Charles Bronson plays Jack Murphy a veteran police detective who is framed for the murder of his ex-wife. Although taken into custody, Murphy escapes from the police station handcuffed to a foul-mouthed car thief. Pursued by the police, Murphy must find the real killer before it is too late.Written by
Michael A Kortt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Life for police detective Jack Murphy is the pits, especially after his wife left him and has become a stripper. He hit's the bottle, and gets into scuffles with his fellow officers. Things get worse when he's suddenly framed for his wife and lover's murder, and he's arrested. He gets handcuffed to the dirty-mouthed street thief he caught earlier. By chance they both manage to escape and Murphy goes after the real killer, to only find out he's the one being preyed upon by the mafia and psychotic murderer.
This tough guy image really works for Charles Bronson, and makes any standard revenge story compelling. In it's defence, this Bronson vehicle (produced by Cannon) might be routine, but Gail Morgan Hickman's above average screenplay has plenty going on and throws our way a few effective surprises. The strategic story is grounded by its hard as nails approach, where the sombre and seedy urban atmosphere can be a brutal smack in the guts. Even the humour has that dark touch, but what did get tiresome was the constant potty-language and banter erupting from Kathleen Wilhoite's explosively charming character. Did it grate! The compulsively uneven, but hard-bitten script keeps on the move and can draw tension, but never goes in to much depth of the characters and situations. What begins interestingly enough, changes course for a buddy story with awkward attempts of humour and nastiness. In parts it kinda reminded me of Eastwood's superior action film "The Gauntlet (1977)".
J. Lee Thompson's efficient direction is sharply observed and packs grittiness, but really lacked the avid jolts. The professional camera work visually gets amongst the dirt, but can provide some airy scope. The crisp sounding music score is very well balanced. A weary looking Bronson might look like he's slumming it in, but his low-scale turn works accordingly and keeps you hanging on. Kathleen Wilhoite's lively chemistry with Bronson wasn't bad. Carrie Snodgress neatly goes about her psychotic part with utter coldness and Richard Romanus is perfectly cast as a seamy mobster. Look out for an amusing cameo role by Lawrence Tierney.
Roughly engaging and mildly humorous revenge b-film.
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