Bullet Points: Murphy’s Law
I wanted my first review of 2015 to be something special, so I had to turn to my favorite action star of them all… Mr. Charles Bronson and the film Murphy’s Law.
Murphy’s Law is my favorite non-Death Wish movie in Bronson’s filmography. It may also be Bronson’s most quotable film but I’ll get into that a little later.
For those of you who brought in the new year with a bang you will be able to relate to Bronson’s character Jack Murphy, a cop who enjoys his alcohol a bit too much and wakes up with some massive hangovers…
- The Premise: In Murphy’s Law, Bronson plays detective Jack Murphy. Murphy is framed for the murder of his newly divorced wife and her new lover by a psychotic woman that Murphy and his then partner, Wilcove, busted years ago. The psychotic woman in question is Joan Freeman (played by Carrie Snodgress), who some how managed to get out on parole, despite being a raving lunatic. It is not often you get a strong female villain in an action movie and Snodgress really pulls it off and is completely believable in her quest for revenge.
- Tag Team: As luck would have it, Murphy ends up going on the run with a thief he busted prior to his own arrest for the murder of his ex-wife. The thief is Arabella McGee (played by Kathleen Wilhoite who also sings the Murphy’s Law theme song). McGee talks in a very unladylike fashion, if she got much worse you’d think she was quoting Iron Sheik’s Twitter. She spends a good portion of the movie calling Jack Murphy things like “butt crust”, “pubic hair”, “dildo-nose” and “snot-licking donkey fart”. McGee makes for another strong female character in the movie, which really sets this apart from a lot of movies in the Bronson filmography, as women’s roles in his films are often to get raped and/or killed.
- The Action: Bronson fans will get what Bronson fans expect in terms of the action in Murphy’s Law… in other words he shoots people. The scene in the airport is an especially good Bronson kill by gun. You’ll also get to see Bronson fly a helicopter and land it on top of a barn. You will be absolutely delighted when Bronson throws a bag of groceries at a moving car. He even makes a mobster cry, which can’t be an easy thing to do, unless you are Charles Bronson.
- Murphy’s Law vs. Jack Murphy’s Law: You are probably familiar with the old adage of Murphy’s Law… anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Well Jack Murphy’s Law is a little different, but quite simple and that is “Don’t f*#k with Jack Murphy!” That line of lines along with McGee’s barrage of insults are what make Murphy’s Law one of Bronson’s most quotable motion pictures, but it doesn’t stop there…
- Murphy vs. Reinke: There is an exchange between Jack Murphy and fellow cop (and general pain in Murphy’s ass) Ed Reineke that stuck with me…
- REINKE: “Say Murph. I like your tie. Specially the stains”
- MURPHY: “Looks like the sewer backed up again.”
- REINKE: “I was at Madame Tong’s the other night. Saw your wife. Nice tits.”
- REINKE: “Do they taste as good as they look?”
- The Edited for TV Version: That was a low blow by Reinke and it got him punched in the mouth. When I recently saw this memorable scene on GRIT TV, the editing job for TV left a lot to be desired. Instead of “Nice tits”, Reinke says “Nice life.” which works until he follows it up with “Do they taste as good as they look?” If I were responsible for selecting the verbiage for the TV edit, I would have went with “Nice cans” and the scene would have been just as good as the R rated version.
Murphy’s Law is one of Bronson’s better films of the 1980’s and it ranks right behind the first three Death Wish films for me as personal Bronson favorites.
Bronson has a solid supporting cast around him, including a name I have not mentioned yet, Robert F. Lyons, who plays Murphy’s new partner with a very active social life outside the department, Art Penney. Lyons also appeared with Bronson in Death Wish 2. Again, Snodgress plays her role perfectly. Wilhoite, despite this being early on in her career, brought an energy to the film you could probably only get from a young and hungry actress.
Murphy’s Law has a high rewatchability factor, which is always high on the list for me to consider a movie great and I definitely consider Murphy’s Law a great movie.
Finally, if anybody could hook me up with this autographed Murphy’s Law laser-disc it would make a great addition to my Bronson Collection…