Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mike Hammer

That's Mike, all right. Women can't keep away from him, and he can't care less.

By happenstance, I read the new Mike Hammer book, Kiss Her Goodbye, and saw perhaps his most famous movie version, Kiss Me Deadly, this week. It was my first Mike Hammer experience, though I'm familiar with the character. The author, Mickey Spillane, is dead but another author is finishing and publishing his manuscripts. I checked out the move because a new Criterion edition is due out this week.

I'm a fan of noir and tough-minded protagonists, but Mike Hammer is too dated. His sexism and machismo have thankfully gone out of favor, and so to hear the way he describes women in terms of their physique and himself in terms of his hardness made me cringe and chuckle, respectively. The story itself is pretty interesting, but much more detail is given to Hammer's day to day gumshoe-ing rather than delving deeper into the plot. It's skimmed over in favor of Hammer's vanity.

I wasn't impressed with the earlier film, either. I liked the beginning, but it didn't really hold my interest after the first half hour or so. I finished it, but didn't really care about the story.

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