J. Lee Thompson
Murphy’s Law (1986): Detective Jack Murphy (Bronson) is framed for the murder of his ex-wife and thrown in the slammer along with a young sewer-mouthed miscreant (Kathleen Wilhoite). Bent on revenge against whomever is guilty of trying to ruin his life, he has to deal with the local mobster (Richard Romanus) and a crazed serial killer (Carrie Snodgress), both bent on skewering his sagging ass.
Messenger of Death (1988): Bronson plays Garrett Smith, star reporter for a Denver newspaper and assigned to a gruesome case in which an entire Mormon family, women and children included, is gunned down in their own home. Hot on the trail of the killers, Smith bumps into unusual situations involving a bizarre family feud, Mormon fanatics and a political power play.
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989): A film about a tough vice cop, his molested daughter and a few Asian whores. In case you need to know more, the cop is Charles Bronson, the molested daughter is his and the Asian whore is the daughter of the guy who molested the daughter and who Bronson is now assigned to save. How can one go wrong?
Murphy’s Law, 1986 (4): Probably my favorite of the four-disc set, Murphy’s law sees the great Bronson getting upstaged by Kathleen Wilhoite who provides us with some of the best comic relief I’ve seen today and proves that funny sidekicks don’t always have to be talentless idiots with a stupid gimmick (Chris Tucker anyone?). Bronson delivers another no-nonsense performance and spouts out more great lines including his own version of the classic Murphy’s law as he wades through the seedier parts of town looking for someone to hang. As is the case with 10 TO MIDNIGHT though, this is pretty exclusively reserved for fans of the genre and for those who don’t mind getting a bit "retro" in their DVD flicks. Overall, MURPHY’S LAW dishes out great fun with a good mix of laughter and action.
Messenger of Death, 1988 (2.5): A pretty decent offering but overall quite average, MESSENGER OF DEATH is full of great ideas and yet, didn’t really manage to grab me by the nuts or make me care for everyone involved. Bronson is equal to himself (yet again) but doesn’t have a very strong supporting cast to work with, save for John Ireland who plays one of the Mormon brothers. Weakest of all is Daniel Benzali as the politically ambitious police chief. This guy was acclaimed a few years back for his role in the TV series MURDER ONE, but he was damn weak here. The story basically delivers a few interesting twists and some weird situations, but in the end turns out to have a pretty basic ending. The movie is decent to watch if your expectations aren’t raised by the raucous fun of the previous two flicks, but it’s definitely not the one you’ll remember on your deathbed.
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, 1989 (3): There are few certainties in life, but one of them is that you rarely go wrong with films about the seedy underbelly of Asian prostitution rings. This film is a decent (and pretty disturbing) look into that world depicting graphic rape and murder scenes and implying many others. I went into it with some high expectations considering the box blared out that this was “Bronson’s best ever”, which considering his appearances in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE DIRTY DOZEN, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and other such classics, raised the bar pretty high. Unfortunately, the critic who uttered those lines surely passed over Bronson’s great early career in which his was the lynchpin of many a classic and based his opinion on his less successful run through the eighties. KINJITE: FORBIDDEN PASSIONS is a standard look into the life of a cop on the edge with a couple of shock scenes sprinkled throughout. Not a Bronson classic but worth a look nonetheless