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