Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Stone Killer (1973)

I've been out in the Stockholm archipelago the whole day (and my arms is RED from that stinking, hot, ugly thing we call sun!) and had a nice time with friends and good food. But all the time I've been thinking of The Stone Killer, a movie I saw the same morning. Michael Winner and Charles Bronson made six movies together, and I would say everyone of them is pure gold. But I wonder if not The Stone Killer is the best one in the bunch, or at least fighting with The Mechanic about place number one!

Charlie plays Torrey, a good but slightly violent cop that get's transfered from New York to Los Angeles after shooting a 17 years young robber to death. But in LA he quickly finds that something bigger is going on. It begins with a normal drug-bust and ends with a bloody assassination at the New York airport. What he dosen't know is that the head of the sicilian mafia, Alberto Vescari (Martin Balsam) plans to take revenge 30 years after a massacre that killed his "family". So he hires an army of vietnam vets to kill of all his opponents...

This is one helluva movie! I mean, if you want to see an italian cop-movie but american, this is the movie to see. The action is fantastic. Gritty, bloody and brutal - as usual with Winner behind the camera, and the squibs is spraying blood all over the place. There's a great car chase and a couple of other action scenes that are among the best I've seen in a Bronson-movie. Bronson himself is of course brilliant, and has an interesting character to work with. Torrey isn't the same cynic as Harry Callahan, and way smarter - but know's how to handle the gun and blast baddies into the eternity!

The style is rough, and as usual Winner uses real location, and sometimes it seems, even "real" people. It's a lot of handheld camera, which I like, and some wonderful pieces of dialogue. My favorite must be when the marijuana-dealer have a short presentation of different kinds of weed. Tarantino should be ashamed that he can't write down good stuff like that!
So, cool stunts, brutal shootings, fantastic acting... this is IT when it comes to a gritty cop-movie from the seventies. I consider this and Across 110th Street the best I've ever seen - at least from the US.

And yeah, this is out on dvd here in Sweden now. It's uncut - what I can see - and in it's orginal aspect ratio. Well worth the money, as you might understand from my text above.

1 comment:

Andy Lewis said...

Yes, it's that good - a kind of topical tour through the early American scene. My fave scene was the ashram, where the young perp tries to seduce him, and he replies, "Another time, another place, another cop."