IMDb > Sharky's Machine (1981) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Sharky's Machine
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Sharky's Machine More at IMDbPro »

Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 2 of 6:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [Next]
Index 57 reviews in total 

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Loud, stupid, violent but kind of fun

Author: Wayne Malin ( from United States
2 January 2001

Vice copy (Burt Reynolds) falls for a high-price call girl (Rachel Ward) who's under the thumb of an underworld lord (Gassman). The storyline is highly improbable, has a VERY slow stretch with Reynolds watching Ward through binoculars, has tons of gunfights and gallons of blood. Also, very sleazy. Still, I was never really bored. I was in the mood for a stupid, violent movie and this delivered. Reynold is OK in the lead; Charles Durning is very funny as his boss (he basically walks around yelling and cursing--and enjoying it); Gassman is appropriately slimy as the underworld leader. Best of all is Ward--she is incredible gorgeous and gives this movie a much better performance than it deserves. Worth watching, solely for her.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Don't Mess With Sharky

Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA
12 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frm the opening strains of Randy Crawford's spunky "Street Life" to the final shot, "Sharky's Machine" is a lean, mean 80's-cop action extravaganza.

Okay, it's not "Citizen Kane." I don't think it was intended to be. But we have some very nice things going on here. First, Burt Reynolds (who I otherwise despise) is actually very good in his role as a weary, frustrated cop. And maybe this wasn't all acting- this film was made at about the same time Burt Reynolds' star power was beginning to fade, and he looks suitably humbled and remorseful. Whether he's acting or not his demeanor is perfect for the character- the cackling, smarmy Burt that we're used to would have ruined the role.

Next, we have our All-Star Team of Character Actors: Charles Durning, Bernie Casey, Brian Keith, Richard Libertini and horror-face himself Henry Silva. With a supporting cast like this you can't possibly go wrong. These guys make every forgettable scene substantial and give the movie an organic, timeless look. The highlights are Bernie Casey waxing zen about his near-death experience and Charles Durning's comedic frustration with his offbeat police staff. The movie is subtle but very funny.

Finally, there is Rachel Ward. Gorgeous, sexy, and engaging… she is as good here as she was in "Against All Odds." (And is it me or does it seem like every male character goes crazy for her?) You can see why... she just has the right amount of mystery and sexuality that keeps you hanging on her every word. She brings the movie up a whole letter grade.

So is "Sharky's Machine" a classic? An all-timer? No, not really. But if you like good, fun, violent, fast-moving urban action cop flicks this is a must-see. Enjoy!


Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Never count this film out, it keeps getting up and punching

Author: darrenkoneill from United Kingdom
31 August 2009

I have always been a huge Burt Reynolds fan, I've always admired his humility and his way of engaging with the audience be it as actor or Director.

The film opens to the enchanting tones of Randy Crawford signing Street life, incidentally the film ends on a duet to what closely must resemble the sound of the emasculation of two cats with a blunt knife.

Anyway Sharky is demoted to Vice when 'he' messed up a drug bust. Down in Vice is where we meet the gang who all add wonderful dimensions to this film and each shines in his role, Charles Durning is hilarious he screams with such intensity you really become concerned for his blood pressure.

Just when it looks like Vice might be boring a whole can of worms opens up when they begin to stake out some 'High class' call girls (the stake out is a little long almost in real time), the plot involves a puppet politician and the puppet master played amazingly by the one and only Vittorio Gassman.

Sharky starts to fall for 'Dominoe' (gorgeous but she's gotta give up the cigarettes she sounds like the Bouvier sisters from the Simpsons) one of the 'High Class' call girls, incidentally Burt Fell for another 'High Class' call girl in 'Hustle'.

Burt was very generous with the script he gave some of the best stuff to the supporting cast, in actual fact sometimes through the movie in his quest to build Sharky as the strong silent type the lack of script for himself turned Sharky into the strong boring type. This was very apparent when he was finally with Dominoe at his pad, he was pining around like a 13 year old. He couldn't string two words together he just looked bashful so bashful he almost looked mentally challenged, he did everything bar kicking his heels looking at the floor and saying "Gee golly I ain't never done kissed no girl be fower hu hulk".

