Charles Bronson, his wife Jill Ireland, J. Lee Thompson and producer Pancho Kohner had purchased the rights to this novel in 1980 and tried to bring it to Cannon after Death Wish 2, but they didn’t want to pay for all of the costs, so Bronson used it as the last movie on his contract with ITC.
The writer of the book. R. Lance Hill, wrote the first draft under the name David Lee Henry, with the script being finished by John M. Crowther (who was a MAD cartoonist and also wrote Kill and Kill Again). Don’t feel bad for Hill, who went on to write Road House.
Fielder Cook (How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life) was the original director, but he was dealing with late career Bronson who had his whole family on set and would work eight hours a day and then be done. Obviously, J. Lee Thompson would need to come back and direct.
Clement “The Doctor” Molloch (Jospeh Mahler) isn’t a healer. He’s an expert in torture used by governments all over the world. He kills anyone in his way, like journalist Jorge Hidalgo (Jorge Humberto Robles) and can even outwit the Mossad.
When Holland (Bronson), a retired killer for the CIA, learns of his friend Hidalgo’s death, he decides to make it his business to do what assassins worldwide have never been able to do: bring Molloch to justice. His plan involves taking Jorge’s widow Rhiana (Theresa Saldana; Ireland was originally going to play this role, but as associate producer she advocated for Saldana, who had survived being stabbed ten times with a hunting knife by an obsessive stalker only two years earlier) and her daughter Sarah (Amanda Nicole Thomas) into Guatemala, where the Doctor is based, under the guise that they are a family.
Holland is a deadly and driven man, someone willing to physically manhandle a man who gets too close to Rhiana and then work with her to lure a henchman to their hotel for a threeway and then immediately stab the man right in the neck as she looks on absolutely shocked.
It turns out that Moloch has more power — and connections — than Holland believed, but then again, Holland is also Charles Bronson. No matter the setbacks, he’s going to do all he can to stop a man who he may have more in common with than he’d like to admit.
Hey — Jose Ferrer and John Glover are in it too, so Bronson and team weren’t skimping when it came to the supporting cast. And the ending is stark and totally perfect.