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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>
One of the things that bugs me most about the later Charles Bronson-movies is that so many of them flaunt a terrible supporting cast. Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Stephen Elliott ham it up as Bronson's boss in "Assassination" or Juan Fernandez as a creepy pimp in "Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects" but aside from one or two OK performances good old Charlie was too often surrounded by grade-C actors or good but uninspired actors, the last two decades of his career.
"Messenger of Death" however, is an exception.
Here the legendary action-hero is surrounded by the likes of Jeff Corey, Daniel Benzali, John Ireland, Charles Dierkop (Police Woman) and given likeable female support from Trish Van Devere. The story itself is just average, but certainly not as ludicrous as the paper-thin material in movies like "Assassination" and "Death Wish 4" and "5" and you know where I'm going.
British veteran director J. Lee-Thompson (Cape Fear, The Guns of Navarone) did an impressive nine movies with Bronson, and "Messenger of Death" was their 8th teaming. It opens with a horrifying scene where a large family is executed in cold blood (the entire scene is brilliantly done and much better than what one would expect from someone who just did "Death Wish 4" and "Firewalker"). The movie then delivers a lot of beautiful scenery, a smashing action-scene with some trucks and a likeable finale where the guilty party is unmasked.
Compared to most Bronson-fare at the time this is better-than-average, much thanks to the afore mentioned good supporting cast. But don't expect mindless vigilante action, Bronson plays a reporter but he still gets to kick some ass, and he does a nice job considering he was in his late sixties at the time.
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