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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars

on 24 October 2017
Back in the 80s, dumb macho potboilers were bread 'n butter for the action genre crowd. Even though the scripts were tedious and the budgets low, there was a certain naïveté to all the bullets and bombs going off and thankfully audiences were gifted with more than ex-WWE muscle men in the lead. Back then, we had a plethora of bona fide character actors doing the derring-do with one Charles Bronson still heading up the pack, even though nearing the twilight of his career - he still had enough juice in the tank to crank out a bevvy of actioners for his ever adoring crowd, which this is one.

In this 1986 thriller, Bronson essays the role of Jack Murphy (as in Murphy's Law... geddit? Erm), an embittered LA detective who loves nothing more than hitting the bars and living life in a darkened haze of booze and bad attitude. Just coming to terms that his ex-wife Jan (Angel Tompkins) has now become a stripper (don't leave just yet!), Murphy is on a personal and professional nosedive when he discovers that he's being framed for a series of murders, all bearing the same MO: They're all people connected to Murphy. When Jan is also murdered, Murphy is hold up in custody but not one to taking this sort of thing lying down - he escapes with handcuffed con McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite), now tied together and both hellbent on a mission to crack the case of whom is framing Jack, and inexplicably... why?

Sandwiched between the third and fourth 'Death Wish' movies for turd-extraordinaire's The Cannon Group, this silly actioner is a solid hoot from beginning to end. Thankfully lead Bronson is on fine form and seems genuinely invested in his character this time, ably supported by a creepy performance from lead villain Carrie Snodgress who ensures her monstrous serial killer is given the full icy bite it very much deserves - she's wonderful throughout and really elevates the movie. Kudos too for screenwriter Gail Morgan Hickman ('The Enforcer' and 'Death Wish 4') who ensures his script is both breezy and action packed (an impromptu mid-flight helicopter landing into a barn is a fun highlight), never allowing things such as logic or intelligence to get in the way. Sadly, producers Golan/Globus almost botch the craziness by an attempt to skew their ageing action star at a 'youff audience' with Bronson's co-star Kathleen Wilhoite - who inexplicably spurts out juvenile obscenities for no other reason, except as a thinly veiled ploy to appeal to a younger demographic... or more realistically, getting under the skin of 70% of the audience. Her character McGee is pretty obnoxious and never do you warm to her, which is a shame as all the good work put in by the actor are overrun by the production's desire to speak to a supposed wider audience. Thankfully, director J. Lee Thompson (in his sixth collaboration with Bronson) can helm these things in his sleep and ensures everything runs smoothly, right up to the generic finale where hero and villain square off. I won't ruin anything but I bet you already know who wins...

