When Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) has a price put on his head by Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), he must take desperate steps to protect himself while in prison. An unsuccessful attempt ... See full summary »
Top detective Lou Torrey is transferred to Los Angeles and uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso to use Vietnam War veterans to murder all his enemies in a rerun of the "Sicilian Vespers" when the previous generation of Sicilian mafiosi were all killed on a single day. Torrey gets various clues that something big is about to happen, but will he discover what is planned before the big day? Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near the beginning of the film when Lou is talking to Helen in the X-ray room, behind Lou as he paces back and forth is a large X-ray view box with eight chest X-rays displayed. Six are shown reversed, the bottom left is displayed in the correct orientation, and the last (bottom right) is too underexposed to determine. See more »
First the film has a great poster. The beginning is good, and the end is interesting. But in the middle the film is very uninvolving. The film also does not seem to know what it wants to be. Does it want to be Dirty Harry, does it want to be The French Connection, or does it want to be The Godfather. The one character actor who really I think is the most interesting of all is the Mafia boss played by Martin Balsam. Watching him, one has to think that he would have been interesting Playing Don Corleone in the Godfather, or even the Fernando Rey character in French Connection I and II.
As the poster says, ;This cop plays dirty', but sadly, for the rest of the movie, Torrey is a bore. I wonder how the character of Torrey in the John Gardner stories, was, their were apparently two of them, and who knows, maybe if this film had been both a critical and financial success, the character. like Dirty Harry would have continued. Dirty Harry success lies in not only that we had a great villain, a different kind of law enforcement officer than previous films had shown, but we got to know Harry throughout the movie. We really don't get to know who Torrey is, why he is the way he is. I am a big Bronson fan, but here in Stone Killer, I think we get to see the indifference that Bronson would show in some of his later efforts. Previously Winner and Bronson had teamed to make one of his most interesting characters, that of Bishop in the Mechanic, which is I think their best collaboration.
I think the people involved in this film missed a great opportunity in making a movie that could have focused on the idea of using Viet Nam Vets to be used as a hit squad, which was original. With the unpopular war winding down, it could have asked, what next, as thousands would return, and to what opportunities for them.
I'm sure that Winner and De Laurentis realized that this film wasn't very good, but went on to release it realizing that in Europe the film would do well as Bronson was a huge star their, though not yet in the US.
Burt Reynolds once said that they should remake films that were not very good when first released. Watching the Stone Killer, I think would be interesting to remake, with the same time period and local. With the Viet Nam angle, it would possibly make people wonder about what will happen when our veterans return from Iraq and Aphganistan and Iraq.
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