10 TO MIDNIGHT (1983)

Story & Directed By: J. Lee Thompson 

Written By: William Roberts 

Cinematography: Adam Greenberg 

Editor: Peter Lee-Thompson 

Cast: Charles Bronson, Lisa Eilbacher, Andrew Stevens, Gene Davis, Geoffrey Lewis, Wilford Brimley, Robert Lyons, Ola Ray, Kelly Preston, Beau Billingslea, Bert Williams 

An LAPD detective and his rookie partner are on the trail of a psychopathic young man who is murdering young women.


I have recently been trying to catch up On Charles Bronson’s films besides his known classics. Glad I started with this one, where one can get an understanding of his appeal and charm. As he kind of Constantly Has a Clint Eastwood kind of stoicism where he must always be tough and gruff but always seems to have a good heart. 

The film has a cool-sounding title that unfortunately means nothing when it comes to the plot of the movie. Though As you watch the film this is a movie more built around a star and his image. 

Unfortunately, the films he was in he was usually better than the material and they weren’t as memorable as other films at the box office or less seen. As his films particularly in the 1980’s feel familiar and just cheaper than his contemporaries. Sort of like if there were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis at the time. He would be the straight-to-home video version of them as a peer. Sort of like Chuck Norris films at the time. 

This film presents him more in his later years where he is in more in a modern time where things seem more disposable and cheap. 

While the film isn’t a western it feels like one with the anti-hero, a hero of very few words. He is smarter than most around him, but also a man of action more than anything. As he even does the right thing which is understandable in the film Context but horrible in reality. As he breaks the law for the right reasons but really for his own purposes. That has consequences and Places a moral quandary In the middle of the film. It also allows him to better set a trap.

Throughout Charles Bronson comes off as mroe subdued the opposite of Gene Davis who plays the killer as more over the top. Though the film offers good one-liners and good back and forth between characters especially Bronson, Andrew Stevens, and Lisa Eilbacher who plays his daughter. 

The film comes off as sleazy and exploitative. As whenever there is a murder. As the killer is naked to not leave behind any evidence supposedly. His victims usually young women are often killed in the nude. Which makes the killings feel More Cruel and sadistic more like sexual assaults than anything. The film Spells out Early and the film Doesn’t Present it subtlety Either with him even saying that the knife is like a penis and he gets to penetrate them. 

The film does have the feeling of 1980‘s excess with the graphic violence and nudity. Which seems there to please the Audience more than anything. Charles Bronson is so Cool though he can even be forgiven for his more comical running at the end. 

Happy to see that the film is more of a Thriller than an action film. Even if at times it feels more like an episode of a police procedural. Though it sets up Bronson’s tough attitude at the Beginning with a Scene that Is supposed to be comedic. As throughout the film Bronson is shown to be more old school and Seems Stuck in a time where everything is kind of new wave or a victim Of modern-day politics of law and order.

Kind of a little of the death wish Mentality that got him a fan base of more blue-collar guys with that same kind of mentality that modern-day Risks and culture are too soft and tie The hands of law enforcement and Seem To care more about the criminals’ feelings and rights.

The last act becomes more of a massacre that feels like it belongs more in a horror film. 

The film is pretty open and shut but stays entertaining throughout. The film ends up better than expected despite itself. I Hope More of his films are like this. 

Grade: B

THE LADIES CLUB (1986)

Directed By: A.K. Allen
Written By: Fran Lewis Ebeling & Paul Mason
Based on the novel “THE SISTERHOOD” By: Casey Bishop & Betty Black Cinematography: Adam Greenberg
Editor: Marion Segal & Randall Torno

Cast: Karen Austin, Diana Scarwid, Christine Belford, Bruce Davison, Beverly Todd, Marilyn Kagan, Arliss Howard, James LeGros, Carol Baxter, Paul Terafotes 

A raped policewoman forms a vigilante group of various rape victims. They abduct and castrate men whom have committed repeated violations of women, and got away with it through legal technicalities.

This rape-revenge vigilante tale is a little different In the way that the revenge seems to never be to kill the men who rape repeatedly. Like Batman, that question only seems to come late but they punish the men by castrating them.

The film for the tawdry subject matter. Plays more like a television movie on the subject as there is barely any bad language and at times the scenes while well-meaning in their direction and emotions come off more melodramatic and unintentionally humorous. 

Especially the scene when a character you get sister is sexually assaulted (luckily never shown) but the aftermath and how it is shown just seems like Something out of a public device announcement you would show to school children about the dangers of going off with a stranger. 

When it begins the film seems like it will be typical and even the perpetrators seem more of a stock room of suspects punks who are looking to rob a house. Discover she is a cop and then decide to rape her and they get off on court easily by acting and dressing like choir boys.

We meet various female characters throughout some of whom stay with their spouses who claim to not even believe them When they said they were raped (what). 

Though most of the males come off bad or unsympathetic by the end. Even Bruce Davison playing a fellow cop who is interested in Karen comes off as a weakling and ineffective even as he tries to romance her and be there for her. 

Arliss Howard shows up playing a co-star’s husband who when he finds out what she is dining and breaking the rules by telling him. As she only tells him because he suspects she was having an affair. He comes across more aggressive and abusive to be believably supportive later on.

While we meet plenty of these women in the group. We only get to know three In particular and by the end the one who didn’t sure become the strongest advocate for what they are doing and the one who was gung- ho at first. Now has reservations.

The third act while obviously done for dramatic purposes seems silly and only there for the ending to finally put a fine point on all of this.

So while the film offers a different take on the vigilante tale. Including where it seems the original Perpetrators that start off the lead and who is the very reason they seek revenge never really come back. 

So the film is something to entertain but very hard to take seriously watching it through the prism of modern times.

Grade: C