeal is its inner mythology and here we have the most important single moment in the series. As Remo is shot and literally killed Chiun wanted him only injured by a killer he hired, to teach some humility , the prophecy of the dead night tiger made whole comes to pass.
It's actually Chiun who is surprised and humbled by this moment. One of the things the TV pilot got exactly right was the significance of this sequence. When Remo comes back to life, he calls Chiun "little father" for the first time, a wonderful touch. I remembered the first thirty or so books as being excellent adventure stories with a unique blend of action, humour and mysticism, but re-reading this novella now brings back just how very good they were.
After a while, they seemed to lose their spark and unpredictability, and I've picked up a few new titles over the years but not really been satisfied. The realities of the business of publishing will keep a series going as long as there's profit, but personally I would have liked to see the Destroyer book come to a natural resolution. Chiun going to meet the Great Wang, Remo taking on a disciple of his own, maybe an occassional sequel every few years. On the other hand, many thousands have enjoyed the ongoing series just as they are, and I wouldn't deprive readers of a page.
I would have liked to see Sherlock Holmes actually die at Reichenbach, too, and any further stories being flashbacks, so you can't always go by my instincts. When Sinanju holds a tournament. So if you were thinking of sampling a few Destroyer books to see whether you would like the series, I'd definitely include this one. Three times earlier, our favorite assassins had come up against Nuihc, a villain who followed the long honored tradition in adventure fiction that the worst enemy is a relative of the hero. Nuihc was Chiun's nephew, a student who learned the killing art of Sinanju and then went renegade.
In disgrace, the elderly teacher reversed the sound of his family name and became known as Chiun; this bit never sat well with with me, for some reason, as I am just too used to "Chiun" as the character. Nuihc never sent the payments to the village, as was his duty, which is what led Chiun to come out of retirement and seek a new pupil. But, look as he might, he found no one worthy of the Sun Source until he ended up in America and met a pale piece of a pig's ear.
This early in the stories, Remo is far from being a Master himself he says he only taps thirty or forty per cent of his potential and Nuihc is a real threat to him. Now, after recovering from major burns at the end of OIL SLICK, the outcast Sinanju master is back with a devious scheme to kill his two rivals and claim the title Master of Sinanju solely for himself. Ashley is brutally attacked by Winch's disciples, and left with both shoulders and both legs crushed, to die of exposure in the freezing castle.
As Nuihc knows, Ashley was one of the thousands of people who unwittingly fed useful information to the computers accessed only by Dr Harold Smith. When Ashley's body is recovered, its bizarre condition puzzles Smith and he decides to have two of his employees inspect the remains.
These two, of course, are Remo Williams and Chiun, the world's greatest assassins. In an unprecedented show of uneasiness, Chiun decides he must return to his tiny fishing village of Sinanju in North Korea but he first gives Remo some cryptic advice. It was a Sinanju tradition to deliver four incapacitating blows to an enemy and then leave him to die, as a sign he was not considered worthy of a proper killing. This man's death was meant to convey a warning and a threat. At first annoyed by Chiun's departure he has become more dependent on the aged teacher than he realized , Remo just shrugs off the ominous implications and begins to investigate Ashley's death.
Then something very strange happens. A man attacks Remo in an illogical suicidal manuever that leaves him wide open for a counter-strike but which also guarantees he will make his own blow connect. Even though the man is instantly killed, he does manage to smash Remo's left shoulder. The arm becomes weak and then useless, and then a source of increasing pain. Even Remo understands now that he is the next subject of the disgraceful execution and that there will be more assassins coming after him with insane attacks he won't be able to spot until it's too late Before it's all over, Chiun himself is trapped in his ancestral home in the village of Sinanju, where the ungrateful townspeople have abandoned him to support the usurper Nuihc.
Remo is crippled and helpless, Nuihc is ready to slay the two of them and Chiun is unable to fight his vicious nephew because the Master is forbidden to harm anyone from his village. Is this the end of our boys? Will book number twenty-one be "The New Destroyer" starring Nuihc? Read on. We follow the elaborate route a nuclear submarine has to take just to deliver a small bag of gold to a point off the Korean coast each November If the sub captain is bewildered by this dangerous routine, just wait until he is ordered to transport an irritable old Korean man with huge steamer trunks to the same spot.
In many of the books, the second chapter features Remo assassinating some no-good who has been targetting by Smith. On one hand, it's a good excuse to show the increasing skills and techniques the Destroyer is mastering in this case, he burrows across a yard under thick snow to avoid detection , but it also serves to remind the reader how important CURE's work is.
