Directed By: Michael Winner
Written By: Lewis John Carlino
Cinematography: Richard H. Kline and Robert Paynter (European Sequences)
Editor: Freddie Wilson and Arnold Crust Jr. (Michael Winner) 

Cast: Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent,  Keenan Wynn, Jill Ireland, Linda Edgeway, Frank De Kova, Tak Kubota, Celeste Yarnell, Enzo Fiermonte 

A professional hitman is planning to retire, always a difficult move for one in such a profession. A young apprentice appears to be eager to learn all the skills of the trade – but is that all he wants?

This was one of the Charles Bronson films I was looking forward to, as this is supposedly one of the classics for him. 

I will admit to seeing the remake with Jason Statham first. Though I enjoyed it. I thought it would be an overblown spectacle. Which it was but also improved on the material.

This, original has a great first half of the movie. As the opening 10 minutes alone are a silent masterpiece of suspense and reasoning. 

Then once he has to kill one of his friends out of duty. Even that makes sense, and with his expertise, he never makes it look like an assassination. It always looks natural or like an accident.

Though it seems in the second half of the film that is abandoned. Even when he has assistance on his assignment it is so big and doesn’t look like an accident. Then after that, his assistant who he takes on out of guilt is all of a sudden acting like an expert. When he has done one job.

The twists at the end are the only thing that saves the film. Though it is set in the 1970s at first we feel sorry for the kid but as heartless as he treats his girlfriend who is attempting suicide. Shows us how evil he is, though he passes no judgment it seems to be the quality that makes Bronson’s character accept him.

Thankfully the film is barely over 90 minutes. As whenever there is a scene with Bronson alone it becomes dull. Even though these as supposed to be moments where we get to know his character. Even though there isn’t much to be known. 

It still allows for Bronson’s charisma and Jan Michael Vincent to show off his chops early in his career. Though this film by the end felt like a disappointment for me. I can see why it has its fans. As it tries to set a tone and be moody while also having it’s Fair share of action 

Grade: C+

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


Directed By: Richard Fleischer 
Written By: Elmore Leonard 
Cinematography: Richard H. Kline 
Editor: Ralph E. Winters 

Cast: Charles Bronson, Al Lettieri, Linda Cristal, Lee Purcell, Paul Koslo, Alejandro Rey, Frank Maxwell, Jordan Rhodes 

Vietnam veteran Vince Majestyk just wants to grow his watermelons and live in peace on his farm. But the local mob boss has different ideas. When his workers are threatened Mr. Majestyk decides to lend them a hand but then the wrath of the mob is turned onto Mr. Majestyk himself. The poor mobsters don’t stand a chance.

This is an infamous Charles Bronson starring film that I am only recently catching up with and I can see why the film has such a following.

It is one of the better Charles Bronson films. As it is is again him versus the mob this time or at least a gangster/hit-man 

As usual Charles Bronson comes off as a more stiff, cheaper Clint Eastwood. This film was originally written for by Elmore Leonard not based on any of his novels. 

When we are introduced to the character we learn he is a decent man, when he sticks up for Mexicans to use the bathroom at a local gas station. As well as him exuding a tough center.

The first half of the movie really moves and feels exciting but the second half slows down. As we are forced to wait for things to build up for the finale. While impressive isn’t quite the scope we are hoping for.

As far as the action even though it is violent and full of car chases. It also gives off a western vibe where men are men. There are bare-fisted fights and shootouts and a sense of honor and over-the-top revenge for a slight.

It also doesn’t help that the main character is so single-minded. That for a character who seems smart and intuitive to continuously make mistakes. Where we know there will be hell to pay for and he seems shocked when it does happen. 

Even when he is in jail and doesn’t recognize the hitman and keeps bothering him for food and smokes and then his questionable plan after he escapes with him. 

At least the film set’s up more of a surprise villain than the original one we thought he was going to have to deal with, who came off less as a menace than an annoyance. 

Al Latteri is the main villain as when he shows up in a movie you know there will be trouble. Was kind of hoping that there was going to be a switch and that even though he looks like he might be an ally. But now he is his usual and as always impressive and repulsive in the role.

One wishes the females had more to do on screen as Linda Kristal who plays Bronson’s kind of love interest tries to help but even though written strongly and played strongly. The film still relegates her to the background and Lee Purcell the HITMAN’S Girlfriend is so prim and proper who Carries a Bible that you wonder how they got together and while those details could have led to an interesting story. She is more fully dressed eye candy and the villains are the same.

It also makes you wonder why such a high-priority criminal would be locked up in such a small town. 

The film plays pretty basic or how you expect it to. Though Charles Bronson’s character is such a gentleman to most that even when he goes to the general store and is speaking to the cashier there is a sweetness and charm that shows through. That shows the little piece of the humanity of the character and the chink in the armor of Charles Bronson in general that he seems to rarely want to show or play. It’s those moments that make the film a little different or give it humanity. 

Sure we have seen this type of film before and might expect someone like Steve McQueen to play In it. I’m not saying this one is better or worse than any other but it is quite entertaining and one of the better Bronson films I have watched, short of his known classics, such as THE DIRTY DOZEN or THE GREAT ESCAPE. This film shows why he is a screen legend and the types of roles he is known for 

Grade: C+