Picks and Pans Review: 10 to Midnight
First, take a story about a battle-weary cop who wages a personal war against street crime and makes it seem that the way of the vigilante might not be so bad after all. Next, hire a graying Charles Bronson to play the cop. Finally, use a publicity campaign that has Death Wish III written all over it. Sounds like enough to keep people out of the theaters in droves, doesn't it? Surprisingly, this film creates a taut, suspenseful game of psychotic cat-and-mouse and even steps aside to comment on the loopholes in our legal system. There are four solid performances. Bronson skillfully underplays the role of an embittered cop on the trail of a slasher who preys on women. Lisa (An Officer and a Gentleman) Eilbacher, as Bronson's estranged daughter, and Andrew Stevens round off the trio of believable good guys. Gene (Night Games) Davis, as the murderer, brings the countenance of a schoolboy to his vengeful character, a manic depressive who is not the most fun date on campus. Israeli filmmakers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, responsible for such dubious ventures as 1981 's Enter the Ninja and 1982's Death Wish II, are the executive producers of this perhaps accidentally substantial film. J. Lee (The Guns of Navarone) Thompson directed and, without skimping on the sex or violence, made this a film that offers some exposition along with the exploitation. (R)
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