MGM/Fox's UK DVD release sports a fine transfer with vibrant audio, but no extra features. As a late in the game action vehicle for the Bronson, it works just fine: Its got your usual 'Charley-ism's' with him blowing away bad guys, talking in a monosyllabic one-line delivery whilst wearing a comfy sports jacket. Sure, its a step back from the delirious delight of a crazy 'Death Wish' sequel and for modern audiences may just come across as a sweary TV-movie, but for fans of the actor its akin to putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. Albeit with a preference for heavy artillery. Recommended.
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on 18 April 2017
Still a good movie, kept my wife interested who seldom likes the older style action flicks. DVD was here on time and well packed.
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on 28 September 2017
Jack Murphy and 'his Law' - they don't make then like this anymore!
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on 19 November 2017
great film
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on 31 March 2007
Murphus law is a reasonable cop thriller from the 80's. Charles bronson did a few action films for canon films in the 80's including several death wish sequels too. This isnt as good as the death wish series but isnt bad,bronson is as watchable as ever and a competant cat and mouse thriller ensues. Worth watching but nothing overwhelming.
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on 4 June 2008
This is one of Charles Bronson's better movies of the 1980s. Directed once more by J. Lee Thompson, this actually has quite a good storyline. Bronson is Detective Jack Murphy, for whom life is not going particularly well at the moment. His ex-wife, for whom he still has feelings, is working as a stripper, and two of his fellow detectives hate his guts.
One night, as he is walking back to his car with a bag of groceries, he sees a teenage girl ( played by Kathleen Wilhoite ) break the car window and drive it away, only to crash it moments later into a shop window. He catches up with her and is about to arrest her when she kicks him in the privates and escapes.
Later, he is framed for the murder of his ex-wife and is arrested and taken to the police station, where he is handcuffed to the same girl who smashed his car up. Seeing no other course of action, he makes his escape, dragging the girl with him.
From this point there is action all the way, with them both being pursued by the cops and also the real murderer, a psychopath ( played by Carrie Snodgrass ) who has her own reasons for wanting Murphy dead.
Unlike 'Kinjite : Forbidden Subjects', which was made three years later, this is well-written, and there is some good banter between Bronson and Wilhoite, who gradually grow to like each other.
The movie is in widescreen and the quality is excellent.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 September 2010
There's nothing terribly original or inspired about the joyously politically incorrect Murphy's Law, which sees Charles Bronson's alcoholic cop handcuffed to Kathleen Wilhoite's foul-mouthed petty criminal (who refers to him as `scrotum cheeks' among other more colourful epithets) and on the run after the murder of his stripper wife. He's innocent, of course, framed by Carrie Snodgress' weight-pumping psycho who's working her way through all the people who had her committed and a few who had her released as well ("You never should have let me out, you know. I really am crazy," she tells her probation officer before strangling her on an ill-advised home visit). You pretty much know exactly how this one's going to play out every step of the way, and yet it's still a surprisingly entertaining and even more surprisingly well-made audience picture. Bronson actually has something to act for once and responds with one of his best late performances, Wilhoite's punky foil playing off him engagingly enough for you to forgive her the truly terrible end title song while J. Lee Thompson's direction is pretty good here, elevating the picture from the uninspired production-line fodder of his last collaborations with the star. It all ends up with a silly three-way shootout in the ever-popular Bradbury Building (Blade Runner, Outer Limits, Wolf, Quantum Leap) between Bronson, a corrupt cop, some pissed-off mobsters and a crossbow-wielding harpy before a last-minute reprieve for one character you suspect originally didn't make it to the end credits until they previewed the film, but while it won't overtax your little grey cells or compliment your intelligence, it delivers the goods as an undemanding action film with surprising aplomb.

An acceptable widescreen transfer but the PAL DVD has no extras (the US NTSC DVD at least has a trailer).
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on 11 December 2013
Jack Murphy is an antisocial cop. Things are not good for him, he's just killed the brother of a mobster, and is now marked for death.

His wife left him and is now a dancer, and when she shuns him, he drowns his sorrows in the bottle.

And if that isn't enough, someone is stalking him, and kills his wife to frame him.

Murphy is arrested and is handcuffed to a young street kid, whom he arrested earlier. They escape and Murphy tries to find out who did this to him.....

If your familiar to the Bronsan movies of the eighties, especially the ones made by Cannon,,you know exactly what your in for. A short movie, with typecast Italian villains, Pretty grim violence (the air stewardess still gets me), and Bronsan shouting brilliant one liners.

But wow, Arabella McGee, has the best one liners ever committed to film. It's as if the scriptwriters have left her part for their teenage sons to write, because she literally says the most immature put downs every couple of minutes.

Suck on a door knob Donkey breath Whiskey breath, are just a few of the crackers, and they never fail to make me laugh.

The actual plot is pretty good for the genre, and although the main villain channels Sondra Locke in Sudden Impact a little too much, she still convinces.

All in all its a brilliant, cheesy action movie, that never fails to entertain.

