|Directed by||Richard Fleischer|
|Cinematography||Richard H. Kline|
|Written by||Elmore Leonard|
Charlie’s got a melon to pick with you!
“Mr. Majestyk” is inarguably one of Charles Bronson’s most masterful action movie accomplishments (not counting the westerns like “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “The Magnificent Seven” because he didn’t play the central character in those) and this is mainly thanks to the skillful writing of Elmore Leonard and the tight direction of Richard Fleischer. More than in the other contemporary Bronson action vehicles, “Mr. Majestyk” benefices from a steadily paced and intelligent screenplay that fully revolves on Charles Bronson, but at least never exaggeratedly idolizes him.
Vince Majestyk is a modest and introvert Colorado melon farmer who only wants to bring in his harvest… He ends up in jail after a conflict with a local small time crook, but things get really serious when a wanted mafia hit man targets him for assassination. Mr. Majestyk wanted to deliver the escaped convict Frank Renda back to the police, but his plan failed and now Renda is obsessed with killing Vince with his own hands. The plot isn’t hyper-convoluted, but it’s definitely more ambitious than the average “Death Wish” sequel in which Charles blows away random street scum. The villainous characters in “Mr. Majestyk” are interesting personalities. Frank Renda (brilliant performance from Al Lettieri) is a genuinely menacing and relentless criminal, whereas Bobby Kopas is just a sleazy and cowardly local marauder who thinks he’s a big shot.
The interactions between Vince and these gangsters confirm their personalities. He’s not afraid of Renda but remains wary and respectful at all times, whereas he continuously mocks and humiliates the racist wannabe cowboy Bobby Kopas. It is definitely the sharp and seasoned writing of Elmore Leonard what brings the film to a higher quality level. “Mr. Majestyk” certainly isn’t a non-stop spitfire of action sequences, but there are a couple of explosively violent moments that are unforgettable. The escape during the prison transportation, for example, as well as the Ford pick-up chase and the climatic shootout. Great film, highly recommended to all action cinema fanatics!
Bronson’s Best Action Film, Period.
Author: actionpro from Texas
9 July 2003
This movie is simply Bronson’s finest work. While I concede that the movie is formulaic and predictable, his acting is top-notch, as is the acting of the supporting cast. The premise is also exciting and downright cool: Bronson as a watermelon farmer who gets screwed by the man for protecting his property and then gets screwed when he attempts to secure his freedom via a poorly conceived plan. I can see him farming anything, but not watermelons (or maybe blueberries). Rent this movie along with The Mechanic, and you’ll see Bronson in 2 of his finest action films. You definitely won’t be disappointed.
Vince Majestyk (Charles Bronson) is a farmer, a former U. S. Army Ranger instructor and Vietnam War veteran, who owns and operates a watermelon farm in rural Colorado. He needs to harvest his crop in order to keep the farm financially solvent.
A small-time hoodlum, Bobby Kopas (Paul Koslo), attempts to coerce Majestyk into a protection racket of using unskilled drunks to harvest his watermelon crop. Majestyk runs Kopas off with his 12 gauge Winchester Model 1200 shotgun and hires skilled Mexican migrant workers, including Nancy Chavez (Linda Cristal), a crops picker union leader. They begin a relationship. Kopas brings assault charges against Majestyk, resulting in the farmer being arrested and held in the local jail.
In jail, Majestyk meets Frank Renda (Al Lettieri), a notorious mob hit man being transferred to a higher-security prison. Renda’s men try to break him out of police custody during a prisoner transport by bus. In the escape attempt, Majestyk drives off in the bus with Renda still in handcuffs. Majestyk plans on trading Renda to the police in return for being released to finish his harvest. Renda offers his captor $25,000 for his freedom, but Majestyk just wants to get back to his melons.
With the help of his lawyer girlfriend Wiley (Lee Purcell), Renda escapes from Majestyk. He meets up with his right-hand man Lundy (Taylor Lacher) and plans his revenge on Majestyk. Renda is advised to fly to Mexico to elude a police dragnet looking for him, but he wants revenge. He tells his men to find the “melon picker” so that he can have the satisfaction of killing him personally.
Majestyk turns the tables. He sets a trap at Renda’s cabin hideout. Renda betrays his own men, leading to Lundy’s death. He attempts to use Kopas as bait to lure out Majestyk, but Kopas aids Majestyk instead. In a final showdown, Majestyk kills Renda, and Kopas and Wiley are arrested.