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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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).
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
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.