In all it's a very entertaining film, it drags a bit here and there, but it always comes back to life and the last 30 minutes are a roller-coaster, watch out for Henry Silva who plays a whacked out hit man, my favorite scene is when he points his gun at Arch and…..

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This is Sharky's city!

Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
30 August 2009

This was one of those films I would always come across (be it on TV or cheap DVD), but never struck me to give it a shot as I thought I wasn't missing out on much. It was on one night and I thought oh well… why not. A good decision too, as I would kick myself for taking so long to get around to it. For me it left me impressed, as it's up there with Burt Reynold's best features ('Deliverance', 'White Lightning' and 'Boogie Nights') and streams back to those 70s/80s gritty, hardboiled urban crime thrillers that weren't afraid to be forebodingly obscure and go out of their way to set-up characters, pack-it with realistically brutal force and effectively incorporate the local locations (Atlanta being the case here) to the fold with grounded photography. In certain shades it kind of reminded me of 'Dirty Harry', but that's loosely. However it's saucily honed blues score with its simmering kicks, funky shifts and unhinged sounds, very much had me thinking of Lalo Schifrin's pulsating score he orchestrated for 'Dirty Harry'. The music soundtrack on the other hand is hit or miss.

Sgt. Tom Sharky was an Atlantic narcotic agent before a slip-out during a bust saw him demoted to vice work. Along with his new squad they come across a prostitution ring, which catches their interest due to fact it's owned by one hard-to-track and to convict crime lord. What they dig up involves a prominent government figure and a call-girl which can give them some important names, but they must get to her before she's made a target.

Burt Reynold's acts, but also directs in an unyieldingly firm and muscular fashion which would suit his laconically hard-nosed performance and Gerald Di Pego's thematically hard-bitten and taut screenplay (that was adapted from William Diehl's novel). Well he does show some sort of heart/insightful thoughts amongst that armor within the scenes involving the fetchingly able British actress Rachel Ward, be it the stake-out scenes when he's watching her from another building (and slowly becoming infatuated by her) to when they finally come together, but these latter interactions mid-way through do slow up the momentum but give it noir like strokes. The performances are fairly spot on with Reynold's formulating a great rapport with exceptional actors Charles Durning, Earl Holliman, Brian Keith, Richard Libertini and Bernie Casey. The scathing profanity and witty dialogues between these guys were a blast. As for the corrupt villains, Vittorio Gassman builds imposing strength and power, but it's Henry Silva (who seems born for these roles) icily cunning and unstoppable turn that makes the show. Where his appearance seems to outline things to come and help them fall into place. Plus his adrenaline-filled and violent cat and mouse climax with Sharky and his team is brilliantly done.

The exciting action passages might be quick and dry, but remain lethally violent like an immensely teeth-grinding interrogation sequence. Some handy, old fashion filming techniques add to the suspense. The intriguing material keeps it quite tactical being character derived, but when we think its smooth sailing it offers up a blunt surprise or two along with some intensely brunt confrontations.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Burt's Best!!!

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
18 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dirty Harry goes to Atlanta is what Burt called this fantastic, first-rate detective thriller that borrows some of its plot from the venerable Dana Andrews movie "Laura." Not only does Burt Reynolds star in this superb saga but he also helmed it and he doesn't make a single mistake either staging the action or with his casting of characters. Not a bad performance in the movie and Reynolds does an outstanding job of directing it. Henry Silva is truly icy as a hit-man.

Detective Tom Sharky (Burt Reynolds) is on a narcotics case in underground Atlanta when everything goes wrong. He winds up chasing a suspect and shooting it out with the gunman on a bus. During the melee, an innocent bystander dies. John Woo's "The Killer" replicates this scene. Anyway, the Atlanta Police Department busts Burt down to Vice and he takes orders from a new boss, Frisco (Charles Durning of "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?") in the basement. Sharky winds up in a real cesspool of crime. Sharky and his fellow detectives Arch (Bernie Casey) and Papa (Brian Keith) set up surveillance on a high-priced call girl Dominoe (Rachel Ward of "After Dark, My Sweet")who has a luxurious apartment that she shares with another girl.

