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

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Overlooked modern noir

Author: Jim Kenney from New York
30 June 1999

An intense, dark action drama with unusually rich support from Casey, Keith, et. al, many of whom get the best roles of their careers and run with it. The film is oddly shaped -- often the action slows down just to let the characters get caught up in odd but well-done seemingly improved dialogues -- during the stakeouts, almost all of the "Machine" get caught up in perfectly delivered humorous monologues -- and Reynolds the director deserves mucho credit for having Reynolds the star step back and give them room. And unlike most action films, you really get to like the characters, which makes the 2nd half, when their various destinies good and bad unfold, unusually affecting. The combination of character development, brutal violence, a jazzy soundtrack (Tarantino must be a fan -- watch this & then "Jackie Brown" and you'll see what I'm talking about)make this occasionally flawed film (The bad guys are a bit melodramatic) one of the better modern cop films, and in my mind superior to many of the overrated modern noirs such as "Body Heat" & such.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

There's a great movie in here somewhere

Author: mickeyshamrock from United States
19 January 2010

I think the most important thing to keep in mind while watching SHARKY'S MACHINE is that Burt Reynolds directed it... that sunk in yet? OK good. I'm not knocking Reynolds' ability behind the camera, I actually think he does a commendable job (p.s. I'm a big Reynolds fan), I just always think it's important to note when an actor directs and stars in their own movie. Sure, it's dated and fairly rough around the edges, but there's a great movie in here that continually peeks through the cracks. Unfortunately it just never seems to peek through long enough to win over most viewers. However the movie features some good old fashioned cop stuff, some good old fashioned violence, and a great, good old fashioned bad guy (the lost art of the great bad guy) played by the always stellar Henry Silva. It also features an awesome stunt by stunt legend (whatever happened to stunt legends?) and Reynolds' STICK co-star, Dar Robinson. As usual, Reynolds is great in the title roll of Sharky - I've just always wondered if a more experienced director (perhaps John Frankenheimer) had helmed this film, and STICK for that matter, would that have elevated this film to action classic status? It's very possible...

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One Of The Best Action Movies Ever

Author: drewman-3 from United States
7 December 2014

This is a movie, like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, that I've seen a million times, and still enjoy popping in the DVD player every now and then.

It's got everything, great script, characters, film score, camera work, etc. Burt Reynolds surrounded himself with excellent people, and they created a real gem.

The supporting cast in particular, are the highlight of this film. Bernie Casey is a real standout, as the detective Arch. Low key, yet memorable portrayal with lots of nuances in his character. Totally owns all of his scenes.

Sharky's team of investigators, Henry Silva as the drug addicted assassin, and Rachel Ward turn in superb performances as well. Can't leave out the late great Dar Robinson either, doing the spectacular fall from the Atlanta Hyatt Regency.

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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…..

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Superb Reynold's Action Classic!

Author: Kieran Green ( from Scotland
16 June 2006

Burt Reynold's Direct's and star's in this great Cop film, Reynold's play's the Sharkey of the title, who is a tough cop whilst working in undercover a drug bust goes wrong, and is demoted to vice,

The machine of the title refer's to the motley crew Reynold's's assemble's to bring down a crooked governor who is involved in high class prostitution Cocaine and contract murder,

The motley crew is played by Brian Keith, Blackploitaion favorite Bernie Casey, Richard Libertini,(as alway's quirky as an ace sounds-man) Charle's Durning, as the chief, The beautiful English rose Rachael Ward play's Dominoe a $1000 dollar's a night hooker whom Reynold's's protect's and eventually fall's for, When staking out an apartment used by the governor.

Italian actor Vittorio Gassman, play's the High stake's pimp, who has a deadly gang of triad's at his disposal, And Henry DeSilva, play's His psychotic brother hit man who is highly strung On prescription painkiller's and angel Dust,

The action packed finale see's the remaining member's of the 'Machine' Engaged in a deadly shootout with Desilva, which culminate's in one the Most spectacular stunt's ever put to Celluloid,

Alas Hollywood has ran out of idea's and is contemplating a remake of Sharky's Machine! Why bother a 25th Anniversary Special Edition DVD would be ideal, not a silly ass remake,

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

touching, beautiful, thrilling and old- one piece of movie making,a ride of happiness, adventure and joy directed by the legend Burt Reynolds...

Author: ary luiz dalazen jr. ( from Brazil
1 March 1999

Before all, it is needed to brighten one thing: "Sharky's Machine" is, without a doubt, one of the most touching and involving crime dramas ever filmed. I would even go farther than that: i watched classic ones like "Bullit" and "The French Connection", all of them great films, but "Sharky's Machine" is even better! Burt Reynolds has in this film one of his most catching and talented interpretations, and behind the cameras, he showed us that he is an excellent and vigorous director. "Sharky's Machine" is the kind of movie which is not made anymore in Hollywood, it represents the golden era of the cinema, it represents Burt Reynolds, David Niven, William represents all this people and more, it represents a movie making type where people, at the time, used to put their heart and soul in doing their jobs... "Sharky's Machine" counts with shining and winning performaces by the main cast, a nervous rhythm, a climate of kindness, friendship, adventure, love and happiness. The film begins with an unforgettable scene, where Burt Reynolds must kill a dangerous and evil drug dealer on the streets of Atlanta. He has taken a bus and hostages, and Sharky has to save all of them. This scene is still one of the most well-done actions scenes of film story, and, even after all this years, the kind of tension that the star and director Reynolds put on it is unequalled! and the end of this movie is terrific, beautiful and full of joy, Henry Silva is brilliant in what may be easily his most memorable interpretation, the final shooting on the six-hundred building is one of the most catching and fast - conducted thrilling sequence of action movie scenes... The final music is so impressive that you won't get the idea if you don't hear it. The song is "Before You", and it represents the essence of the movie's idea: loneliness, love, feelings of joy, adventure and partnership."Sharky's Machine" is a must-see-it film, because even by reading my comments, you won't achieve the feeling the movie has to offer if you don't watch it!prepare for you the popcorn and the drinks, call the friends, and sit back, relax and prepare yourselves to get into a wild, brilliant and unforgettable ride!!!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Colorful Machine

Author: spelvini ( from New York City
5 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Sharky's Machine" is clearly a Burt Reynolds vehicle designed to allow the star room to strut his talents and he spray-paints the machine, the film plot, with colors from other films and other styles, offering a variety of moods within a nourish story.

