The Evil That Men Do

1984

Action / Drama / Thriller

5
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 3049

Synopsis


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Cast

Charles Bronson as Holland
John Glover as Briggs
José Ferrer as Hector Lomelin
Theresa Saldana as Rhiana
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
754.52 MB
1280*714
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 2 / 3
1.43 GB
1920*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 2 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by paul_johnr 4 / 10

A great idea wasted

During an eight-year stretch of the 1980s when Charles Bronson made nine films, only one was released by a company other than the Cannon Group: 'The Evil That Men Do,' a TriStar Films pickup from Sir Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment firm. Bronson was already in the thick of his collaborations with director J. Lee Thompson, which ran through numerous actioners until 'Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects' in 1989.

Expectations should run pretty high with Bronson and Thompson working for a better-funded outfit like ITC, but 'The Evil That Man Do' is a great disappointment on many levels. While still from the low budget, B-movie mold of the 1980s, 'Evil' has tantalizing potential for a great film. Everyone in the production department, however, took an easy way out and sold hack work undeserving of Bronson's imprint. 'The Evil That Men Do' had a concept and technical resources that could have been used to make one of Bronson and Thompson's best films, but instead will go down as one of their most average.

This 1984 political thriller/actioner opens in brutal fashion with Clement Molloch (Joseph Maher), a British doctor, holding his special training class for political leaders in Surinam. The gray-haired, passive Molloch is an expert on torture methods who is employed by numerous political regimes. In the opening seven minutes, we witness Molloch using electrical current to inflict unbearable pain on Jorge Hidalgo (Jorge Humberto Robles), a dissident journalist. As you may expect, the scene is awful to watch and was cut from the original VHS release.

Hidalgo was none other than a friend of Holland (Bronson), a retired assassin who is enjoying life in the Cayman Islands. Holland was approached by the journalist years before to rid humanity of Molloch, but turned the offer down. A Mexican professor named Hector Lomelin (José Ferrer) visits shortly after Hidalgo's death to talk Holland into finishing the job, bringing videotapes of testimony from The Doctor's victims. While in denial at first, Holland eventually agrees to the dirty work, targeting Molloch and his doting sister Claire (Antoinette Bower) in Guatemala.

Holland enters Guatemala City with help from an adviser, Max Ortiz (René Enríquez); he poses as a tourist with Hidalgo's widow Rhiana (Theresa Saldana) and young daughter Sarah (Amanda Nicole Thomas) in tow. As with most of Bronson's later output, his character knocks off Molloch's henchmen one by one, crossing paths with a sleazy American diplomat (John Glover) and his supporting hit-man (Roger Cudney) along the way. A brutal ending takes place in the crevices of an opal mine, where The Doctor gets just deserts from several of his victims.

'The Evil That Men Do' is based on a forgotten novel by R. Lance Hill and jumps at American political dealings in Latin America during the 1980s. Indeed, 'Evil' is hard-boiled in every sense of the term, as it uses sensationalism and doses of brutality to cover up huge weaknesses in plot and character development. For every plus this film has, there are three or four minuses, resulting from shod craftsmanship.

While 'The Evil That Men Do' has a great concept, the film is never truly more than an excuse for Bronson to wipe out foreign-based scum. In the style of bad pulp fiction, 'Evil' is filled with cardboard characters that we never get to know or understand. Holland, despite being played strongly by Bronson, never talks about his inner feelings or explains what motivated him into becoming a killer for hire. Rhiana, a terribly weak part for Theresa Saldana, is disgusted by Holland for much of the way but later feels an affection for him. Where does her love come from, especially after watching Holland kill several people and wanting to go home just a few scenes before?

The most interesting characters are actually Molloch and his sister Claire, because so many questions can be asked of them. Naturally, we never find out what has brought them so close together, how and where their torture dealings started, what Claire's exact role in their business is…These plot holes can go on forever, especially with the paint-by-numbers storyline that seems to make things up as it goes along. Why is Hidalgo's daughter brought into such a dangerous situation, other than for her to be conveniently taken hostage by Molloch? If Molloch's bodyguard Randolph (Raymond St. Jacques) clearly saw Holland and Rhiana in the cockfight arena, why is he so friendly with them in a bar afterwords? Is his memory that short? And what really was the purpose, other than cheap theatrics, of Holland throwing Molloch's chauffeur Cillero (Jorge Luke) off a window ledge when the murder could have been handled more discreetly in Claire's apartment?

The overall acting is decent and somehow Bronson gives one of his strongest performances. J. Lee Thompson's direction is lacking at points, but may have been compromised by limited time on site. Besides Evil's filming in Mexico, the presence of ITC is clear through better production values, cinematography, and music. Rural locations are well-used to convey the hot and dusty atmosphere of Latin America and cinematographer Xavier Cruz provides rich color and clarity. The orchestral score by Ken Thorne ('Murphy's War') is refreshing in an era of synthesized junk. Oddly enough, these positives only add to the frustration of a good movie that is screaming to come out. Peter Lee Thompson's editing is better than usual, although with more laughable continuity errors.

'The Evil Than Men Do' was perfect grindhouse material for the early 80s and I find it hard to recommend for 21st century action fans. The DVD from Columbia TriStar Entertainment is an okay presentation, offering widescreen and standard format with four-language subtitles. While the video quality is well above average, 'Evil' was originally recorded in plain mono audio. The theatrical trailer is offered and actually has a grindhouse feel, with eroded color and fuzzy sound quality.

