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This is a very good Bronson thriller, that's at times creepy, with an amazing performance from Charles Bronson!. It's pretty engaging, and at times very creepy, and the ending was very memorable, plus it had quite a few shocking moments. The first 10 minutes were absolutely fantastic, it had lots of tension and was very creepy, and it was cool to see Bronson do something different, plus it was unpredictable throughout!. If your looking for lots of action, look elsewhere, however if your looking for a very good thriller, look no further as the film provides plenty of thrills and suspense!, plus the finale was great and very suspenseful. I wasn't expecting much from this film, because a lot of people consider it to be one of Bronson's worst, however i enjoyed it very much and i highly recommend it!. The Direction is very good. J. Lee Thompson does a very good job here, with good camera work and keeping the film at an engaging pace!. There is a tiny bit of blood. We get quite a few bloody gunshot wounds but that's it. The Acting is excellent!. Charles Bronson is AMAZING as he always was, and is Amazing here, he is extremely likable, convincing, was intense, kicked that ass, and was tons of fun to watch! (Bronson ruled!). Trish Van Devere is okay with what she had to do, and did her job adequately. Laurence Luckinbill is good when he was on screen and did his job well. Daniel Benzali is also good with what she had to do. Charles Dierkop,Jeff Corey and John Ireland are all awesome as the Beecham's. rest of the cast are fine. Overall highly recommended!. ***1/2 out of 5
For something completely different in a Charles Bronson movie, I recommend "Messenge of Death". Gone is a lot of mindless action, being replaced by an intriguing story line involving Mormons, greed, and a "who done it?" Having a good supporting cast, including Daniel Benzali (pre chrome dome), Laurence Luckinbill, and Trish Van Devere helps. Seems someone in Bronson's circle of rich and influential friends instigated a Mormon feud by slaughtering a family including children. As Bronson pieces together a conspiracy to acquire water rights from the Mormons, the movie holds interest. It is only the rushed conclusion that disappoints, leaving plenty of unanswered questions regarding motivation for all the killing?. - MERK
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wives 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
Bronson has always been perfect whenever he's cast in films with revenge oriented plots, and while this film doesn't exactly have a revenge oriented plot to it, it still has got many of the things that you'd expect from an Charles Bronson film, it features action, thrills, excitement, and Bronson being, well, awesome as usual. Messenger Of Death was released in the mid-to-late 1980's, a time where Charles Bronson had become a household name among the action film genre (particularly because of the Death Wish franchise), and here, he proves that he's as great as ever. But what makes it great, is that the action is written to where he's capable of performing it, he doesn't go running around like somebody half his age (like Sylvester Stallone usually does), and that's what makes him perfect for this kind of roles. Granted, I don't think that this movie is perfect, as it's got some flaws with the writing. But all the same, this is a fun movie that's worth watching if you like Bronson.
Bronson is great as usual as the hero, Garret Smith, who is investigating the murder of a family of Mormons. There's also some good supporting performances from Charles Dierkop, Laurence Luckinbill, Trish Van Devere, and Daniel Benzali. But of course, Bronson is the best. J. Lee Thompson directs the film, and he gives it the same kind of edge that he gave some of the previous collaborations he did with Bronson, such as Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, 10 To Midnight, and Murphy's Law. While I don't think that this is their best collaboration, it's still a good film that shows that the combination of Bronson and Thompson was a combination with chemistry.
There's is some action in the movie. There's a rather exciting sequence where Bronson and Trish Van Devere narrowly escape death when their car gets roughed up by some trucks from The Colorado Water Company, and there are a few scenes where Bronson goes into his action mode and licks the tar out of a few of the bad guys, particularly one of the assassins near the end of the film. When it came to action films, Bronson was in a class by himself.
All in all, while not the best action movie you'll ever see, Messenger Of Death is a movie that is bound to get some enjoyment out of fans of old-school action films. I've said this once, but I'll say it again, Bronson was one of the greatest action movie stars of all time, and this is more proof of that. Like I said, this movie is by no means a masterpiece of cinema, but it still has many things in it that make it enjoyable.
Charles Bronson stars as Garret Smith, a crime reporter for the Denver
Tribune. He learns of a horrifying incident, that of the massacre of a
Mormon family. This sets off further sparks among two brothers who
already have bad blood between them: fundamentalist preacher Willis
Beecham (Jeff Corey) and farmer Zenas Beecham (John Ireland). After
some digging around, Garret realizes that the two siblings are possibly
being manipulated by some other party.
As far as the Charles Bronson / director J. Lee Thompson / Cannon Group product goes, this isn't outright terrible, but it isn't as engrossing as their other sleazy offerings (especially "10 to Midnight" and "Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects"). Ultimately, the filmmaking / storytelling is pretty simplistic, which is a shame, as this look at a certain culture could have yielded more interesting results. Bronson plays a more upbeat character than usual, but Garret (or Garr, as friends call him) is still a typical Bronson bad ass who can hand others' asses to them without expending much energy himself. The opening set piece of the killing of innocent women and children is pretty chilling, and there's one action highlight of two big rigs sandwiching a truck in between them. But the ending is rather weak, wrapping up too quickly and producing little satisfaction.
