Neglected Virtues: 10 to Midnight (1983)
Publication date: 01/12/2017
It was with Death Wish 2 for director Michael Winner that star Charles Bronson began his association with exploitation outfit Cannon. Cannon would emerge in the 1980s as perhaps the most disreputable of production houses, their films regularly attracting the ire of critics and audiences alike, condemned as violent and salacious B-grade action fodder. Although they made drives for respectability, Cannon were never really to escape their reputation, a perhaps unfortunate fate as several of their films, however sensational and lurid they may be, are far more complex and interesting than was at first admitted. This is certainly the case with the films Bronson subsequently made for Cannon, all in partnership with British director J. Lee Thompson who earned a place as one of Cannon’s in-house directors. The director and actor had begun their association as far back as 1976 with the wryly amusing near-pastiche of St. Ives and had continued it with the ill-fated oddity of The White Buffalo and the under-rated Caboblanco. For Cannon, Thompson and Bronson would make a series of thrillers which in their course emerged as one of the most reactionary and nihilistic bodies of work in American genre cinema. The films 10 to Midnight, The Evil That Men Do, Murphy’s Law, Death Wish 4, Messenger of Death and the astonishing Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects represent one of the bleakest assessments of Patriarchal authority to be found anywhere.
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