** out of 4

Reviewed by TheExpatriate700 6 / 10

Good Old Fashioned Grindhouse Fare, But Could Have Been So Much Better

The Evil That Men Do is at once typical and atypical Charles Bronson 1980s fare. On one hand, it contains the grind house trademarks of graphic violence and gratuitous sex that characterized most of Bronson's eighties output. At the same time, it touches on serious political themes that most of his other action films shied away from.

In particular, the film examines the torture being carried out by right wing Latin American regimes during that decade with tacit American support. Unlike most of the right wing vigilante films that Bronson appeared in, this film takes a subtle, if not particularly well explored left wing tack.

The film's violence will not disappoint action or gore fans. The opening torture sequence, reportedly heavily cut, is still quite gruesome. Furthermore, the villains meet some of the nastier deaths in action film history, particularly in the bloody climax. The Columbia / TriStar DVD release renders all this in a beautifully restored print, making it look like it was released yesterday, rather than 26 years ago.

However, one cannot help but wish their had been a more open examination of the political themes that underlie the film, particularly the American involvement in human rights abuses. The film itself begs for a remake, focusing on torture during the War on Terror.

Reviewed by zardoz-13 8 / 10

The Evil That Bronson Does!!!

J. Lee Thompson's "The Evil That Men Do" casts tough guy actor Charles Bronson of the "Death Wish" franchise as a no-nonsense professional killer who reluctantly comes out of retirement on his desert island to eliminate an individual who specializes in human torture. Dr. Clement Molloch (Joseph Maher of "Heaven Can Wait") interrogates and tortures prisoners for Third World Latin American dictators. The villain's surname 'Molloch' is a variation of the word 'Moloch,' an Old Testament god of the Ammonites and the Phoenicians to whom children were sacrificed by burning. The Molloch here doesn't torture children, but he is appropriately nefarious when he makes his adult victims suffer. Unquestionably, the evil doctor is a human rights violator like few you will ever see in movies. The scene at the outset of the action where his men and he attach electrodes to the nipples and genitals of a highly respected journalist Jorge Hidalgo (Mexican actor Jorge Humberto Robles) and gives him bursts to electricity to learn what he knows is pretty strong stuff even for an R-rated movie. Mind you, Thompson doesn't show the devastated areas, we simply see a completely nude man hanging in a sling with the wires trailing from his chest and pelvis. Dr. Hector Lomelin (Jose Ferrer of "The Shrike") visits Holland (Charles Bronson) on his island, where he resides in a kind of self-imposed exile and asks him to kill Molloch. Holland is saddened by the news of his journalist friend's death and then he watches several videos that Lomelin provides of interviews with Molloch's victims and hears about the man's horrendous crimes against mankind. Nevertheless, Holland refuses to accept Lomelin's offer until a later scene when he shows up unexpectedly at the professor's class room.

Nothing gets in Holland's way once he takes the job. He refuses to work for pay. He arranges for Lomelin to get him a woman and a child to pose as his wife and daughter so that he will attract less attention from the locals. In one amusing scene, Holland and his faux wife Rhiana Hidalgo, wife of the death journalist (Theresa Saldana of "Defiance") enter a dive of a bar. While Holland gets their drinks, an enormous Hispanic guy decides to join them and fondle Rhiana. Holland surprises this gigantic hombre by knocking the table out of the way and seizing the dastard by the testicles and crushing them in the iron grip of his fist. Of course, this hulk crumples into a huddle of arms and legs at Holland's feet and offers no further interference. This display of self-defense attracts the attention of Molloch's bodyguard, Randolph (Raymond St. Jacques of "Cotton Comes to Harlem") and he joins our hero and heroine. Shrewdly, Holland tells Randolph that Rhiana and he are looking for someone else to have sex with and the deal is sealed. They go back to Holland's motel and Holland immediately kills Randolph with a knife and hangs him upside down to bleed his corpse out in the shower.

"Guns of Navarone" director J. Lee Thompson pulls no punches in this hard-as-nails thriller with his depiction of either Molloch's savage torture techniques or Holland's icy methods of disposing with his antagonists. Consequently, "The Evil That Men Do" still retains its edgy quality some twenty years after its initial release. On the other hand, Thompson doesn't resort to sensationalism for the sake of sensationalism, and this thriller is fairly straightforward without any outlandish or unbelievable scenes. This is one reason that I think makes it so good. The closest that you get to exploitative sleaziness involves Molloch's evil sister Claire (Antoinette Bower)who is a lesbian. Another scene has our hero wielding a mean pump action shotgun with deadly proficiency. Although he was past his prime at this point in his career, Bronson is nevertheless in fine form as the gimlet-eyed, tight-lipped assassin. The grim finale at a mining compound where Molloch gets his comeuppance from past disfigured victims resembles the ending of Todd Browning's horror classic "Freaks." The miners surround Molloch's car and shove long spikes through it with the villain trapped in the back seat with nowhere to run. The wild thing is that Joseph Maher is totally convincing as the heinous villain, but as an actor he didn't specialize in villainous roles. Theresa Saldana is convincing as Jorge's wife who accompanies Holland on his mission. People who prefer their crime dramas with a hard boiled intensity will savor this grim saga. Ken Thorne's offbeat music is a plus.

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