Cannon Films didn't launch too many careers, but they certainly extended quite a few of them. The prolific producing team of Golan-Globus made the most out of their small budgets by featuring not-ready-for-prime-time players like Chuck Norris and past-their-prime action stars like Charles Bronson who likely would have been put out to pasture by the major studios. Even the behind-the-camera talent was full of wily veterans who knew who to crank out a movie with minimal muss and fuss. That the final product was mediocre was really beside the point; Cannon always seemed to have an endless supply of B-movie ammunition ready to reload and try again. Murphy's Law (1986) is one of the more bland pictures to come out of the Cannon factory, starring Bronson as a recently divorced, perpetually drunk cop who gets framed for gunning down his ex-wife. While in a holding cell, he stages a breakout with a foul-mouthed, female prisoner in tow (literally...they're handcuffed together!), steals a helicopter and sets off to clear his name. A sub-plot involving surly gangsters is mixed in for flavor, but the chief nemesis winds up being a vengeful ex-con (Carrie Snodgress) who's settling scores with everyone who put her behind bars. There's more than a hint of Dirty Harry to it all, which comes from writer Gail Morgan Hickman whose first film credit was for 1976's The Enforcer (although here he pilfers more from the recent Sudden Impact). Director J. Lee Thompson, a seasoned pro from as far back as the original Cape Fear and frequent Bronson collaborator, doesn't bother with any of Eastwood's politics or overt misogyny though. This is a by-the-numbers, color-inside-the-lines, keep-the-clich├ęs-coming mid-'80s action movie that winds up wheezing towards the direct-to-video finish line. Bronson carries himself well-enough - Cannon was a late-career godsend for the actor who had a vested interest in their nine collaborations starting with rough and ugly Death Wish 2 - but is eclipsed by Kathleen Wilhoite (Gilmore Girls), whose corny but colorful barrage of constant insults at least gives her character something to cling to. The rest of the cast (even Snodgress, who seems to be trying too hard) vanishes into their respectively generic roles, waiting to kill or be killed. Film buffs might perk up for the final, though, set inside the architecturally-interesting Bradbury Building, most notable for its use in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Murphy's Law didn't give anyone much to brag about. But for their 3000-copy limited edition Blu-ray, Twilight Time did manage to track down the film's MVP, Kathleen Wilhoite, for a commentary. She's joined by moderator Nick Redman, who does a good job of steering her many, many stories from the production into semblance of cinematic order. The transfer itself is a bit chippy, with a stray nick or two, but always convincingly hi-def, especially in the dark scenes. An isolated score track, trailer and liner notes complete the package.

Isolated Score Track  I  Trailer  I

Liner Notes  I  Audio Commentary