Machine Gun Kelly (1958): Breakdown by Kain424
A bank robbing gangster tries his hand at kidnapping, but is slowly eaten alive by his own fears.
This is apparently Charles Bronson’s first starring role, based upon the actual gangster of the same name. Bronson plays the part well, giving a layered performance by showing fear, anger, and a cruel arrogance. There are several scenes where Bronson seems to be doing his own thing while the actors around him are all seemingly going the motions.
The direction is all very quickly paced but with a scope that is surprising upon learning that the film was shot in only eight days. There are two bank heist scenes, chases, and even a couple shoot-outs. I think the film starts to drag a bit towards the end, but it’s really over before you know it.
While not among the better of the films of the era, or even among Bronson’s own filmography, Machine Gun Kelly does enough in a short amount of time to be entertaining and Bronson’s incarnation of Kelly is actually a very interesting approach. The idea of a woman wielding a dangerous gangster like her own weapon is also pretty cool.
Still, this one is only for fans of gangster films and old Chuck’s earlier work.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Charles Bronson is George R. “Machine Gun” Kelly
Bronson plays the character as a man with a hard shell, but underneath he is a frightened child. When he’s in control, Kelly is brutal, mean, and tough as nails. He wipes out five guys like it was nothing, remains dead calm during a heist, and even cackles like a giddy little boy once it’s over.
But when he’s not in control, he’s visibly fearful, breaking out in “cold sweat” at the sight of a coffin and waking up from a nightmare shrieking aloud. It’s certainly novel, but it’s iffy whether or not he’s really a bad-ass.
[THE BODY COUNT: 9 or 10]
Bronson is able to dispatch 7 or 8 people all on his own, killing most during a nighttime ambush with his trusty Tommygun. Another two of Kelly’s cohorts die at the hands of the law, and one bank guard may or may not die due to his wounds at the hand of Machine Gun Kelly.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
After all her pushing, jibing and goading, Bronson finally decks out Susan Cabot’s character of “Flo”. For man on woman violence, it’s strangely satisfying.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
In a bizarre twist, Charles Bronson doesn’t even take off his shirt in the movie. So there’s nothing here.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Machine Gun Kelly: “You tell you’re old lady to keep her wisecracks to herself or she’s gonna be wearin’ false ones!”
Other than a couple smart lines of dialog from Bronson and aside from the kidnap victim and her nurse, the women in this flick are all given quite a bit to do. Susan Cabot’s character is actually the one running the show, having scenes where she basically cuckholds Bronson’s titular character and takes a slapping like it didn’t happen. The movie goes so far as to show where she got it from too, with her mother being a strong female character as well.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Bronson busts in on a gang of gambling thugs who had threatened him earlier and guns them all down. Check it out:
[flashvideo filename=videos/MGK.avi.FLV /]
Copyright of Combia/Tri-Star.
“Afraid of gettin’ your hair mussed, Howard?”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Without their guns, these criminals are all cowards. And behind every gangster, there’s an evil woman goading him on.
[THE CHECKLIST: 07 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[ ] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice