Here’s the second Video Store Action Heroes collaboration between four likeminded movie dudes from the golden era of the video rental scene. Starring Todd from Cinema Monolith, Mike from Mike’s Take on the Movies, Greg at Destroy All Fanboys, and myself Mikey here at Wolfmans Cult Film Club.
This time it was to pick a Charles Bronson movie not featuring the usual by his side, Mrs Bronson AKA Jill Ireland. A hard task when you think Charlie and Jill made 15 films together but luckily our CB was a film making machine.
There I was a teenager browsing through the countless action VHS cassette tapes in my local video store when I hit the cover with the tough tashed shotgun holding Charles Bronson. It was called Mr Majestyk and with taglines on the box like “He didn’t want to be a hero….. until they pushed him too far!” and “For Mr Majestyk, It was KILL – or be KILLED!” This young wannabe bad boy Bronson bounced straight to the counter and within ten minutes I was excitedly sat there watching what Bronson was gonna to be up to this time. Is he gonna be a boxer, a cop, maybe a detective? a hit-man? (insert pulling needle across record sound clip here)…….. WTF! A melon farmer, you gotta be kidding!
Charles Bronson plays Vince Majestyk, a man sure to have some kind of Mexican superpower? Like Popeye and his spinach, Vince mashes up melons and rages out. Well not this time unfortunately though I think they missed a trick here. They could’ve written in the script that Majestyk utilised his commodities to his advantage. Sure he could of constructed a melon cannon of sorts, handheld for smaller melons or a shoulder device for the meaty ones? When they came for him in the night he could’ve balanced melons above doors or at the top of the stairs. Maybe even making a melon Mr Majestyk shape in his bed to fool bad guys snooping about!
But hey we know that the man Bronson don’t need no tricks or gimmicks. Bronson is superpower in his own right, kicking, punching and smashing his way through whatever baddie you throw at him. This time he has two, one annoying weasel like Bobby Kopas (Paul Koslo) and the beast-like Frank Renda (Al Lettieri). Both are about to appear and make poor Majestyk’s melon picking life very difficult.
Vince Majestyk – “Come on, Frank, let’s finish this! I got work to do!”
All our hero wants to do is pick this seasons crop before the 160 acres of melons go past their sell by date. He’s a humble farmer willing to pay a fair price for his skilled team of pickers. He’s also happy to help out a struggling family when he can and with a run in with the lovely Nancy Chavez (Linda Cristal) he offers her a job.
The trouble starts with Bobby Kopas (if this was ever remade, Walton Goggins would be perfect for this part) working for a local gangster to force unskilled labour on the Majestyk land. Little did they expect that Vince is a Vietnam veteran with venom in his tail.
Vince Majestyk – “You make sounds like you’re a mean little ass-kicker… only I ain’t convinced. You keep talking and I’m gonna take your head off.”
What with runnings with the cops, some jail time and a prison break. He somehow manages to annoy and belittle hitman Frank Renda. Frank is like a wild animal and takes it extremely badly. He’s determined to make Vince’s life hell. Vince is a tough cookie and there’s nothing getting in the way of his beloved melons.
Tagline – He didn’t want to be hero… until the day they pushed him too far.
Can Vince get his harvest in? Can his good friend Larry Mendoza (Alejandro Rey) and his new tough girl Nancy Chavez help with his problem? Why take the easy road when you can take the bumpiest stupidest mountainous terrain there ever was, which only gains a few seconds? Oh! Why does he salt his beer?
- Mr Majestyk was written as a screenplay by renown American novelist Elmore Leonard and directed by Richard Fleischer who has a massive filmography of classic films like Red Sonja (hehe I kid), Soylent Green, 10 Rillington Place, The Narrow Margin, Tora Tora Tora and The Last Run to name a small few. The soundtrack is by Charles Bernstein who gives Vince his own kind of theme tune. There’s a few funky numbers on there too. The soundtrack never got a release at the time, though it was put out by the label Intrada in 2009. Unfortunately now it goes for silly money on CD. Cheaper for wallet, similar sounding is Charles Bernstein’s Gator soundtrack.
- Wolfman random bonus feature. There’s actually a 1979 Turkish remake called Karpuzcu and from the poster and the trailer it looks delightfully ridiculously bonkers brilliant. Here’s the trailer on Daily Motion.
It had been maybe 30 years since I last saw it. You know what, I still remembered everything and that recurring theme tune had embedded its way into my soul. A real pleasure to have revisited. Thanks for tuning into our little adventure, please be sure to check the other guys posts. Todd went for The Stone Killer (1973), Gary gave The White Buffalo (1977) a go and Mike choose The Evil That Men Do (1984).
Next time we are heading in the realms of science fiction. .
Till the next time….. “Keep your hands off my melons, Amigos!” Happy viewing. Mikey Wolf
PS – Here’s the last Video Store Action Heroes Post The Hidden