Bronsons' supporting cast is pretty damn good: Trish Van Devere, Laurence Luckinbill, Daniel Benzali, Charles Dierkop, Corey, Ireland, Gene Davis (Bronsons' nemesis in "10 to Midnight"), Jon Cedar, Tom Everett, Kimberly Beck, William Phipps. Van Devere is lovely and appealing, and Benzali is quite amusing as the police chief who's being promoted for a run for the mayors' office.
At the very least, this offers some gorgeous scenery and a rousing music score by Robert O. Ragland.
Six out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The wife and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham become victims of a
massacre in his own house.
The police believe 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 the economic motives for the murder......
Coming from Cannon pictures, and being released between two of Bronsons greatest films of the eighties, I was expecting some silly action film that would make me laugh for all,the wrong reasons, but blimey, this is something else.
It's basically Bronson playing a nosey reporter who gets involved in other people's business and spends the majority of the film in a long warm coat.
To say its his most annoying performance is an understatement, there are time when you really start to root for the bad guys, because Bronson just turns up every now and again with that smug look on his face, and you know he's going to go a snooping again.
Now, I'm quite aware that's a journalists job, but he really takes it up to 11 at times.
But there are a couple of pluses. It has the best faked heart attack I've ever seen, and then Bronson proving a point by shooting a coffin.
And the ending, the ending is fantastic. It literally finishes with Bronson turning around with a look that's either saying 'is that all done then?', or 'that was a bit harsh'.
Believe me, it finishes like a Columbo two parter, but the first part cliffhanger.
And it's worth the insufferable ninety previous minutes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A well renowned newspaper reporter, Garret Smith(Charles Bronson),for the Denver Tribune, writes an article on the slaughter of a Mormon family, soon investigating it. He discovers that the massacred family's patriarch, Orville Beecham(Charles Dierkop) is feuding with his brother, Zenas(John Ireland) over a religious separation, a change in doctrine which divided them to the point of hatred. Smith believes someone else hired an assassin to kill the family(which included seven children)and it could be over artesian water rights Zenas wouldn't sell to the Colorado Water Company because it was farm land going back generations. Trish Van Devere is the owner of a small newspaper company who also has familial ties to the Beechams and joins forces with Smith hoping to help uncover the culprits responsible for the murders of relatives. MESSENGER OF DEATH is a bit different than the usual Bronson fare for Cannon Group, his Garret Smith more of a peacemaker trying to keep two families from annihilating each other, almost successful until the hit-man returns to sniper shoot one of the Beechams instigating a shootout which leaves very little men left. Laurence Luckinbill(Sybock of STAR TREK V)is Homer Foxx, a big supporter for the mayoral candidate, Chief Barney Doyle(Daniel Benzali), and who has an uncanny ability to motivate charitable contributions from the wealthy elite. John Solari is the repulsive assassin who, at the opening of the film, unloads shot gun blasts into defenseless Mormon women without hesitation. Gene Davis(many will recognize as the psychopath Bronson is after in 10 TO MIDNITE) is the assassin's tag-along who wants to come clean to Garret..for a price. The storyline is a little more unique than what we are accustomed to seeing in an action vehicle for Bronson, although he does get to beat the assassin's ass at the end. There's a hairy, suspenseful near-death sequence for Smith and Van Devere's Jastra Watson when two huge Colorado Water Company trucks attempt to crash them. As she does once again, Van Devere's warm, pleasant presence adds quality to the film as does the old timers like Ireland and Jeff Corey(as Willis Beecham, leader of his family's village, moving his men to act against Zenas who he believes killed Orville's family). Smith treads lightly around his more aristocratic peers, two of which own the Colorado Water Company, and is a best friend to the Denver Chief of Police. I felt the major star of this particular film was the breathtaking Denver locations.
After a massacre was committed on a family of Mormons, newspaper
reporter Garret Smith decides to dig a little deeper into the story, to
only find out that there might just be more to it then just two feuding
Another IMDb reviewer mentioned "Messenger of Death" is somewhat a change of pace for Bronson compared with his other efforts within this period, and definitely they got that right. Here it's a steely eyed Bronson doing a lot investigating and self-advertising his newspaper articles, than handing out much forcible punishment. Get ready for conversations and story development deluxe! Is more so a mystery set-up than action splurge. Actually don't fear, he gets 'some' hands on action.
