I Saw A Film!
Bronson. A tour de Force of singular machismo, street smarts, and violence. I often wonder if he ever tired of the type-casting, but then, I’m sure any actor who was continually in demand is a not unhappy one. I’ll maintain the Not/Un construction as it implies something a bit less than happy, just not unhappy. His leathery complexion and world-weary delivery were action movie gold. He was popular on both sides of the pond and even well into his seventies was still kicking ass. The last of the decades of Death Wish installments when he was 72. But Bronson was timeless, his visage was already wizened in the sixties, he always seemed to be the same staccato bark and squinty-eyed soldier of righteousness. “I juss wanna grow my goddamned watermelons!” he’d say in Mr. Majestyk and we believed it.
Here he is again, once again accompanied by his wife Jill and posing as a gambler with a cheating streak, and ends up taken into custody, but we know this isn’t our Bronson, something more than extra cards must be up his sleeve. The cast is rounded out with Ed Lauter (from one of Bronson’s Death Wish installments) and Richard Crenna (always Rambo’s boss), the Big Lebowski (David Huddleston) and Ben Johnson. Yes it’s a western, and mostly set on a train.
Pretty soon bodies start to collect, and our Bronson character revealed to be something other than a careless card shark. Apparently someone has decided to sell the contents of the train, all the supplies and weapons headed for a fort, to the natives! Sadly this film is a sleeper. Unless you’re a really big fan of watching trains chugging around and the requisite fight on the top of the train, and the thrills of the train going over one of those wooden bridges . . . well you get the idea. It’s basically got lots of old steam train thrill scenes. Really the only thing worth paying attention to in this film is the fact that Bronson is in it. I had this film mixed up with Red Sun (the one with the great Toshiro Mifune teamed up with Bronson). And got kind of bogged down trying to keep myself awake.
This is running free on Prime (usa) and I’m sad to say there isn’t much to really keep your focus on it. There’re few thrills in this old thriller. Oh, and they at least bothered to have a real damned Native American in the form of Eddie Little Sky, a true Oglala Lakota (Sioux) in the role of the Native American supply hustler (something he did in about 60 films!). Some of Bronson’s early roles were playing Native Americans. Somewhat like the Pro-wrestling Strongbow family of Italian immigrants.