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Frank D. Gilroy
Wifes and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham become victims of a massacre in his own house. The police believes the crime had a religious motive. Orville doesn't give any comment on the case, is taken into protective custody. Journalist Smith persuades him to help him in the investigation - and finds out about economic motives for the murder. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Average by most standards, but good by late Bronson standards
Messenger of Death makes a much better swansong for the pairing of Bronson and Thompson than their last collaboration, the dire Kinjite. The kind of film that would be a cable movie today and which didn't trouble movie theatres for long on its way to video back in 1988, there's nothing particularly special about it, but Bronson made so many bad movies near the end of his career that it's always a pleasure to come across a half-good one. In something of a throwback to his early TV series Man With a Camera, Bronson's a crime reporter (albeit a modern-day one) whose investigation of a brutal massacre of a family of Mormons soon uncovers two breakaway cults lead by brothers John Ireland and Jeff Corey whose vicious blood feud is being exploited by the local water company. There aren't many surprises, the performances veer from competent (Bronson, John Ireland) via misjudged (Daniel Benzali) and hammy (Laurence Luckenbill) to just plain over the top (Corey) and the rushed ending is pretty awful, but for the most part its well directed and just well crafted enough to pass an hour-and-a-half entertainingly enough.
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