CANNON MONTH 2: Act of Vengeance (1986)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Act of Vengeance was an HBO movie not produced by Cannon but was released on video by HBO/Cannon Video.

Act of Vengeance is based on the book by Trevor Armbrister and is all about the corruption that occurred during the United Mine Workers’ presidential elections in 1969, including the death of Joseph “Jock” Yablonski, played in this movie by Charles Bronson with no mustache!

Directed by John Mackenzie and written by Scott Spencer (who wrote the novel Endless Love was based on), it starts with Jock being surprised by his wife (Ellen Burstyn) and family on his birthday. They’re upset that Tony Boyle (Wilford Brimley) has been picked as the mine worker president. Jock laughs it off but starts to realize that Tony is a horrible leader, someone who has no empathy when eighty miners die in West Virginia and no ethics when he asks Jock to do some creative accounting.

Two of Tony’s underlings, Albert Pass (Alan North) and Silous Huddleston (Hoyt Axton) figure out what to do: hire lowlifes like Hudleston’s son-in-law Paul (Robert Schenkkan), who has be convinced by his wife Annie (Ellen Barkin) to do the hit, along with Claude (Maury Chaykin) and Buddy Martin (Keanu Reeves) to kill Paul as he sleeps in bed with his wife, killing her and their daughter Charlotte (Caroline Kava) too.

That’s right. Bronson gets shot dead while he sleeps. Come on!

You could watch this as John Wick versus Paul Kersey or Theodore Logan getting revenge for Bill S. Preston, Esq. for Death Wish 3 or just a movie where Bronson gets to flex his dramatic muscles. A lot of it probably hit home for him, as before he was an actor, Charles Dennis Buchinsky was a coal miner in his hometown of Ehrenfeld, PA, starting at the age of ten when his father died. He claimed in interviews that he earned a dollar for each ton of coal that he mined and that he and his brother often found themselves nearly dying in cave-ins.

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