Brannigan (1975)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Mar 26, 1975 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This police procedural, which stands alongside the more exciting McQ as John Wayne's answer to the Dirty Harry-inspired wave of 1970s cop movies, is solid but unexceptional action fare. Brannigan often feels like an exercise in missed opportunities due to its unambitious script: the crime-boss-gets-kidnapped premise robs the film of the opportunity to give Wayne a single memorable villain to square off against, and the lovely and inspired choice of an English setting is ultimately wasted because the story never taps into this setting in any kind of resonant way. Despite this general lack of inspiration, Brannigan still manages to offer some modest rewards to the action aficionado thanks to its thorough sense of craftsmanship. Director Douglas Hickox gives the film an agreeably professional sense of gloss and is aided in his efforts by a jazzy, rousing Dominic Frontiere score. More importantly, the cast gives the film a much-needed sense of personality: Wayne is his usual raffishly charming self as the gruff titular cop and Richard Attenborough does a nice job of holding the screen with him as his English policeman foil. All in all, the low-key appeal of Brannigan might be lost on those not impressed by John Wayne's charisma, but it is worth a look for his fans and viewers who appreciate old-fashioned action films.