johnlink ranks MESSENGER OF DEATH (1988)

When selecting a movie for the night, one never really expects to end up on a forgotten Charles Bronson action movie. But, then, life is full of surprises. Three minutes before I saw MESSENGER OF DEATH I had never even heard of it. Now, I’ve seen it, written an article on it, and you are reading this. We live in a marvelous age.


I watched MESSENGER OF DEATH (1988) on 4.8.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

Six hundred some-odd movies in and I feel like I’ve set a standard format and length for the articles you’ll find on johnlinkmovies. When you come here, for better or for worse, you know what you are going to get.

Well, with the Charles Bronson film MESSENGER OF DEATH, I’m not sure you’ll get it. This may just be the shortest article I’ll ever write.

I mean, I really don’t know what to talk about. This is a Charles Bronson movie. I’m not a fan of Twitter as means of a movie review because it necessarily abbreviates complex thoughts and turns them into the shortest idea possible. Yet, truly, if I were to try and review MESSENGER OF DEATH the best thing I could come up with is “This is a Charles Bronson action movie”. You don’t really need to know much else.

He’s been better and the stories have been better. In this one there is a family of polygamist Mormons who may or may not have massacred the family of one of their members. The opening may be surprising in its off-screen brutality, but the plot of MESSENGER OF DEATH is ultimately no different that a two-part episode of any police procedural on any modern television show. Perhaps, in 1988, there was no enough channels to satisfy this sort of story. In the modern era this movie feels pointless, if not terrible.

Bronson plays a reporter for a Denver newspaper. Yet, for some reason, he is as good a hand-to-hand fighter as he ever was as a cop or anything else. This is the eighth of nine collaborations between Bronson and director J Lee Thompson. There is an understanding, to be sure, that this is how a Bronson movie flows. The acting is not good, the writing is just good enough to make a movie out of, the filmmaking is not exciting and quickly jumps out of scenes as soon as possible leaving no moment of air after something happens, and the action is good enough.

This would be a substandard episode of television by today’s standards. As a 1988 Bronson film, well, it is what it is. If you’re a Bronson completest then go for it. Otherwise there is nothing to see here.




FINAL SCORE: 4 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on April 9, 2014.

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