Murphy’s Law (1986) Hard drinking Cop & Dirty Mouthed Thief Chained Together Run For Their Lives

Murphy's Law (1986) Charles Bronson action vhs cassette tape video rental cannon films cover

Day 3 features murder and mayhem in Murphy’s Law from 1986

Tagline –He’s a cop, She’s a thief, together they’re running for their lives…….

Who’s our hero today?
Tough as a walnut shell, Death Wish revenge king, Charles Bronson plays Jack Murphy

Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
Oh yes and I loved this one when it came out. If memory serves me right I watched it a few times before I rewound it and returned it to the drop box just in time.

Quick plot run down.
Tough, washed up, heavy drinking and depressed Los Angeles Police Department detective drowns his sorrows with the recent reality that his wife has left him. Still, Jack Murphy smashes his way through his cop work getting caught up with the mob and a total psycho. Before he knows it he’s framed for a murder, chained to a foul mouthed young girl and both fleeing for their lives.

Does the hero have a day job?
Vietnam war veteran now a LAPD detective.

Murphy's Law (1986) Charles Bronson action vhs Jack cop detective 80s action

What’s our heroes special skills?
Apart from the ability to down a bottle of whisky before work, Jack punches and clubs his way through the film. He has a wild card up his sleeve, he used to fly helicopters during Vietnam.

Heroes weapon of choice?
Revolver, shotgun, a machine gun and his big fat fist.

Heroes drink of choice?
A few big slugs of the good stuff out of Tennessee. Jack Daniels straight out of the bottle or his trusty hip flask.

Does hero have a sidekick?
Not by choice.  He gets saddled with the red head fire-cracking foul mouthed wordsmith Arabella McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite). Check the “best lines” down the page.

Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Tom boy Arabella is a tough street kid that doesn’t take any shit from anybody. Sure she can handle herself but there also a small window of vulnerability under that foul mouthed exterior.

Murphy's Law (1986) Charles Bronson Arabella McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite) kiss my pantyhose

Who’s the main baddie?
Jack Murphy’s managed to upset two gangster brothers and a few of his fellow detectives with his gruff manner. He ain’t the easiest guy to get along with. We are privy to the knowledge early on but poor Jack ain’t got a clue he’s got a psycho murder machine gunning for him. What’s cool in this Charles Bronson film is that this might be the first time he’s had a lady killer after him? It’s certainly rare. And this lady killer, Joan Freeman (Carrie Snodgress), has a real hard-on for Jack.

Baddies special skills?
Joan Freeman is cold calculated and crazy for revenge. She’ll happily shoot you, drown you or even take out her frustration on you with a electric cable. She happens to dabble as a master of disguise and on my notepad I see written that she “has nice tight buns in the weightlifting scene!” Disclaimer, I don’t have any control what the hand writes as I watch films, I really don’t….

Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 10/10
She’s a complete and utter psychopath. Relentless and extremely deadly.

Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 9/10
On being told that Murphy’s Law means, when things go wrong, everything goes wrong. Which Jack calmly replies “The only law I know is “Jack Murphy’s law.” It’s very simple. Don’t fuck with Jack Murphy

Surely it features a training montage scene?
Surprisingly not. You had thought a scene would of been included of Jack training up Arabella as a sharp shooter. Lining up all his empty bottles of JD in the back yard as she fires off obscenities each time she misses.

Does it feature an impossible mission?
Just another day at the office for Bronson.

Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
We don’t need to see Charles Bronson’s muscles to know he’s as tough as they come. The only muscle we need to see is his mustache and that thing don’t take no prisoners.

Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
Poor Jack tortures himself visiting his wife at work. She happens to be a exotic dancer at Madame Tong’s, the local strip bar. So you can probably guess there’s some flesh jigging about.

Sex scene?
Gangster boss Frank Vincenzo (Richard Romanus) likes to watch porno’s whilst having his chest licked! Frankie’s having the time of his life until Jack gatecrashes the party.

Any good totally random surprise scenes?
Not scenes as such but I was surprised to see a set I knew so well and it never dawned on me at the time. It’s a building I know only too well now. J.F. Sebastian’s apartment block from Blade Runner (1982). The Bradbury Building with it’s incredible architecture and those unique ornate ironwork walkways, stairs and that amazing elevator. As soon as I saw it I was buzzing. It’s always fascinating to see it appear in movies.

Murphy's Law (1986) Charles Bronson lady killer Joan Freeman (Carrie Snodgress) 80s vhs action

Films body count? Low/Medium/High
It’s has a pretty high body count.

Innocent baddie death rate?
Maybe a few gangsters doormen just working for a living.

Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
Cars explode, motorbikes are set alight. There’s a pathway of fire and bangs following Jack Murphy.

How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
One guy flying backwards from a high balcony at the Bradbury building. Now if that weren’t a dummy body, that dude got mashed right up!

Any cool car chases?
Surprisingly not. We do get our Jack chasing his own hot-wired car down the road with a bag of groceries in his hand.

Murphy's Law (1986) Charles Bronson Arabella McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite) driving car truck

Best lines
Arabella is a constant machine of funny crass words flying out her mouth. Whoever sat and thought of her lines must of had such a fun day. Everyone must of been in hysterics.
Kiss my panty hoses, sperm bank
Enjoying yourself? Pervert!
You snot-licking donkey fart
Watch it snot-rag
You’re welcome dildo nose
What took you so long butt crust!

Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t realised Kathleen Wilhoite had been in other films I’d seen through-out the years and hadn’t recognised her. She’s been in Angel Heart (1987) Road House (1989) and the one I used to watch a lot Fire In The Sky (1993).

Richard Romanus played Michael in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973)
I’ve been meaning to watch Diary Of A Mad Housewife (1970) for some years now. I just found out Carrie Snodgress stars. Plus forgot she starred alongside Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider (1985)

Random Factoid…….
I never realised Kathleen Wilhoite was also a singer and was surprised when I heard her voice on the closing film credit track. You can hear it here.

Production Credits
Murphy’s Law is directed by one of the ambassadors of film directors mister J. Lee Thompson. He went Bronson crazy through the late 70s and 80s. With St Ives (1976) The White Buffalo (1977) 10 To Midnight (1983) and The Evil That Men Do (1984) being just a few. A few of his big ones include Ice Cold In Alex (1958) Cape Fear (1962) and The Guns of Navarone (1961).

Cheese-O-Meter! Low/Medium/High?
I’d say it’s pretty low. Any cheesy music and other cheddary moments are counteracted by the gritty non-stop action and murder rate.

IMDB score rating – 6/10

Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8.5/10

Wolfman over all film rating – 7/10

Closing thoughts………………………………………….
I don’t know what it was about this film but I really enjoyed it in my youth. I liked the chalk and cheese bickering of Jack and Arabella and the fact they both let each other know their disdain. There’s a lot going on and having that focused, stone cold killer, pyscho-bitch coming after Jack like a terminator was exciting. I’d worried the years hadn’t been kind but for this now middle aged man, it still held pretty well to me.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want but please don’t feel you need to as I know it’s pretty relentless this month. However, most important, have fun with the movies.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.

17 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law (1986) Hard drinking Cop & Dirty Mouthed Thief Chained Together Run For Their Lives

  1. I’ve got seven Bronson films in my DVD collection and this is one of them.
    Your write-up if full of funny lines – not from the film but from you! (Bronsons’s mustache – lining up empty bottles of Jack Daniels – and of course the bit about the hand having a mind of it’s own -super lol!)

    Apparently Carrie Snodgress was Stallone’s first pick for Adrian in Rocky. She turned it down because there wasn’t enough money in it. I didn’t know also she used to live with Neil Young. His song A MAN NEEDS A MAID was inspired by Snodgress, featuring the lyric “I fell in love with the actress / she was playing a part that I could understand.”

    Hope you don’t mind, as a dedication to Carrie Snodgress (who died relatively young at the age of just 58) here is the song – in all it’s melancholic glory (though it does feature a full orchestra) –

    First Chuck, then Sly followed now by Charlie! God damn this is good! Can hardly wait to see what the next installment will bring…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glen thank you again and even more for the nice things you say.
      I’m enjoying reading your extra bonus fact footage as much as I am re-watching and writing these posts. And I’m very chuffed to see the “jokes” are going down alright. Big smiley face 🙂

