Tuesday, 29 November 2011



If you think Charles Bronson, chances are the titles that leap to mind instantly are the Death Wish series, The Great Escape, Once Upon A Time In The West, maybe The Dirty Dozen - his A-list films. Probably less likely to come to mind immediately would be his later B-movies for the Cannon Group, films like Assassination, 10 To Midnight or this very silly cop thriller in which he spends a good chunk of the first hour handcuffed to a woman forty-three years his junior. Sadly, there isn't much in the way of development for their May-December (or more accurately, February-December) relationship: he's 65, she's 22, and frankly it would have been a far more fascinating film if either or both of them had been perfectly happy (or better still, enthusiastic) about the situation. Alternatively, if the ages had been reversed and Justin Timberlake was handcuffed to Angela Lansbury.

Murphy's Law ("if anything can go wrong, it will", a maxim that's actually included in the lyrics of the end title song) isn't to be confused with Jack Murphy's Law: "Don't **** with Jack Murphy!". Jack Murphy (Bronson) is a tough and grizzled homicide cop with a short temper and a fondness for the bottle. His wife has left him, shacked up with a sleazy bar owner and taken up dancing in a strip club; he's trying to arrest a mobster for murder. But then he's arrested for the murder of his wife - all the evidence says he did it - and the only way out is to go on the run. Trouble is, through an absurd set of circumstances he's handcuffed to Kathleen Wilhoite as a punkette car thief with an astonishing talent for creative swearing, so they both have to track the real murderer down....

It all climaxes at the Bradbury Building, probably most famous as the location for the final reels of Blade Runner and, according to GoogleMaps, it's still there. Murphy's Law is boneheaded nonsense with an interesting odd-couple on the trail of a serial killer trying to dodge the police as well as the mob, but it is rather fun with a near-geriatric Bronson paired with street trash Wilhoite snarling out insults like "you snot-licking donkey fart" and "dildo-nose": things which are simultaneously hilariously inventive and tiresomely childish. Bronson's always great, but it isn't really one of his better films (10 To Midnight is trashier, nastier and funnier). Made in 1986.


Don't "mess" with Jack Murphy:

No comments: