Larry N. from BEALETON, VA Reviewed on 4/28/2015...
Good Burt Reynolds movie! The reviews below cover it all.
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"Do You Think I'll Live?"
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 08/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have always been a fan of Burt Reynolds. Sure, the guy has made some of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history, such as "Stroker Ace," "Cop and a Half," and several others too painful to mention. When I say I am a fan, I am not necessarily referring to his best known films like "Smokey and the Bandit,"...or "The Longest Yard." I like Reynolds's seedy looking films, those low budget action flicks that look like they cost five dollars to make. "White Lightening," "Heat," and "Gator" are always worth watching. I used to list "Sharky's Machine" as one of Reynolds's best efforts until I watched it again recently for the first time in many years. This 1981 action/thriller should give the viewer the best Reynolds has to offer: he directed it, starred in it, and made sure to assemble a stellar cast including Richard Libertini, Brian Keith, Charles Durning, Rachel Ward, Vittorio Gassman, and Henry Silva. In fact, you will recognize so many faces in this movie that you will start to wonder how Reynolds got all of these guys together without spending his entire budget on salaries. Unfortunately, Reynolds's directorial debut drags in spots due to the inclusion of decidedly non-action elements and slow pacing. "Sharky's Machine" is the film version of a book written by author William Diehl.Reynolds plays Atlanta police detective Tom Sharky, a tough as nails cop attempting to crack down on the city's heroin trade. After a failed drug buy results in the death of an innocent bystander, the department ships Sharky off to the vice department as penance for his reckless heroics. Located in the dingy basement of police headquarters, the vice room is about as filthy as you could imagine. The other police officers consider vice as the bottom of the barrel, and so does Sharky until he uncovers a prostitution ring with links to a gubernatorial candidate... The cast is the main reason to watch "Sharky's Machine." Libertini is a hoot as the scatterbrained Nosh, Durning plays Sharky's supervisor Friscoe with lung shattering intensity, Brian Keith is the always hungry Papa, and Bernie Casey plays the philosophical Arch. Rachel Ward is effective as Dominoe, and Vittorio Gassman oozes his way through the role of crime kingpin Victor. Henry Silva steals the movie as the ominous killer who possesses no scruples whatsoever. Silva was born to play bad guys on the silver screen, and that is what he has done throughout his career, but in "Sharky's Machine" he turns in the performance of a lifetime. It is regrettable that Silva does not get more screen time. Until I rewatched the film, I thought Silva appeared in nearly every scene but that's only because his performance is so over the top that it dominated my memories of the movie. If you watch "Sharky's Machine" for no other reason than Henry Silva's performance, you will still get a thrill out of this movie.With the exception of a few of the characters and a several gritty scenes of violence including chopped off fingers, a gory shotgun blast to the head, and some shootouts, "Sharky's Machine" is a good, not spectacular, movie. I took particular offense with the romantic subplot between Sharky and Dominoe. These scenes seemed to drag on forever, with heavy doses of melodrama piled on top of a mountain of implausibility. Are we really supposed to believe that these two will get together? I recognize that most films always rely on a romance to help propel the narrative, but in a sleazy story like "Sharky's Machine," I want that interaction minimized. Too much emphasis on the relationship between Dominoe and Sharky seriously hampers the flow of this movie.The DVD version is weak, with zero in the way of extras and a full screen picture transfer. How about having Burt Reynolds do a commentary for a widescreen edition? Since Reynolds directed and starred in the film, I am sure his insights would be more than sufficient in explaining the nuts and bolts of the movie. I would secretly appreciate a contribution on a potential commentary track from Henry Silva, but that will surely never happen. If you can stomach the cheesy disco soundtrack and the large injections of romantic interludes, you will probably enjoy watching "Sharky's Machine." At the very least, you get to see Burt Reynolds crack some heads and that is always fun."
Reynolds comes up with a winner here!!
