year: 1974
cast: Charles Bronson, Al Lettieri, Lee Purcell, Paul Koslo, Linda Cristal, Jordan Rhodes
director: Richard Fleischer
writer: Elmore Leonard
rating: ****1/2

Charles Bronson as a smart-alack is a neat change... as most of Elmore Leonard's heroes do run off at the mouth... yet he still kicks ass like only Bronson can, but this bravado has brains as a watermelon farmer (yes, you heard that right) is being hunted by a professional (and famous) hit-man after a successful prison break gone-bad... for the kill. I'm leaving a lot out here because it's a movie you have to watch fresh to truly enjoy. One of the few times we're graced with the presence of the late great Al Lettieri, best known as "Solotzo" in THE GODFATHER and "Rudi" in THE GETAWAY, and who unfortunately died shortly after production. Al's the thug, Lee Purcell is his gorgeous moll, and the "Tuco" (third banana) of the film, Paul Koslo as "Bobby Koppas", rounds out the cast as a shifty loser caught in-between. While Bronson tries hard to keep his melon crop going despite the odds... he eventually leads the dangerous but rurally-naive city thugs into the mountains where, like John J. Rambo in "First Blood", he holds all the cards. Action, adventure, and some terrific dialog make this a thinking-man's man's-man movie.

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