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