Michael Pettinato | U.S.A. | 01/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like his pal Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds tried his hand at directing & does a pretty good job here, In this he is Sharky, a vice detective who is after a drug & prostitution kingpin played by Victor Gassman, while pursuing the case, he is soon spying on one of Victor's high priced call girls(Rachel Ward), hoping for a lead, but soon begins to be smitten with her, he soon discovers a local politician who is campaigning to be a Senator is involved with not only her, but Victor as well, this complicates things as Victor soon has his deranged coke-addicted brother(Henry Silva in a chilling role) kill what seems to be Ward in an effort to blackmail the Senator into a agreement, it is Ward's friend who is killed instead as Reynolds soon discovers & takes Ward to a safe place where they begin to fall for one another, one of the best scenes is Reynolds confrontation with Victor, in which we see Victor taunt Reynolds in such a way as he tells him that he owns him & the whole police force & Reynolds responding back about how he plans to rid his town of his kind is powerful to say the least, what makes this film work is the realism of it all, with Reynolds as the underdog taking on a big kingpin, who has much power & influence that Reynolds can only trust those close to him as he has his own team of cops to help him, Ward & Reynolds share a unique chemistry & we learn why Victor has such a hold on her, Henry Silva is at his best as Victor's coke-addicted brother who can as a result of his addiction take several gunshots & keep going is chilling, as Reynolds & his team take Silva on, Reynolds proved that he could be more than the "Bandit" here & in the little seen 1985 film "Stick" as well, but his career went south do to personal problems in his personal life, but made a comback in 1997's "Boogie Nights" & should have won on Oscar night, but this one is a good police drama that is rarely seen in today's Hollywood, & should be rereleased in a widescreen format on DVD, but for now, it is a keeper!!"
Burt's Machine Keeps On Rolling
Richard Ballard | United States | 04/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In "Sharky's Machine" Burt Reynolds plays Sgt. Tom Sharky, a case-hardened (tough outside, soft inside) Atlanta vice cop investigating the possible extortion of a gubernatorial candidate. During wiretaps and stakeouts Sharkey falls in love with Dominoe (Rachel Ward), the candidate's spoiled call girl girlfriend. When the candidate offers to take Dominoe out of 'the life' and to support her, Dominoe's gypsy owner/trainer Victor feels his control over the candidate threatened. Victor arranges for Dominoe's murder. By coincidence Dominoe escapes, Sharkey hides Dominoe, and they work together to end Victor's reign of terror.Burt Reynolds directed "Sharkey's Machine" and he plays Tom Sharkey with his "Deliverance" bravado but without the hard edges. Burt assembled a strong cast. Rachel Ward is *stunning* as Dominoe. Brian Keith, Bernie Casey and Richard Libertini are Sharkey's police buddies -- his 'machine' which is destroyed in the process of bringing down Victor. Vittorio Gassman plays cold threatening Victor and Henry Silva plays his Dilaudin/cocaine-wired shootist associate -- both deliver extremely strong performances. And Darryl Hickman effectively uses brother Dwayne's 'Dobie Gillis nice guy' persona in an interrogation/torture scene.Years have passed since Burt Reynolds' football days and Burt has played many characters. Burt still plays rough today. "Sharkey's Machine" is a superior showcase for Burt Reynolds' many talents."
Atlanta gets the major city treatment!
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 05/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Burt Reynolds continued his love affair with Georgia's capital by setting his ultraviolent crime saga in the city of the South. The Atlanta background is only window dressing for a tale that could occur in any metropolis in the U.S.Reynold's directing is tight and he does well in the title role. Great support comes from Rachel Ward, Brian Keith, veteran heavy Henry Silva, Bernie Casey, Reynold's longtime friend Charles Durning, and the always reliable Earl Holliman.The film may not make any "best of" lists, but it is still an enjoyable cop drama, with exciting twists and turns, plus it provides an early '80's glimpse of crime in urban America.."
One of Reynolds' Best Films
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 11/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sharky's Machine is the kind of film that Burt Reynolds desperately wanted to transition to while he was at the top of the box office in the late 70's/early 80's, and it's easy to see why he wanted to make more movies like this, and less like the good-old boy Smokey and The Bandit and Cannonball Run films. This is a movie with grit, heart, very good performances, and definitely a change of pace for a guy who was known for his jokes and quips as much as he was for action.
And there isn't much funny about Sharky's Machine, based off of the best-selling novel by William Diehl. Reynolds plays Sharky, an Atlanta cop who loses his rank after a very public bust goes very bad. He ends up in the Vice Squad, but runs across a prostitution ring that has government connections, drugs, and a deadly hitman, played by Henry Silva. The Machine is the group of cops and experts that help Sharky break the case, and they are played by Brian Keith, Bernie Casey, John Fiedler, and Richard Libertini. Rachel Ward plays the love interest and Vittorio Gassman plays the pimp behind it all.
Full of action, tension, tragedy, and some humor, Sharky's Machine could have been a great transition to a great new level of Reynolds' career. But he kept making mostly good-old-boy films until he wore out his welcome. At least Sharky's Machine shows what might have been."