HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Hard Times King Boxer
Year: 1975
Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland, Strother Martin, Margaret Blye, Michael McGuire, Felice Orlandi, Edward Walsh, Bruce Glover, Robert Tessier, Nick Dmitri, Frank McRae, Maurice Kowaleski, Naomi Stevens, Lyla Hay Owen
Genre: Drama, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Chaney (Charles Bronson) rides into New Orleans in a car of a freight train, looking for work. Though work is hard to find during the Depression, he's not looking for anything conventional, as seen when he wanders towards the sound of men cheering later that night, and finds a bare knuckle boxing match taking place. One of the fighter's managers is Speed (James Coburn), and when his man is decisively knocked down he has to concede and retires to the nearby diner where Chaney approaches him. He makes him an offer to be his new fighter, and Speed agrees, but only after he sees what he can do - which is quite a lot, as it turns out...

With Walter Hill's directorial debut, he made the inspired choice to pair Charles Bronson and James Coburn; they had been in films together before, but never as a double act like this and the matching of Bronson, who doesn't like to talk, with Coburn, who relishes the dialogue he is given, makes for an excellent contrast. They particularly suit the era the story is set in, as you can believe Speed would be precisely the type of disreputable charmer who would be happy to make his money this way, and Chaney's weatherbeaten features could easily have hailed from the harsh 1930s climate.

Once they team up, Speed sets his sights on beating the fighter of local gambling man Chick Gandil (Michael McGuire), who has an unbeatable brawler working for him, Jim Henry (Robert Tessier) - or so they think. Speed borrows a wad of cash from a loan shark and waves it under Gandil's nose, but although he's interested, he demands that the stakes be raised higher and while he acts outraged, Speed is secretly delighted because now he knows he is interested. With the more than capable Chaney as his combatant, the extra cash is raised.

Of course, it also involves Chaney shooting up a bar in order to secure it, but that's par for the course in a city, in a country even, where violence can be a commodity and a way of getting the upper hand: it's almost institutionalised, even if it is mainly in the shady underworld. Unfortunately for Speed, this means strongarm tactics can be used against him too, and he foolishly doesn't pay his debts. This leads to a curious atmosphere where intimidation is strictly business, and everyone accepts that these men have to do what they can to get by, whether it's beating someone up for money, or otherwise blurring the line between right and wrong.

Bronson was made for this type of role, and as he had lived through the Depression he knew what the part demanded, but there's only one thing that takes away from Hard Times, and that's the entirely superfluous romantic subplot. If you can call it that, there's little evidence of anything much going on between Chaney and hooker Lucy, but she is plainly present to give Bronson's wife Jill Ireland a role, as she has in most of his films after about 1970. This could have been dropped with no harm to the narrative. Mainly you want to see Bronson's almost Zen calm, and its interruptions into using his fists to survive, with the fight scenes looking authentic rather than over the top and over-choreographed. Couple this with Coburn's roguish charm and you have a taut, unsentimental and simple story well told. Music by Barry De Vorzon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4196 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Walter Hill  (1942 - )

American director, writer and producer who specialises in action and Westerns. Entered the industry in 1967 as an assistant director on The Thomas Crown Affair, and in 1972 adapted Jim Thompson's novel The Getaway for Sam Peckinpah. Hill made his directing debut in 1975 with the Charles Bronson actioner Hard Times, but it was The Driver that introduced his hard, stylish approach to the genre. The Warriors has become a campy cult favourite, while The Long Riders was his first foray into Westerns, with Geronimo, Wild Bill and the recent TV show Deadwood following in later years.

During the eighties and nineties, Hill directed a number of mainstream hits, including 48 Hours and its sequel, comedy Brewsters Millions and Schwarzenegger vehicle Red Heat, as well as smaller, more interesting pictures like Southern Comfort, Streets of Fire and Trespass. Hill was also producer on Alien and its three sequels, contributing to the story of the middle two parts.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: