Murphy’s Law (1986) – Review

1 Star

Poor ol’ Charlie Bronson is back in Murphy’s Law, which is being billed as an action packed thriller. In actuality, there is little action and even fewer thrills along the way. This is another entry in the seemingly endless stream of Bronson cop movies released under the Cannon films distribution banner during the 1980’s. This isn’t as atrocious as the vile and mean-spirited The Evil That Men Do, but it is equally shoddy story-wise and in terms of production value.

Stone-faced Bronson is Jack Murphy, a boozing homicide detective with an attitude problem and a ex-wife who is working as an exotic dancer. After an altercation about her profession, Murphy’s former spouse turns up dead and Jack is the prime suspect, but he’s innocent and now must eluded his captors while handcuffed to a foul-mouthed teen-aged female thief (Wilhoite). Murphy spends the rest of the film dragging the protesting girl around, while he hijacks a police helicopter and sets out to clear his name. The duo are pursued by vengeful cops, local gangsters and a psychopathic murderer.

Overwrought action-film conventions spoil this 48hrs. wannabe. Though the filmmakers strive for a film noir atmosphere, the modern slang and (endless) insults from Kathleen Wilholte destroy the throwback vibe.

Murphy’s Law does offer a few interesting characters and scenes. The inclusion of a female villain is a novel idea that is poorly used, even the climactic showdown between her and Brosnan is mishandled to boot. One more nail in the late cinematic career of the venerable screen veteran.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Charles Bronson, Kathleen Wilhoite, Carrie Snodgress

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