As the summer of 1984 was coming to a close, the usual September program fillers arrived on screen at the local cinemas. Closing out an action packed summer and making way for the Oscar Bait that Fall has become known for, is J. Lee Thompson’s “The Evil That Men Do”. I mention the director because he is an example of where careers go after great heights. He was nominated for an Academy Award as director for “The Guns of Navarrone” and he made “Cape Fear”, the classic thriller with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. At the end of his career though, he was cranking out revenge dramas for Cannon Films and he worked with the star of this movie nine times in a thirteen year period.
The star of course is Charles Bronson. For some reason he is not well known by the current generation of movie fans. Time marches on and yesterdays heroes are often just footnotes in cinema history. Once upon a time though, just like the director of these movies, Bronson was big. He pulled in box office, starred in major motion pictures and had a solid reputation as an actor, though of a very specific type. By 1984, he was a little long in the tooth for the action roles he was best known for, but with an international name, he could help those mini-major studios pre-sell their product overseas. “The Evil That Men Do” is a nasty piece of revenge drama that is twisted enough to be interesting, but struggles to build much suspense.