Plus it's the best movie ever to feature a man trying to stop a car by throwing shopping at it...
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on 16 July 2014

Murphy's Law is an epigram stating, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong", and there is no better way to summarize this movie.
Charles Bronson plays Jack Murphy, a hard-drinking antisocial L.A. detective, who is not very well liked at his precinct. He is framed for the murder of his ex-wife and her lover and his colleagues are just all too eager to arrest him. He is cuffed to Arabella McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite), a potty-mouth petty thief and placed in a holding cell inside the precinct.
Murphy escapes with a police helicopter to pursue the real killer, dragging along McGee, to whom he is still handcuffed. To clear his name he has to find the real killer while being pursued by cops and the mafia, who want him dead for shooting one of their top guys in self-defense.
While MURPHY'S LAW was in no way eligible for prizes in originality and realism it still is a very enjoyable action/thriller/comedy/buddy movie mix. British director J. Lee Thompson, with whom Bronson also shot the superb 10 TO MIDNIGHT, DEATH WISH 4, THE EVIL THAT MEN DO and KINJITE - FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS and writer Gail Morgan Hickman both did good jobs and made this movie work. The comedy takes the backseat and usually is restricted to memorable one-liners, which is the only way comedy should be implemented in movies such as this. MURPHY'S LAW is suspenseful and while not overly heavy on the action part it does feature some bloody shootings - hence the 18 Certificate.
Personally I could have done with less of Wilhoite's colorful profanity, which really isn't that strong or offensive, but rather childish.
Charles Bronson gives a convincing performance, even though the drunken cop character is a cliché, he pulls it off well. Kathleen Wilhoite has her first lead role and does grow on you, although I found her performance a bit overdone, especially the cussing. Carrie Snodgress, who won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE makes a chilling and superb psychopath. Lawrence Tierney appears in a very small role. Overall the acting is very good.
MURPHY'S LAW is a must see for any Bronson fan and fans of 80s action movies. It is by far not the best Bronson film, but it also isn't the worst he made.

RATING: 7 / 10


Reviewed version: 2004 MGM UK DVD
Feature running time: 97 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 / 16:9 (anamorphic)
Audio: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian all 2.0 mono
Subtitles: English HoH, Romanian, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, Greek, and French
Extras: Nothing
Region: 2, 4

Picture: B
Audio: C
Extras: F
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on 7 May 2012
Lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Life for police detective Jack Murphy is the pits, especially after his wife left him and has become a stripper. He hit's the bottle, and gets into scuffles with his fellow officers. Things get worse when he's suddenly framed for his wife and lover's murder, and he's arrested. He gets handcuffed to the dirty-mouthed street thief he caught earlier. By chance they both manage to escape and Murphy goes after the real killer, to only find out he's the one being preyed upon by the mafia and psychotic murderer.

This tough guy image really works for Charles Bronson, and makes any standard revenge story compelling. In it's defence, this Bronson vehicle (produced by Cannon) might be routine, but Gail Morgan Hickman's above average screenplay has plenty going on and throws our way a few effective surprises. The strategic story is grounded by its hard as nails approach, where the sombre and seedy urban atmosphere can be a brutal smack in the guts. Even the humour has that dark touch, but what did get tiresome was the constant potty-language and banter erupting from Kathleen Wilhoite's explosively charming character.
Did it grate! The compulsively uneven, but hard-bitten script keeps on the move and can draw tension, but never goes in to much depth of the characters and situations. What begins interestingly enough, changes course for a buddy story with awkward attempts of humour and nastiness. In parts it kinda reminded me of Eastwood's superior action film "The Gauntlet(1977)".

J. Lee Thompson's efficient direction is sharply observed and packs grittiness, but really lacked the avid jolts. The professional camera work visually gets amongst the dirt, but can provide some airy scope. The crisp sounding music score is very well balanced. A weary looking Bronson might look like he's slumming it in, but his low-scale turn works accordingly and keeps you hanging on. Kathleen Wilhoite's lively chemistry with Bronson wasn't bad. Carrie Snodgress neatly goes about her psychotic part with utter coldness and Richard Romanus is perfectly cast as a seamy mobster. Look out for an amusing cameo role by Lawrence Tierney.
Roughly engaging and mildly humorous revenge b---- film.
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