This Cannon presentation can't seem to escape it's cheap, and almost TV movie quality. However this wasn't a huge fault, but the main one was it promised so much to only fizzle out. The opening atmospheric musical piece, established by haunting chants sets the mood and the beginning sequence is brutally eerie and unsparing with director J. Lee Thompson's stylish guidance. After this well-implanted beginning, what we get afterwards is mostly lacklustre and anti-climatic textbook fluff. Too bad it has to go to waste, as Thompson shows scope, ace pacing and strings along the set-pieces with a beautiful Colorado backdrop captured by fluent cinematography, but breaking it down has got to be that the story can get too causal and unintentionally comical. The revelation to what's happening just comes off feeble, and lacking. Thompson does invoke few terse spurts of suspense throughout the rest of the running time with a rather inventive brush, but this notable sequence involving two trucks loses out to the same-old, same-old pattern. Robert O. Ragland's airy, uncanny tremble that features heavily in his persistent instrumental score is really well pulled off. The religious aspect is there, but more so a stepping stool for the story to play out then share any real light on the topic. Even the money hungry and corrupt side of business corporations finds some similarities between the two, where Bronson's character becomes "the avenging angel". At least Charles Bronson makes for an appealing protagonist and he shows some colour in his calculated performance, and the support cast chip in with very solid and somewhat ripe turns. Passable Bronson venture.
Messenger of Death opens with a pair of assassins murdering nine
members of a Mormon family, all of them wives and children of Charles
Dierkop. This piques the interest of Charles Bronson who is an
investigative reporter for the Denver Tribune. He goes out there to the
hinterlands of western Colorado to investigate and turns up some
interesting information. A Mormon blood feud might not be the reason
for the massacre, the motive shall we say might be more commercial.
Bronson's a reporter who carries a licensed weapon. Remember this is Colorado folks, a very red state where they take the right to bear arms seriously. He needs it going out where he's going.
This is some real rural area where some Mormons who never accepted the change regarding polygamy. The law of the land is rather tenuously enforced here, these folks make their own laws. John Ireland and Jeff Corey pay a pair of feuding Mormon brothers, these two have some real hate for each other, they make some of those Appalachin mountain people feuds like the Oxford debating society.
Bronson has two leading ladies with naught a hint of romance with either, in Denver Marilyn Hassett in the boonies, fellow newspaperperson Trish Van Devere. He and Van Devere nearly get themselves killed by some tractor trailers in a nicely staged car chase.
Look for good performances from Daniel Benzali as the ambitious Denver Police Chief and Laurence Luckinbill as the big mover and shaker in Denver politics.
It's a good film with a peek into a world few of the rest of us ever get to see.
Messenger of Death (1988)
** (out of 4)
After three women and several children of a Mormon family are brutally murdered, reporter Garret Smith (Charles Bronson) begins to investigate and it seems the possible suspect might be between two rival members of that family. As the reporter gets deeper into his investigation his own life comes into jeopardy.
MESSENGER OF DEATH is that Bronson movie where he kills nobody. With that said, it should come as no surprise that this film was the least popular of his Cannon movies at both the box office and the video rental market. If you ask die-hard Bronson fans what their least favorite Cannon film is more than likely they're going to name this if they've even seen it. MESSENGER OF DEATH doesn't completely work but it's still a mildly entertaining mystery that at least gives us a chance to see Bronson in a different type of role.
J. Lee Thompson does a pretty good job in his directing duties and especially during the opening sequence where a mystery man enters a house and murders several people. The editing of this sequence is very well-done and the director handles it quite well. I'd argue that we're also given a couple fun action scenes including Bronson in a jeep going up against a couple semis trying to run him off the road. As far as the legend actor goes, for the most part he's actually pretty good here. He's certainly believable as a reporter and it's nice seeing him in this type of role. The supporting cast is also good in their parts and you'll also see some familiar faces including Gene Davis (10 TO MIDNIGHT), Tom Everett and Kimberly Beck (FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER).
So, where does MESSENGER OF DEATH go wrong? For starters, the budget was extremely low so I'm sure many interesting scenes were never filmed. Another problem is that its main story just isn't all that interesting. The mystery aspect could have been played up a lot better but too often the film falls back to a formula action picture where we see Bronson whooping up on people. These action scenes just don't sit too well with an otherwise talky picture. MESSENGER OF DEATH isn't your typical Bronson movie but it's certainly not the worst of his career.
'Avenging Angels' or as it is known as elsewhere ' Messenger of Death' is a modestly entertaining Charles Bronson film which goes to show that the over the hill legend still has what it takes, The superbly photographed eerie opening see's Wifes and children of the Mormon household become victims of a massacre. Bronson is Journalist Smith who is out to investigate the gruesome case and and finds out about economic motives behind the murders. Mrs George C.Scott 'Trish Van Devere' also stars as does western legend Jeff Corey as a seedy Patriarch. John Ireland also co-stars. all in all it is an entertaining and well made 'B' movie from J.Lee Thompson 'The Guns of Naverone' 'Cape Fear'
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