Monday, November 16, 2009

Mr Majestyk (1974)

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I don't know a great deal about Charles Bronson. I know that this is grounds for a violent stoning to some of those in the genre-movie community, but the truth is until recently I had no interest in action movies that didn't have aliens, monster,kung-fu or ninjas. Sure, I have always had a love for Rambo and Schwarzenegger, but my interest in extreme gun violence and explosions didn't come until recently. Mostly because I have recently discovered my love for 70's cinema, especially when it has car chases and explosions. Since I have a bit of a hard on for the 70's at this point, it wasn't going to be long before I started to Bronson out.

When most people think of Bronson, the first thing that comes to mind is "Death Wish". I have the same problem (if it really is one), so I wanted to start with something different but similar. With a little research, I soon decided Mr. Majestyk would be the way to go.

In this 1974 goldmine of awesome, Bronson plays Majestyk, a soft spoken, vet who is looking to get as many melons out of his 160 acres. Unfortunately, Majestyk has fairly shaky history with luck and the law even though he just wants to be left alone. When a couple of 2-bit hustlers try to force Majestyk to use there labor force, made up entirely of drunks and bums, things get ugly. Little do these wannabe toughguys know that Majestyk is not the man to be fucked with. After getting their asses handed to them, our criminal crybabies run to the cops with a different story causing the arrest of Majestyk, and this is where the story really starts.

While locked behind bar, far from his melons, Majestyk run into, Frank Renda,a renowned hitman with a moustache to match his attitude. After a failed breakout attempt by Renda's mafia associates during a prisoner transport run, Majestyk is left with Renda in his care. He is given two choices, free the Big Time Mafioso and receive a reward, or pay the consequences. With Majestyk choosing the latter, and a failed attempt to bring Renda back to jail, he now has a vendetta on his head the size of Colorado.

Mr. Majestyk broke my Bronson-cherry in the best possible and explosive, and this is how the movie played out. I was never bored for a minute. There was a kicking in the first 10 minutes, explosions and shoot-outs within 20, and vengeance within 30. How can one ever be bored?

With so much excitement in the first half hour, you better believe that the remaining hour makes what are referred to as modern "action" movies look like flying kites on a Sunday. Movies like this make me think that back in the day, every moustache-wearing motherfucker rocking a Canadian tuxedo knew kung-fu and carried a machine gun AT ALL TIMES. Who cares how ineffective the gun is, the point is how bad ass is makes you.

Mr.Majestyk didn't have the largest body count, but some of the kills were quite awesome. For example, Almost Death By Port-O-Potty. At one point, a lone cop ducks into the local shitbox to pinch a loaf. Little did he know that would be his last offering to the Porcelain, or should I say plastic, Goddess. But it wasn't the large, steel vehicle plowing into his relief closet that got the best of him, that would be the short end of a 2x4 to the face. Fuckin' Brutal!!!

This amazing feat in man-film isn't all facial hair and car explosions. Mr. Majestyk also touches upon serious socio-political issues that even 35 years later, haven't been resolved:migrant farm work. In fact, I dare say in this day and age the issues surrounding immigration from Central America have probably gotten worse. MM doesn't really tell us whether the migrant Mexican workers were illegal or not, which is the excuse top cover up blind xenophobia and racism in this day and age. In the movie, the issue is just straight up racism toward Mexicans and hatred towards anyone that would hire them over local white drunks. These are the reasons Majestyk has to kick the asses that land him in jail. He, like many of us with reasonable views on immigration, sees how much the Mexicans value a hard days work, unlike the lazy, white bums who spend so much time complaining about brown people taking there jobs. I'll sop there before it ends up in an anti-right rant. This is a cinema blog, not the Huffington Post.

For years I denied myself the pop culture of 30 years ago by not subjecting myself to anything that wasn't contemporary. Even though I fondly remember the last 3 years of the decade, and what came out of it, as I got older I wanted nothing to do with one of the the best decades in cinema.

Man was I a stupid fucking kid!!!

This movie has given me the drive I should have had years ago to make Bronson movies a priority in life. It's kind of like a lost soul finding God. Since I've watched Mr. Majestyk, I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of filling a void in my heart the always should have been there.

1 comment:

  1. Bronson vs Al Lettieri is an awesome showdown and a definitive Seventies moment. Majestyk was one of my father's favorite movies, except that he sometimes got it mixed up with a quite different movie and called it "Watermelon Man." Anyway, I'm glad you liked the film.