The Stone Killer (1973)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Aug 8, 1973 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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The teaming of director Michael Winner and star Charles Bronson here results in a hard-boiled cop thriller with a high body count. Gerald Wilson's script, which is based on a novel by John Gardner, is pure pulp with a plot that lards its multiple twists and turns with an equal amount of bullet-riddled corpses. The dialogue might work in plenty of sermons on social ills (everything from race relations to the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans) but it never distracts from the action -- there's a punch-up, shootout or chase at least once every reel. The actors don't have much to work with as the characters are types instead of flesh-out characterizations but they all acquit themselves nicely: Bronson carries the film in usual stoic fashion but there is also nice support work from Martin Balsam as a vengeance-driven mob boss, Ralph Waite as an unapologetically racist cop and Paul Koslo as a creepy jazz-loving assassin. Winner orchestrates the mayhem in a no-nonsense fashion, maintaining a taut pace that keeps the complex narrative in focus and hammering home the action sequences with bone-breaking élan. Ultimately, The Stone Killer won't convert anyone who doesn't already enjoy pulp-style action flicks but fans will find plenty of fast-paced carnage to enjoy here. It's definitely one of the best Bronson-Winner team-ups.