Imagine Jason Statham, buff almost A but still a little B-Movie action hero, working in the 1970’s. Imagine he is given the script of film where he still gets to be a buff action hero movie star but it’s in such a bizarre setting that everything about the film makes your eyes pop out in astonishment.
Such is the case for ‘Mr. Majestyk’, an utterly bewildering idea for entertainment, that when Big Dave started chuntering on about it, as some kind of brief aside at a family gathering, we all thought he had finally lost his marbles. “Do you remember that film about Charles Bronson who looks after the mangoes?” he said.
Blank looks on everyone’s, and I do mean everyone’s, faces.
“You mean you’ve never seen it? It was amazing. He was a mango farmer and these guys come after him.”
Cue an outbreak of laughing and worried looks until my brother Googles it and finds that it’s a real thing.
That is, a real thing where my dad has got some of the details wrong. Charles Bronson plays a melon farmer, a farmer who also straddles the typical types of war veteran and ex-con. All he cares about is successfully getting his melon crop to the supplier so he can get paid and think about next year. Interwoven throughout the narrative is various references to how much Bronson needs to get back to his crop of melons, how much he has to get back to harvest his melons. In fact a reference to this crops up about every twenty minutes and each time it made me laugh out loud. Here’s a precis of the story:
‘Bronson hires a bus of people to help bring his crop in. Some punk tries to muscle in on the action with his own bus. Bronson steals his rifle, strikes the punk in the balls and sends him on his way. The punk gets the cops involved and Bronson is arrested. In the clink he meets this other-worldly grim reaper of a man called Frank, who’s a mafia hitman. As they are being transported somewhere his mafia friends try to break him free, only for Bronson and Frank to go on the run but not for very long. Why? Because Bronson has to get back to his melons. Frank offers him $25,000.00 to not hand him back to the cops, Bronson refuses and almost dies when the mafia’s girlfriend turns up, narrowly escaping by jumping through the rear window of a car. Frank becomes obsessed, refusing to leave until he gets his revenge over this simple melon farmer. He chases away the hired help and then, hilariously, orders his middle-aged henchmen to fire multiple rounds in his melon harvest. If you’ve ever wanted to see several minutes of people shooting at fruit then this is definitely the film for you.
Now at the end of his tether, Bronson goes on the offence, killing all the henchmen (including another laugh out loud moment when his truck gently nudges a car full of henchies off the edge of a hill and it explodes as though it’s packed full of dynamite). The final confrontation is such a letdown too: the girlfriend gives up and leaves, the punk decides that Frank is a nutter and runs away, leaving only Frank in his hideout. Bronson jumps through the window, shoots Frank and that’s it. It’s the biggest anti-climax I have witnessed in a long while. Bronson goes home, despite the fact that almost all of his melons are messed up and his best-friend had both his legs broken in the ensuing chaos.’
I mean, where to start? Charles Bronson does a good job of playing the part only at the time the film was released he was 53 years old. The love interest, not tacked on in the slightest, who is one of the migrant workers helping to harvest the melons, is about 20 years younger than him (this is a full decade before Roger Moore starred in ‘A View To A Kill’ romancing a then 30 year old Tanya Roberts at the ripe age of 58). She is inexplicably drawn to him because he does the gruff man thing of ‘sending her away so she doesn’t get hurt’ despite the fact she tells him, in no uncertain terms, that where she grew up she was repeatedly subjected to violence or albeit the threat thereof. The henchmen were the least threatening cronies I have ever seen. One looked as though he was in his sixties, definitely older than Bronson, yet still seemed to swagger around with the same menace as Genghis Khan.
The back of the DVD box is also a riot. It reads as follows:
“Bronson stars as Majestyk, an ex-con and Vietnam vet whose efforts to run a farm are thwarted by narrow-minded locals and corrupt cop.s But hwne a Mafia hitman destroys Majestyk’s crop, the farmer’s fuse is finally blown. With his rifle in hand and his girlfriend (a bit of an overstatement, because they’re refusing to the love interest; they throw some words at each other, go for a beer and that makes them a couple?) at the wheel, he goes after the syndicate assassin. And from high-speed back-road chases (I must have missed those) to an explosive backwoods confrontation (the aforementioned anti-climax), mobster and maverick stalk each other: two of a kind, antagonists to the death.”
Whoever wrote that either deserves an award for the biggest stack of lies since Boris Johnson opened his mouth or was looking at the wrong film. It wasn’t bad in the sense that it’s an awful film only that there is very little to recommend about it bar Bronson’s and Frank, the mafia guy, Al Lettieri’s. performances. FYI, Lettieri looks as though he would knock you out for checking your back pocket for change and remains one of the few convincing things in the entire production.
I’d give it a “Lesley Pipes” – watchable but average.
26 comments on “Film Reviews – Mr. Majestyk”
I feel like reading this took longer than watching the film, but was a far better use of my time. I give it ten out of ten out of ten.
It sounds like a film that needs to be on the same shelf as “The Quest”, “Snowpiercer” and “Die Hard on Ice”. The “Only watch these films drunk” shelf.
I forgot “Bula Quo”. How could I forget “Bula Quo”.
How could you forget the question mark AND Bula Quo? And don’t forget the film adaptation of Doom, that classic watch.
They all definitely deserves a place on your metaphysical shelf.
I once tried to put a cup of tea on Kev’s metaphysical shelf, but it just fell on the floor because the shelf was beyond human perception.
How did you know it was there to attempt to put tea on it?
Schrodinger’s Cat told us and then proceeded to both sit and not sit on the shelf in a box.
The interesting thing is that, if my cup of tea couldn’t rest on the shelf, it suggests that it was also beyond tea’s perception, not just beyond human perception. That discovery, if I’m not mistaken, advances scientific knowledge considerably.
That’s fascinating. Tell us more.
Well, if you insist. The tea and the mug both fell through Kev’s metaphysical shelf, making an entirely physical and perceptible stain on the floor. The stain was in the shape of Patrick Moore’s face. I think that tells you a lot.
Patrick’s Moore’s face isn’t in enough places these days. Back in the day he was dressed as a cyborg on ‘Gamesmaster’ or pointing at the sky in ‘The Sky at Night’. Today I want to see more PM face. This day is the day when days start having more Moore.
Well, here’s some for starters. Here’s a slice of old Pat in some very high trousers indeed. How do you like these apples?
They are a fruity plate of apples, the kinds of which I am happy to eat up in large doses.
Slide some more Pat my way!
Right you are. Here’s a saucy Pat plus bat in a lively shirt.
This should be a regular thread, a regular post, a bounty of Moore.
Surely you don’t still want more Moore? After those two pictures? That’s all the Moore anyone could want.
You can have too much of a good thing. You’re right, we should stop now. No more Moore.
A Moore is for life, not just for Christmas.
What about some Roger Moore? Would that qualify as more Moore? It’s a different moor.
Or Emley Moor. We could have some of that.
I’ve thought about it, rare for me I know, and I’ve decided that there’s been enough Moore for now.
Perhaps you could pollard in with some different Moore / Moor next month?
Maybe. Maybe I could.
The bottom line is that, for now, you’ve clearly said “no Moore”, and that’s enough for me.
I’d ring the “dad joke” bell but this thread has already ended.
Has it? I’m going to sneak this reply in anyway and see if I get done for it.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I’mmmmmmmmmmmmmm getting you doooooooonnnnneeeeee
No, come on, don’t tell miss, I’ll give you my crisps if you don’t tell.
Are they Hula Hoops?