The oddball villains with personal feuds are fine, but CURE is mostly concerned with fighting crime and corruption in America. It's only when careful use of information fails that a particularly heinous offender is designated to CURE's enforcement arm Despite his best efforts, Remo is gradually smashed down to a state where he has to phone Smith to be rescued and brought to a doctor.
Desperately joining his teacher in Sinanju just as Nuihc is approaching, Remo is in such bad condition that even Chiun is apalled. The constant Odd Couple bickering and banter between Remo and Chiun is made poignant in the rare moments when each lets slip how important the other one is to him. The funniest moment is when an outraged Remo asks of Chiun, "You've still got that post office box there, don't you? What are you doing with a post office box in Pittsfield, Massachusets? What does a Master of Sinanju need that for? Even though he now has a contract, he keeps the box open "and refused to tell Remo what mail he received there.
Box , Pittsfield Massachusets. I would love to see one of the replies they reportedly sent out written as if from Chiun himself We get an interesting description of the Sinanju art when the American karateka says perfection is a goal, not a reality and Nuihc disagrees. But it was the other way around. Perfection was what they all came from from. As Mr Winch explained, there was a method, a way, that had to do with the way things moved and were, that was perfect execution of the art. There was one martial art at the beginning, in the deep, deep past of the Orient. From this one art came all the others with all their codes and disciplines.
And, inasmuch as they differed from the sun source, they were less. It's amusing to check martial arts newsgroups and see seemingly sincere questions from people who have heard of something called "Sinanju" and want to know more about this wonderful style. Usually, the regulars explain it's just a fictional conceit but sometimes someone leads the newbie on. Fortunately, there were Sinanju fans who happened to have a blank tape and a willing VCR, so it has not been completely lost.
The Destroyer # Midnight Man Book - Gere Donovan Press - from Sort It Apps
So it was a fine point to start an ongoing TV series. The hour-long pilot is a real delight for fans of the Destroyer books with one major, fatal flaw , capturing the spirit of the early books down to many little details. Stephen Elliott as Harold Smith is dry and underplayed, and the actor who plays the American assassin hired by Chiun does a really good job as someone almost worshipful of Sinanju. Roddy McDowall as Chiun is completely acceptable, using a light accent and restrained gestures.
I personally like Joel Grey from the movie a bit better, because Grey had a dancer's grace and looked more deceptively fragile, but McDowall is fine. No, the real problem here is Jeffrey Meek as Remo. He's SO wrong for the part that it almost seems as if someone didn't want the series to succeed. Meek is lightweight and has no screen presence, he doesn't move with any agility or conviction, and his big mane of curly hair is so completely inappropriate that only a red rubber nose would make it worse. He may be fine in other roles, and he may be a wonderful person in real life, but it's like watching Richard Simmons play the Destroyer.
The Destroyer #43 Midnight Man
But the story really comes to life as Chiun approaches an expensive hitman to slightly wound Remo, in order to teach some humility. The assassin has a reverence for the legendary art of Sinanju and he decides to simply kill Remo, so that Chiun will take him on as a new disciple.
The pivotal moment in the Destroyer books comes as the Master cradles his dead student in the street and realizes the essence of Sinanju is still there and the prophecy of the dead night tiger made whole, who will become the greatest Master of Sinanju is coming true. There are a lot of small touches here that are lifted from the books and understated-- Chiun driving a nail with his finger, watching TV in the lotus position while supporting his weight on his two index fingers, and sensing the hostile energy of the assassin from a block away.
Casually ripping out Remo's IV tubes is a very Chiun-like gesture. Remo himself follows the movie in swerving to avoid bullets, climbing brick walls and leaping safely off four-story building, even gliding down the stream of water from a high pressure water hose. But he never seems genuinely dangerous.
His lighthearted brawl with the biker gang is unconvincing and Meek's smug grin is far removed from the Destroyer of the books. Maybe if they had re-shot this with, say, Joe Lewis as Remo I mean, if you could edit in the names Remo and Chiun, it would be a pretty good Sinanju film. Tags: the destroyer , whacko tv.
This just in- Japanese assassin knifes Larry Flynt. I still picked one up on occassion and in fact still sampled one now and then for years afterward, but some of the magic was gone. The first twenty books were amazingly creative and bizarre, with a mixture of satire and mysticism and savagery that remains unique. Some of this, I think, had to do with the creative tensions between Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy, who had very different personalties and writing strengths; in the more interesting books you can see a tug of war between them which makes for unpredictable storytelling.
This was gradually lost and as inevitable ghost writers filled in, the charm of the Destroyers was weakened. There was also Ruby Gonzalez. She is mentioned in this book but does not appear, which was a plus in my book. Ruby was a beautiful but thoroughly obnoxious young black woman who barged into CURE and became Smith's assistant. First, I found this hard to believe for a second.