      What a great factoid that Rocky’s Adrian could of been Carrie Snodgress. It’s almost impossible not to picture Talia Shire but we’d of never known any different. I can well imagined she would of worked. Sad to hear her passing at a youngish age. I didn’t know she used to live with Neil Young and thanks for sharing the song. Yes it might be mega melancholy but I liked listening to the deep tribute to her. The orchestra hits the heartstrings too.
      Thanks again Glen.
      The next one doesn’t really fall into those big names (maybe) but it’s another name beginning with C and will be the first one to jump into the next decade.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Needless to say I LOVE this one. Saw it at the theater opening night. Always felt it was his last action film of note where he was still giving it his all. It’s also funny and dare I say Miss Wilhoite gave as good as she got against the big guy. Kind of like Maureen O’Hara took no crap from the Duke. So you recognized the Bradbury Building. I got to tour it when I went with my member of the press pass to the TCM fest. Did I miss it or did you fail to mention Lawrence Tierney? You were on a kick of his flicks lately. Also in the film’s trailer they went with an alternate take of Bronson’s big line, “Don’t mess with Jack Murphy.”
    Recently picked up a blu ray edition with commentary by Miss Wilhoite and am looking forward to listening in. And remind me not to have make me an omelette. Didn’t look very tasty.
    Special mention to frequent Bronson costar Robert F. Lyons as his partner and James Luisi as the crooked cop.
    and don’t forget ….. Ladies first.
    Well done Wolfie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah I would go with it feeling like Bronson last true action movie too. Yeah I love the way they give eachother hell. He’s not worried about slamming against a wall like a fella and she happily kick him in the nuts and call him a dildo nose or something. It nice they way they soften “a little” to each other as the film plays out.
      I think Murphy’s Law resonated to me more at the time was it was probbaly my second Bronson rental after Mr. Majestyk. Whereas I’d seen Death Hunt, Death Wish, The Mechanic on telly before hand and recoreded them myself.

      No way I didn’t recognize Lawrence Tierney at all. He was the Private Eye who bought it at the beginning! I just had a look back. He’d so different. Time wasn’t too kind on his good looks. (I blame the same thing hehe) Still I should of noticed him so thanks for the nudge.

      Amazing that you’ve had a tour of Bradbury Building. It was brilliantly used in I’Robot (The Outer Limits) which I’m hoping to post about one day soon! Let see if I can get through Jan first hehe.
      HA yeah keep away from Miss Wilhoite’s omelettes and I can imagine her commentary will be a very fun listen. Maybe a Mike’s Take on the release would be very cool?

      Thanks buddy

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not seen this one but I did get a few laughs

    “She happens to dabble as a master of disguise and on my notepad I see written that she “has nice tight buns in the weightlifting scene!” Disclaimer, I don’t have any control what the hand writes as I watch films, I really don’t….”

    Hah! The same thing seems to happen to me too. Fortunately I’m able to edit those bits out when I do the final post …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay, we’re three films in, and I haven’t seen any of them! (Well, NOW I have, as you know). And I don’t know why it is, but I have yet to see a Bronson film beyond the 1970s (although I might’ve seen Death Hunt in 1981…not sure). And my brother and I ALMOST got into the Bradbury Building a few years ago; we’d driven to LA to ride the Angel’s Flight, but it was closed…and cross the street was the Bradbury Building, and it had just closed for the day. Damn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No way Todd! I’d thought you would of seen this one but hey that’s amazing that you haven’t because I’m positive you will really enjoy this. I hope it’s one that your local library might have? Or maybe on US Netflix? Death Hunt is really awesome and I’d say just about essential if you haven’t seen it.

      No way so close to getting in the Bradbury Building. It looks amazing. Do people live in the apartments nowadays or is it now just a museum do you know?
      Wow hadn’t heard of Angel’s Flight before. What a beauty. Love the way the two cars pass in the middle before returning to their single tracks. Looks like it’s been on a few noirs.


      • I know the Bradbury has a lot of offices and business space, but I don’t know about apartments. Which would be COOL if they did!

        And yes sir, you can spot the Angel’s Flight in quite a few noir films. I guess they’d had an accident before we’d gone to see it, and had been closed for a while after that…but it might now be running again. Next time I’m in LA I’ll have to give it another try. Here are some cool shots:

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Underrated thriller. I liked it too. Re-watched it not long ago and it holds up pretty well. Carrie Snodgress as a psychopath? I remember being shocked. She was so sweet in Diary of a Mad Housewife. And I was familiar with Kathleen Wilhoite because of Private School. Anyhow, this is a Bronson thriller with many nice touches.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m surprised I hadn’t seen or even heard of Private School? As I really liked Phoebe Cates in my youth.
      Fast Times, Gremlins and later Drop Dead Fred. So I missed out seeing Kathleen Wilhoite too.
      Diary of a Mad Housewife has been on the to watch soon list since I started the blog and found out about Fred and Eleanor Perry. I just know I’m gonna love it. Really hope to see it soon. Just bumped it up the list.
      Great to hear you think Murphy’s Law is a great underrated thriller as well. Carrie Snodgress is pretty hardcore!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You haven’t seen Private School? I feel like blocking you! 😦 You can’t be called a Phoebe Cates fan until you watch Private School! LOL! Plus, trust me, you won’t be able to forget the iconic scene where Betsy Russell rides a horse topless! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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