Murphy's Law (1986)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Apr 18, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This often silly but fitfully amusing potboiler is one of the better Charles Bronson vehicles from his 1980s era. Gail Morgan Hickman's script makes up for what it lacks in originality and believable dialogue with plenty of colorful B-movie characterizations, a lively pace, and a string of amusing action set pieces. Director J. Lee Thompson fails to invest the movie with any kind of real dramatic weight but his slick direction keeps things moving nicely and he wisely fleshes out the supporting cast with plenty of familiar faces. Those familiar faces play a big part in making Murphy's Law entertaining: Lawrence Tierney has a darkly amusing bit as an ill-fated private eye, Carrie Snodgrass throws plenty of method-actor theatrics into her psycho killer role, and Richard Romanus is a hoot as the tough-talking but secretly cowardly mob boss with a grudge against Jack Murphy. In terms of leads, Bronson is his usual stone-faced self but sidekick Kathleen Wilhoite proves to be a likable comedic foil despite the groan-worthy dialogue she is saddled with. In the end, Murphy's Law is far from Bronson's best work but energetic enough to keep his fans entertained.