Mr. Majestyk (1974)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Jul 12, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This darkly witty action tale is one of the best Charles Bronson vehicles from the 1970s. Mr. Majestyk rises above its revenge melodrama roots thanks to a quirky, inspired script by veteran crime novelist Elmore Leonard; he populates the tale with unusual characters (this must be the only action movie with a melon farmer as the hero), packs the plot with plenty of unexpected twists, and works some interesting commentary about labor unions and police corruption into the action. Director Richard Fleischer handles the proceedings with economic style, keeping the action moving at a slick, steady clip, but giving the actors enough room to flesh out their roles. This was a wise choice because the role of Majestyk brings out Bronson's underrated skill for deadpan wit and Al Lettieri is a worthy equal to Bronson, blending machismo and offhand wit to create a menacing yet charismatic antagonist. Paul Koslo also steals a few scenes with an inspired character performance as a sniveling small-time crook who gets caught in the crossfire. All in all, Mr. Majestyk is a tight, nicely understated piece of work that is a must for Bronson fans.