In director Gene Fowler, Jr.'s "Gang War," tough guy Charles Bronson plays Los Angeles high school math teacher Alan Avery who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Big-time mobster Maxie Mathews (John Doucette of "The Big Heat") has dispatched his second-in-command, Joe Reno (Jack Reynolds of "The Basketball Fix"), and his henchman, Bernard "Axe" Duncan (Ralph Manza of "Get Shorty"), to take care permanently of Slick Connors (Leonard P. Geer) who has since become an informant for the authorities against Maxie. Reno and Bernard trap Slick atop a car and stab him to death. Alan Avery witnesses this brutal mob killing on his way home from picking up a prescription for his wife. Later, the police show up at Alvery's residence where he lives with his pregnant wife, Edie Avery (Gloria Henry), and they hand him his wife's prescription. Avery has no problem with testifying against the mobsters who killed the man. A corrupt cop makes certain that the media knows everything there is to know about Alvery, and the newspaper the following day features a banner headline about Alvery's involvement. Naturally, mob kingpin Maxie Meadows wants to throw a scare into the public-spirited school teacher so he sends his manservant, Chester (Larry Gelbman of "She Demons") a former pugilist over to Alvery's house to soften up the wife and throw a scare into Alvery. The former prizefighter lays into Edie, and Alan comes home to find the tea kettle whistling stridently and his wife dead on the floor. Immediately, Alvery arms himself with an automatic pistol and takes a taxi out to Mathews' residence where he lines up the racketeer in his sights to shoot him. Unfortunately, some uniform policemen intervene and Meadows can do little more than have our hero arrested for trespassing. Part of the reason that Meadows cannot bring bigger charges against Alan is that the sympathetic cops have confiscated Alan's pistol. Meantime, Mathews' mouthpiece, Bryce Barker (Kent Taylor of "Mississippi Gambler"), tries to persuade Alvery to not testify against Mathews. Barker is an interesting character because he has a hearing aid. When he learns about the death of Alvery's daughter, things get out of control for Maxie.
"Gang War" qualifies as an unusual Charles Bronson B-movie because he doesn't get the chance to exact vengeance on the mobsters. Indeed, he totes an automatic pistol, but he never gets a chance to use it. Nevertheless, this doesn't keep Alan from interfering with their plans. Ironically, the mob takes care of Maxie, and Alan doesn't get a chance to burst into the attorney's house with two pistols blazing. Director Gene Fowler doesn't waste a second in telling this little story. John Doucette makes a good villain, and Kent Taylor is even better as attorney with a hearing aid.
1 out of 2 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.