The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Charles Bronson is cooler than you; Netflix review: Mr. Majestyk

So after signing up with Netflix this summer, I've been catching up with a lot of movies that in the past I either couldn't find or couldn't afford. I pay about 10 bucks a month and see eight or nine movies a month if the mail cooperates. After watching the Death Wish movies on AMC last week, I was in a Charles Bronson state of mind so Mr. Majestyk went to the top of the queue.

Bronson plays Vince Majestyk, a Vietnam vet who now owns a 160-acre spread where he grows melons. It's harvest time and the crops needs to be brought in which leads to trouble when local a-hole Bobby Kopas (Paul Koslo) brings in his own crew to work Majestyk's fields for cheap. Vince is having none of that, and after a shotgun showdown, including a rifle butt to Kopas' crotch, he finds himself in jail.

Cue classic 70s villain Al Lettieri (The Godfather's Virgil Solozzo) as mafioso hit man Frank Renda. An escape attempt goes wrong, and Majestyk ends up on Renda's bad side. Majestyk now just wants to get his melon crop in before it's too late so he agrees with the evil "fuzz" to be bait to see if Renda will come back and finish him off.

All-around, a good Bronson action drama when the stone-faced actor was at the top of his game in the years following the first Death Wish. Bronson will never be called a great actor, but he was always a presence on screen, whether it be as a supporting part in John Sturges' 1959 WWII story 'Never So Few' or here when he was a bankable action star. He handles the action well, especially in the final shootout, and his attempts at humor work.

The rest of the cast is solid, especially Lettieri as the villain you love to hate. Linda Cristal (Flaca in John Wayne's The Alamo) is Nancy, a migrant worker who starts off working for Majestyk but ends up dating him, and Koslo as local troublemaker Bobby Kopas is a good counter to Lettieri's tough guy.

The DVD is a good buy, offering widescreen and standard presentations, with a short trailer the only special feature. Not a classic, but certainly worth a watch.

*** out of ****
Mr. Majestyk trailer from Youtube

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