Sharky's Machine Reviews
I finally got that it was based in Atlanta, at least that's where the governor was running for office. Does it really get that cold there, and what was the odd Italian and Chinese mafia bits? These gaps in the plot are what weaken its legacy.
Despite corny dialogue in the slower scenes (and in one or two of the macho tough scenes particularly Burt's "pulling the chain" monologue) and a love interest with Rachel Ward (who is clearly not an actress whatsoever and doesn't even try despite her natural beauty) and the annoying and out of place mainstream jazz score (Burt never came close to the chops Clint did) if this was all cut from the film and focused on Burt being the true bad ass he is and just protecting a witness instead of falling for her, the film would almost be up in the running for the great action/crime thrillers.
The interaction with the "machine" is downright hilarious, tough and even moving sometimes all at once, and with Bernie Casey, Charles Durning, Richard Libertini and Bryan Keith all lending a hand it makes the film special.
Vittorio Gassman doesn't have the chops to be a meancing villian, and his motives aren't clear except just to have power but Henry Silva proves his lifelong mettle as the man who played villians to end all of villains in any role and gives his all as the frightening and downright sadistic Billy Score.
Add to these highpoints the opening chase sequence will bullets flying (in the gritty 70's-early 80's style for true toughness) through the streets of Atlanta, a nightmare of a botche attempted hit from Score, the most disturbing interrogation scene in an action film to date and still of all-time (yes the fingers are shown) and one of the most amazing stunts of all-time ever caught on film of a leap of 200 feet from a high rise, and Sharky's Machine is worth it, albeit dated, but still enjoyable. And the balletic violence and halestorm of bullets and suspense in the last 1/2 hour does give Clint a run for his money. Too bad the film wasn't tighter.
But when he was at his peak during the 70s and early 80s amid all the good old boy comedies he made and sometimes directed some moderatley interesting films.
Sharkys Machine is a fine example of one of those movies and its up there with other gritty cop movies from that period such as 48 hours and of course Tightrope.
Reynolds plays Sharky a homicide cop transfered to vice after a botched drugs bust.
During a routine surrveillance of high class call girl Dominoe played by Rachel Ward ,Sharky and his misfit band of cops become involved in a political scandal which could see them all wind up dead.
Despite a little bit of sagging in the middle the film itself is pretty darn good with Brian Keith ,Charles Durning ,Bernie Casey and Richard Libertini all on good form as Sharkys fellow cops.
Also kudos to Reynolds for reigning in his schtick and even allowing himself to have some of his fingers cut off in a very painful scene.
Extra special mention for Henry Silva as an untterly demented and drug crazed hitman his performance is one of a kind.
I have to say i throughly enjoyed this film and it still baffles me as to why its never made it onto DVD in the UK as its one of Reynolds very best efforts.