'Charles Bronson - 4 Movie Collection'
(Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Martin Balsam, Jill Ireland, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Check out these incredible 4 Charles Bronson movies, in this brand new Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment: 'The Valachi Papers,' 'The Stone Killer,' 'Breakout,' and 'Hard Times.'
Blu-ray Verdict: The gangster Joseph "Joe" Valachi (Charles Bronson) has worked for the Mafia for more than thirty years in New York. When he has been imprisoned for fifteen years, he learns that the mobster Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura) is offering a reward for his life.
Without any alternative other than stay in the solitaire, he accepts the DA offer of protection. In return, he has to disclose the secrets of the Cosa Nostra.
'The Valachi Papers' (1974) is based on a true story and tells the rise and fall of a gangster from the Mafia. The role of Joseph Valachi is tailored for Charles Bronson and fans of gangster movie will certainly enjoy this film.
'The Stone Killer' (1973) is everything you would expect from the pairing of star Charles Bronson and director Michael Winner. A violent, woodenly acted and convoluted actioner in which plot developments are hammered home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
The storyline has Bronson as a disgraced cop who leaves his job in New York and moves to quieter pastures on the Californian coast. He picks up a junkie wanted on a murder charge, but whilst escorting him to jail the junkie is killed in a Mob style hit.
As Bronson investigates the hit - and other killings like it - he begins to uncover preparations for a planned Mob massacre, to be staged by some ex-Vietnam veteran mercenaries.
Tom Gries ('Will Penny') directs 'Breakout' (1975) is a thin drama that casts Charles Bronson as independent pilot Nick Colton, enlisted by a desperate wife(Jill Ireland) who wants him to fly into a Mexican prison to rescue her husband(Robert Duvall) who she insists was framed by the mafia. Colton agrees for $50,000, though of course the plan doesn't go as smoothly as they had hoped.
Though this has a good cast, there is little else about this film that is memorable, and credibility isn't that high either. Some goofy comedy involving co-star Randy Quaid dressed as a woman doesn't help.
'Hard Times' (1975) aka 'The Streetfighter' is, quite easily, one of my favorite films. There is a quality about it that touches the soul. Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Strother Martin are superb. Coburn is the character. The story is great, the acting is great and the music is great, particularly the closing piece of blue grass.
I saw 'Hard Times' when it first came out and it never left me. I'm not even sure why. Perhaps because all the characters, even the antagonists are depicted as real humans and not caricatures. For example, the loan sharks mean business but aren't bloodthirsty.
They want their money and do what they have to do to collect. Interestingly they seem genuinely pleased with the resolution of their problem. Even the film's "heavy" has the decency to pay due homage to the skill of his nemesis. And once business is concluded personal relationships are renewed. In my mind this is a true classic. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.