Dominoe is seeing a local politician Hotchkins (Earl Holliman of "Police Woman") on the side who is campaigning for governor but the chief villain, Victor (Vittorio Gassman of "The Dirty Game") wants him to end the affair. Hotchkins is reluctant to accommodate Victor, so Victor has cocaine snorting Billy Score (Henry Silva of "Wipeout")terminate Dominoe. Billy blasts a hole the size of a twelve inch pizza in the door of Dominoe's apartment and kills her.

Sharky has done the unthinkable. During the surveillance, he has grown fond of Dominoe to the point that he becomes hopelessly infatuated with her. Sharky's mission in life now is to bust Victor, but he learns that Victor has an informant inside the Atlanta Police Department. The plot really heats up when Sharky discovers later that Billy shot the wrong girl and that Dominoe is still alive! Sharky takes her into protective custody and things grow even more complicated. He assembles his "Machine" of the title to deal with Victor and his hoods.

William Fraker's widescreen lensing of the action is immaculate. Unfortunately, this vastly underrated classic is available only as a full-frame film. Fraker definitely contributes to the atmosphere of the picture, especially during the mutilation scene on the boat when the villain's cut off one of Sharky's fingers. This is a rather gruesome scene.

Burt never made a movie that surpassed "Sharky's Machine."

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of my favourite films!

Author: viktor99 from Australia
18 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a fan of B grade 80s films in which the hero is a bit of a bad guy, a strong male, who finds love - and this film delivers!

Towards the finish you do not know how Sharky will not be killed (and doesn't he take a beating! Realistically portrayed I believe). However he does and it's not via some overdone 'Die Hard' stunt. The 'past it' team he works with comes together, hence the title. His team are all characters - people on the sideline at work because they don't quite conform. These portrayals are funny and sympathetic - they have a real feeling to them. They're up against an iceman of an assassin, with a good team of his own. The result is a great film noir.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Dirty Harry goes to Atlanta"

Author: Michael J Manfredi ( from waterbury, CT
6 March 1999

Reynolds is depicted in this film as Dirty Harry in what has became one of my personal favorite movies of alltime. Although the story is a bit slow moving and sudsy momentarily, at the same time it is eerie and increasingly intense. Burt as the title roll and as directer picks up the dull pace and heats up the screen in one suspense scene after another. I recommend this film to anyone who's a buff of the action genre. I myself actually inherited the nickname "SHARKY" a short time after the movie was released! Has nothing to do with the film but just by coincidence.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Burt Reynolds' best movie.

Author: spence-14
28 February 1999

While he was great in Boogie Nights, I think that this was Burt Reynolds' best performance. He's also a great director and has made a tough, violent movie that doesn't hold back (a hooker's death by 12 gauge) and is an excellent detective story with some great actors (Brian Keith, Bernie Casey, etc.) and an outstanding jazz soundtrack. 10 out of 10

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dark and violent

Author: Fred Anderson from Sweden
12 January 1999

I would say this is Burt´s greatest film...It´s dark and violent and with a superb cast. A bit slow sometimes, but it´s worth a look.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Burt and his binoculars.

Author: SeedOfKermode from United Kingdom
5 April 2010

Burt Reynold's is tough cop Sharky. He likes sitting in skyscrapers and watching things through binoculars. So much so that the whole of this movie has Sharky sitting in a skyscraper watching things through his binoculars. Occasionally, he relieves himself by taking an urgent urination but soon it is binoculars time again. This is exciting! Later in the movie we get a glimpse of Burt sitting in a skyscraper watching things through his binoculars. Then, in an unexpected burst of action, he decides to watch things through his binoculars. The highlight of the movie is undoubtedly the ending scene where he watches things through his binoculars while in a skyscraper. A few less scenes of Burt watching things through his binoculars would have moved things along a little faster but, on the whole, not bad.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 2 of 6:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Ratings
Awards External reviews Parents Guide
Plot keywords Main details Your user reviews
Your vote history