Picks and Pans Review: Murphy's Law

updated 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Break out the body bags. Charles Bronson is back, this time as a divorced cop who is framed and then arrested for a string of murders. Before he can be tried, he escapes from jail to hunt for the real murderer. Bronson picks up an unlikely sidekick, a foul-mouthed street punk played with pluck by Kathleen Wilhoite, who seems to have cast a spell over the perennially wooden actor; he appears more genuine than ever in their bantering scenes. Bronson can afford to kick back in Murphy's Law, because for once someone else—a psychotic played by Carrie Snodgress—bumps off most of the cast. Snodgress, acting with too much gusto and too little menace, has a death wish for Bronson and others who collared her for a crime a decade earlier. Director J. Lee Thompson, a veteran of six Bronson films, deftly orchestrates the violent segments. The pace lags periodically, but true-blue Bronson buffs will get their money's worth. (R)

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