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

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Index 56 reviews in total 

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I play the street life! It's the only life I know!

Author: jackwwalsh from Orlando, FL
3 May 2004

Without a doubt, the best Burt Reynolds film ever! Even better than Smokey and the Bandit. This was probably the first real bloody cop thriller of the 1980s and delivered the perfect blend of humor, action, mystery and style that is missing in today's films.

This one has it all: A psychotic Henry Silva jacked up on PCP, $1,000 a night call girls, ninja assassins and Burt Reynolds getting his fingers sliced off, one by one, with a butterfly knife. The film is based on the novel by William Diehl who also wrote PRIMAL FEAR, another one of my all-time favorites. This movie is worth watching just to see Henry Silva get shot six times, crash through a window, and fall thirty stories from the top of an Atlanta high-rise. This is probably the coolest stunt in Hollywood history, performed by legendary stuntman Dar Robinson.

Robinson also played "Moke" in the Elmore Leonard movie STICK, also starring Burt Reynolds. Stick features another great Dar Robinson stunt. Robinson falls from a Miami apartment building and unloads all six shots from a .44 magnum on his way down. Very cool stuff.

SHARKY'S MACHINE is my favorite police drama. I never understood why this film flopped the way it did. If Burt did more films like this, he would've built a better reputation for himself. He proves to be a talented director with Sharky, as well as a gifted actor. Burt is supported by Brian Kieth, Charles Durning, Bernie Casey, Richard Libertini, Rachel Ward, and everyone's favorite bad guy Henry Silva. PLEASE remake this classic film! Get Affleck and Samuel L. and some other hot actors and you've got a great movie just waiting to be filmed.

I give it a 9 out of 10

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Still great after all these years...

Author: Jean (jfg1) from Lawrenceville, GA
25 July 2002

I saw "Sharkey's Machine" when it first came out, but haven't watched it for many years. I found the DVD recently and decided to spend the $10.00. Probably the best $10.00 I've spent for a movie. "Sharkey" is still as tense and realistic as it was back then. It's too bad that Burt Reynolds never made another movie like this one. I prefer it to "Boogie Nights". It's cleaner and simpler. I wore out my cassette tape of the sound track. I wish I could find it on CD. Having grown up in Atlanta, I miss the city in the movie.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Definitely Burt Reynold's best.

Author: thirty6min
28 June 2001

If you don't rent this movie, you are missing Burt Reynold's best work. I saw Burt Reynold's first Western at a very young age and thought he looks like Sean Connery. If he had taken the same route as Connery to horde his talent and wait for better scripts, he would still be turning out great works. His talents were wasted on all those mindless comedies that he took on for whatever reasons. Sharky's Machine brings out the inner strength of this fine actor. He somehow convinced me that he is really falling in love with this woman he is watching through a binocular. Given that the woman is Rachel Ward, that may not be so hard. Chicks may like this movie since it shows a tough guy can be sensitive too. The supporting cast is superb. Brian Keith, Bernie Casey and the lot of them grab your attention and make you care about what would happen to the characters. Cannot believe it has been twenty years since I saw this movie. Guys and chicks can both enjoy this fine piece of work.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

What's he auditing for, a job at Benihana's?

Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY
21 September 2005

***SPOIERS*** Atlanta crime auctioneer with Burt Reynolds,Sgt. Sharky, and his tough and well oiled "Sharky's Machine" Let. Frisco, Charles Durning, and officers Papa & Arch, Brian Keith & Berney Casey, breaking up the Atlanta crime Syndicate who's on the verge of putting "Their Man" in the Geroria Governor's State House.

Busted after messing up a major drug police sting operation, with the drug dealer and a number of innocent pedestrians shot and killed, Sgt. Sharky was transfered into vice. Busting hookers johns and perverts Sgt. Sharky finds a list of call girls in the wallet of a top Atlanta pimp and after bugging one of the call girls apartment it turns out that she's having Don Hotchkins, Earl Holliman, a candidate for governor as a regular costumer.

As Sharky starts to investigate this strange arraignment he finds out that the good family man, married with five children, Hotchkins is also on the payroll of Vittorio "Victor" Gassman the mob "Godfather" of Atlanta.The high-price call-girl Dominoe, Rachel Ward,who's involved with Hotchkins is tired of being a hooker and want's to leave Victor's stable of call-girls and live with Hotchkins as his live-in mistress after he gets elected governor of Georgia, which is already a forgone conclusion, but their's only one slight hitch; will Victor let go of her.