Made in 1981 at 119 minutes (lengthy for the time period), the film did well, with box office grosses at $37,800,000. It had a lot going for it: Burt Reynolds actor and director, a solid one-two punch; a William Diel novel adaptation, and the south land of Atlanta Georgia, at this time, a land of opportunity for film production out of Hollywood.

Reynolds' Tom Sharky falling in love with Rachel Ward's Dominoe the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold is here echoed as it was in "Hustle" when he played opposite Catherine Deneuve, and that film also had a corrupt politician at its core, but with downbeat ending not the Hollywood happiness in "Sharky's Machine".

The story is pure Detective procedure/actioner. Sharky a narcotics detective mismanages up a bust of a drug dealer, causing the killing of some innocent bystanders, and gets demoted, literally transferred downstairs to vice, to deal with perverts, and other m misdemeanors that 'upstanding' cops consider latrine duty. His new digs offers him the chance to meet many equally upstanding officers who are doing the dirty jobs no one else wants. When some attention is pointed toward a certain pimp Sharky looks over some evidence and discovers that one particular prostitute Dominoe (Rachel Ward) - Dominoe is being shielded by police forces and political forces and Sharky sets himself up a 24-hour surveillance force to watch her. During the time he watches he learns that the current Governor-elect Hotchkins (Earl Holliman) is visiting Dominoe, as is a slick Italian gangster Victor (Vittorio Gassman). Before the police can build a case with the evidence, Billy, Victor's brother, a coke-snorting gunman (Henry Silva) shoots through the door of Dominoe's apartment seemingly killing the beautiful Dominoe, but when Sharky discovers that the murdered victim was actually a roommate Tiffany (Aarika Wells) Sharky confronts Victor and tells him that he is going to have him arrested. Sharky is captured by some Ninja killers lead by Smiley (Darryl Hickman) and is tortured for information to lead to Dominoe, but Sharky overpowers them and arrests the Governor and in a heated chase kills Billy after he has killed Victor.

Reynolds wants to exhibit the inner workings of a hardened policemen falling in love, but the police-story plot, flavored with noir element, and Reynolds ability at cinematic development tends to slick over the dynamics of the relationships.

We come to learn something about some of the men and this leads us to reason why they are working towards their pensions in vice, instead of fighting real crime- this element of the film seems sketchy under Reynolds' off-handed direction and performance.

There is always uniqueness to a Reynolds film. He likes to hire stars, either character actors or others and then allow them to improvise, sometimes with varying results.

With his crew in "Sharky's Machine" he gets some fine moments, and sometimes some overblown grandstanding but always a sense of ensemble and good-natured-ness. With Reynolds as auteur it works.

Reynolds, the actor/auteur always seems to be smirking at himself and the viewer as if to say it's all fake, but good fun.

Great line: In the scene with Victor when Sharky throws down the gauntlet "You're walkin' all over people like you own 'em ,and you wanna know the worst part? You're from out of state." This seems to be the greatest insult the officer can throw at a criminal.

Reynolds made the film in Atlanta at his career point have shot himself reading the phone book and would have surely targeted and demographic.

The film did mark the appearance of Rachel Ward who was nominated as New Star of the Year in 1981 by the Golden Globe.

Reynolds has always had presence and star power and has chosen to make films close to home, Georgia.

I got my DVD from for $7.99 and unfortunately it doesn't contain any commentary or making-of features, which is a shame. Maybe the next generation will have them.

The movie is still a lot of fun and both Reynolds and Ward are great-looking actors in their prime.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great Piece of Work!

Author: missykat from USA
10 June 1999

Sharky's Machine (also directed by Burt Reynolds) is his finest work...preceding Boogie Nights. The characters are penetrating and the performances are magnifying. Great action, great story. I urge everyone out there to find a copy and add it to their collection.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Sharky's Machine

Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
28 May 1999

Reynolds is exciting as actor and director as a wily undercover cop in this absorbing thriller. It's about cop Reynolds who cracks a prostitution ring and drug operation that finds the superstars knee deep in murder. Charles Durning co-stars.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Reynolds Last Great Film

Author: james ayala from Bronx, New York
4 May 1999

Simply put this is Reynolds last great film before his lean period, that saw him decline in popularity.Directing as well, this film has it all. As Sharky a detective bumped down to the bowels of the vice squad, Reynolds was excellent as the gritty but vulnerable veteran cop who falls in love with a prostitute played by Rachel Ward.the scenes in which Reynolds has Ward under surveillance are beautifully shot and capture the cops Loneliness and growing attachment to Ward. it's a very tricky thing to pull off and somehow it works. A great supporting cast portray his fellow cops in particular, Charles Durning, Brian Keith,Bernie Casey, John Fielder and Richard Libertini. The villains are perfect, Victoria Gassman as the crime boss and Henry Silva as his junkie brother who kills on his command. To top it off the film has been laced with a great jazz score. Overall this film has really been overlooked. In my opinion this film Rates right up there with Lethal Weapon,And of course Burt did his own stunts.

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