Sharky's Machine (1981)

German WB Blu-ray edition

Text below written 2020-03-05


Yes, this film is slightly B-ish regarding the direction, plotholes and some dialogue that's cringy, BUT, as the rest works perfectly
with the gritty atmosphere of Atlanta, Georgia, caught on camera by cinematographer William A. Fraker, with the great Henry Silva
as an ultra-nasty junkie killer, some fine action scenes including a shoot-out, a slimy Bad Guy in Vittorio Gassman and the super
HOT Rachel Ward, the actress with just the husky smoky voice that the femme fatale's of Film Noir used to have, this makes ....

Sharky's Machine one of the Greatest Neo Noir Crime Action films i've ever seen.

That's an impressive feat by Burt Reynolds, as most director's fail when trying to make a Neo Film Noir. With Henry Silva as the
Hitman, an actor that infuses energy and tension into every film he has played the bad guy, and with a huge rip-off .... or possible
homage to Otto Preminger's 1944 Film Noir masterpiece Laura (read more about this film on my Film Noir page) Burt succeeds.

1944 Laura

Kudos to Burt Reynolds having a like for old Film Noir movies when he borrows some of the plot in Laura, as when the killer shoots
the wrong girl with a shotgun through the door and the victim has her face blown away, and when the dead woman turns up in her
apartment and encounters a crime cop snooping around with her things.
Probably, if the film censors had permitted it, Dana Andrews in 1944 Laura and Sharky in this 1981 film would be seen sniffing the
panties of the beautiful murder victims. Dana Andrews with his pants down masturbating and sniffing - what a shocking sight,
that would've been the end of Hollywood as we know it.
In Laura David Raksin's Laura Theme can be heard and here we get to hear My Funny Valentine played and sung by Chet Baker.

This film starts with a wailing saxophone and the great Randy Crawford singing her big Hit "Street Life" during the opening credits
and then cop Sergeant Sharky bungles up a drug bust with a civilian dying. As a punishment he's transferred to the Vice Division
and with Charles Durning as his new boss and with Papa (Brian Keith) and Arch (Bernie Casey) as his new colleagues.

SPOILERS BELOW - BEWARE ! SPOILERS BELOW - BEWARE !

 

Dominoe

A prostitute and a corrupt cop are murdered and a politician campaigning for Governor is involved with a 1 000 USD prostitute
named Dominoe (Rachel Ward). Sharky's gang starts monitoring her and her apartment for leads, and a killer is loose.
Burt Reynold is fine in the main role and i remember seing this in the cinema in the early 1980's.

There are some blatant inconsistencies in the film however, as: 1. Why would Sardinian hitman Carlo Scorelli (Henry Silva) normally
a smooth effective killer using his silencer-gun suddenly use a noisy shotgun in an apartment building ?
2. He took the elevator down but the doorman didn't see him, and this even though Sharky specifically told him to stay and watch
the elevators 3. In the big shoot-out scene there are some 100 cops standing in the building and outside of it, and a lenghty shoot-
out follows where 2 cops get shot by the bad guy but no cops provide any backup, they just stand idly by and listen to the guns
blazing .... "Oh, everything's going fine, let's stand here and wait".

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 with an english audio DTS HD MA 5.1 with english subtitles, theatrical trailer

 

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