Film Review – THE STONE KILLER (1973)

THE STONE KILLER (1973, USA, 95m, 15) ***
Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
dist. Columbia Pictures (USA), Columbia-Warner Distributors (UK); pr co. Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica / Produzioni Cinematografiche Inter. Ma. Co. / Rizzoli Film; d. Michael Winner; w. Gerald Wilson (based on the novel “A Complete State of Death” by John Gardner); pr. Michael Winner; ph. Richard Moore (Technicolor | 1.85:1); m. Roy Budd; ed. Frederick Wilson; ad. Ward Preston.
cast: Charles Bronson (Lou Torrey), Martin Balsam (Al Vescari), Jack Colvin (Jumper), Paul Koslo (Langley), Norman Fell (Les Daniels), David Sheiner (Guido Lorenz), Stuart Margolin (Lawrence), Ralph Waite (Mathews), Alfred Ryder (Tony Champion), Walter Burke (J D), Kelley Miles (Geraldine Wexton), Eddie Firestone (Armitage), Charles Tyner (Police Psychiatrist), Byron Morrow (Station Commander), Lisabeth Hush (Dr. Helen Torrey), Frank Campanella (Calabriese), Gene Woodbury (Paul Long), Robert Emhardt (Fussy Man), David Moody (Gus Lipper), John Ritter (Hart).
A decent gritty action thriller vehicle for Bronson as a police detective who learns a 1930s mobster (Martin Balsam) has formed a killer elite to settle an old gangland score. Winner handles the tough and violent action scenes well, but he is less adept with the actors, who give variable performances. The location shifts from New York to Los Angeles are jarringly edited at times and the screenplay lacks clarity of focus. Roy Budd’s energetic score helps to keep things moving and the climactic shootout is well-staged. John Gardner’s 1969 source novel was set in the UK.

Film Review – CLIFFHANGER (1993)

Image result for cliffhanger 1993CLIFFHANGER (Italy/France/USA, 1993) ***½
      Distributor: Guild Film Distribution; Production Company: Carolco Pictures / Canal+ / Pioneer / RCS Video / Cliffhanger Productions; Release Date: 26 May 1993 (USA), 25 June 1993 (UK); Filming Dates: 11 April 1992 – 19 August 1992; Running Time: 113m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby Digital (35 mm prints) (Europe) | Dolby SR (35 mm prints) (USA); Film Format: 35 mm, 70 mm (blow-up); Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Renny Harlin; Writer: Michael France, Sylvester Stallone (based on a story by Michael France from a premise by John Long); Executive Producer: Mario Kassar; Producer: Renny Harlin, Alan Marshall; Associate Producer: Jim Davidson, Tony Munafo; Director of Photography: Alex Thomson; Music Composer: Trevor Jones; Film Editor: Frank J. Urioste; Casting Director: Mindy Marin; Production Designer: John Vallone; Art Director: Maria-Teresa Barbasso, Aurelio Crugnola, Christiaan Wagener; Set Decorator: Robert Gould, Cynthia Sleiter; Costumes: Ellen Mirojnick; Make-up: Jeff Dawn; Sound: Scott Martin Gershin, Wylie Stateman, Gregg Baxter; Special Effects: R. Bruce Steinheimer; Visual Effects: John Bruno, Neil Krepela, Jay Riddle.
      Cast: Sylvester Stallone (Gabe Walker), John Lithgow (Qualen), Michael Rooker (Hal Tucker), Janine Turner (Jessie Deighan), Rex Linn (Richard Travers), Caroline Goodall (Kristel), Leon (Kynette), Craig Fairbrass (Delmar), Gregory Scott Cummins (Ryan), Denis Forest (Heldon), Michelle Joyner (Sarah), Max Perlich (Evan), Paul Winfield (Walter Wright), Ralph Waite (Frank), Trey Brownell (Brett), Zach Grenier (Davis), Vyto Ruginis (Matheson), Don S. Davis (Stuart), Scott Hoxby (Agent Hayes), John Finn (Agent Michaels), Bruce McGill (Treasury Agent), Rosemary Dunsmore (Treasury Secretary), Kim Robillard (Treasury Jet Pilot), Jeff McCarthy (Pilot), Mike Weis (Mike – Co-Pilot), Duncan Prentice (Treasury Helicopter Pilot), Kevin Donald (Ray), Jeff Blynn (Marvin), Thor (Thor).
      Synopsis: A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.
      Comment: Highly enjoyable and exciting, if wildly overblown and often preposterous. Stallone is at his macho best as the lead mountain rescue climber with a chip on his shoulder and the group dynamics give you heroic characters to root for. Lithgow is deliciously over-the-top as the chief villain. Harlin directs with a great feel for action scenes and with flair and pace. Wonderful scenic photography and incredible stunt work. The memorable opening sequence is a real humdinger and superbly edited.
      Notes: Set in Colorado, but filmed in the Cortina d’Ampezzo-Dolomites mountains, because of their spectacular similarities to the Colorado Rockies. Dedicated to Wolfgang Gullich, Sylvester Stallone’s double in the film, who was killed in a car accident shortly after filming had finished.