Tangling with the Gassman Syndicate the corrupt Atlanta police and city officials, as well as the local Chinese mob, Sgt. Sharky ends up losing most of his men, including two of his fingers, as he brings down the Gassman Mafia in a final shoot-out with the his Mobsters at the famous Atlanta Peachtree Plaza Hotel's.

Statueques and beautiful Rachel Ward as Dominoe is thought to have been murdered by Gassman's drugged-out hit-man Billy Score,Henry Silva,who blew her face off with a shot gun but in reality it turned out that he really killed Dominoe's call-girl room-mate Tiffany, Aarika Wells, with Dominoe away in the country.

Sharky, who was in love with Dominoe from afar, found out the truth about her being alive and to the surprise and shock of mob kingpin Victor Gassman is going to use her, by getting Dominoe to testify against him, to put Gassman and his mob away for good but the cunning and vicious Victor wasn't going to go willingly and let Sharky know it sooner then he thought.

Blood spattering shootout at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel in the films final sequence with Shark'y Machine having it out with the almost indestructible junkie hit-man Billy Score. Shooting it out on the hotel stairway both Billy Score and Sharky's machine member Arch come face to face with Billy's drug induced invincibility clashing with Arch's Zen reality alerting philosophy in what can best be said to be a battle of two cultures: West and East.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A good Saturday nighter

Author: TrevorAclea from London, England
30 June 2008

Burt Reynolds' riposte to Clint Eastwood encroaching on his redneck comedy turf with his orangutan comedies was to make his own Dirty Harry in Chicago-style thriller, Sharky's Machine. Originally intended for John Boorman but in the end directed by the star himself, it's an out-and-out commercial package with Reynolds a narc who gets busted down to the Vice Squad (literally - they're in the basement) who sets out to nail a mysterious crime lord who is backing Earl Holliman as the next governor. You can guess the rest, but while Reynolds tends to lose sight of the story at times he has a good eye for individual scenes and almost gets a performance out of Rachel ward as the high-class hooker he falls for. The romantic subplot is unusually well developed, there are a couple of good action scenes and some nice touches, such as having Vittorio Gassman's lookalike villain a mirror image of the hero or Reynolds and a killer both staking out a witness from adjacent apartments in the same building. One of the star's better films from his glory days, it's no classic but it makes for a more than efficient Saturday night special.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Burt as a undercover cop who falls for the wrong lady

Author: goya-4 from PA USA
19 September 2000

Burt Reynolds stars as an undercover cop who is after a crime boss.. Rachel Ward as the high price call girl he falls for..Burt does well in this role and I think he would've done well in more roles like this..

Rachel Ward is beautiful and sexy in her part..good pacing and story but something is missing in the equation.. on a scale of one to ten..7

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


18 January 2000

A good movie featuring Burt Reynolds is as rare as rocking horse s**t but "SHARKY'S MACHINE" is a surprisingly good thriller.The high priest of hairpieces did a fine job here both as actor and director of this tough as nails cop drama and looked as though he was on an upswing as a credible screen presence at long last abandoning the stupid grin and irritating laugh that helped to crucify his career.This was not to last long,however,a couple of years later in a bowel movement of a movie called "STROKER ACE" Reynolds (an action hero of sorts)dressed up as a chicken or rabbit or somesuch causing audiences the world over to look at him and say "No more,no more...".Reynolds probably did not realise then or now that this was what ended his box office success and if he had parted company from hack Hal Needham and developed the skills he showed in "SHARKY" and to a lesser success "THE END" he might have some credibility left today.What can you expect though from a man who even in his 60s allowed himself to appear on screen covered in vaseline in another piece of celluloid excrement called "STRIPTEASE" with the equally tiresome Demi Moore.Nuff said.

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0 out of 1 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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1 out of 3 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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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of Burt's Best!

Author: Philip Aldredge from United States
1 March 2006

In short if you want to watch Burt Reynolds best films than this one must be included. If you don't like Burt you may still like this. If you love Burt this may become one of your favorite movies of all time! Being from Atlanta it does hit home but it's also nice to see a cop/action/drama that takes place somewhere other than NY City, Chicago, Miami, or LA. The film is funny at points with & good plot & good performances from a great supporting cast (every character is real & the bad guys are not so one sided they are really well thought out)A nice offbeat romance in the 2nd half & it has some good old fashion shootouts & fistfights (no CGI thank God REAL ACTION!)

If Clint Eastwood did his best impression of a Burt Reynolds movie with "Every Which Way But Loose" & "Any Which Way You Can" then Burt responded with his best Clint type flick with this, & it comes off great!

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