Wifes and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham (Charles Dierkop) become victims of a slaughter in his own house . The police believes the massacre had a religious motive . Orville doesn't give any comment on the investigation and he is taken into protective custody . Tough 'Denver Tribune' crime reporter Garret Smith (Bronson , he was about sixty-six years of age when he appeared here) persuades him to help him in the case of the slaying of his family . As there is an extreme feud between different Mormon sects , one being led by Willis Beecham (Jeff Corey) and the other led by his brother Zenas Beecham (John Ireland) . Smith , helped by Jastra Watson (Trish Van Devere) , uncovers a strange conspiracy around old-rich real state .
This light entertainment and standard Bronson movie is full of action , thrills , and disturbing scenes . Here Bronson rules in his usual stoic acting and displays efficiently his weapons , killing mercilessly nasties . The meaning and relevance of this movie's title is that it refers to a drawing featuring an avenging angel of death that is left at a crime scene at the beginning of the flick . The title also suggests that Bronson is a 'Messenger of Death', the word messenger also being a play on words with this, as his character is a reporter , a job which involves writing news articles , they being "messages" in a sense . In the film there is frantic action , thrilling car/trucks pursuits , shootouts , intrigue , little bit of violence and including a twisted as well as suspenseful finale . Based on a book and scripted by Paul Jarrico , as its source Rex Burns novel 'The Avenging Angel' was first published in 1983 , though the film has little in common with the novel it is based on . From the beginning until ending the action-packed and fast moving is continued and that's why the picture results to be entertaining . This is one of the last films (last movie was Kinjite) Charles Bronson made for Cannon Films and it represents the ninth and final of ten teamings between producer Pancho Kohner and star actor Bronson . Charles Bronson acting is wooden as being habitual in his roles as an investigator/executioner . Here he plays a reporter who carries out an investigation and finds out about economic motives for a massacre . This journalist evokes the crime writer character he played in St. Ives (1976) , the first movie he made with Thompson . The great spotlights of the film are the spectacular chases , car crashes between Bronson's car and the big juggernaut as well as the ending confrontation that's stimulating and moving . Nice and wide support cast , such as : Daniel Benzali , Marilyn Hasset , John Cedar , Penny Peyser , Tom Everett and Gene Davis who starred a heinous killer in ¨10 to midnight¨ by Thompson . Special mention for Laurence Luckinbill who gives an overacting with quite gesticulation . And the elders of this movie's religious groups are played by three stars of old Western movies : Charles Dierkop , Jeff Corey and John Ireland . It packs and evocative and adequate cinematography by Gideon Porath . Atmospheric soundtrack by Robert O. Ragland , including stirring choral score in the title and final credits composed in ¨Jerry Goldsmith's Omen¨ style .
The fare was regularly directed by J. Lee Thompson , though he fell ill during the making of this film , the picture was then finished by the first and 2nd unit director : Robert C. Ortwin Jr. and George Van Noy . It's narrated understanding as well as hardly . This movie represented the eighth and penultimate of nine teaming of director 'J Lee Thompson' with star actor Charles Bronson . This Thompson movie was theatrically released between his pictures Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1986) and Kinjite (1989) , both of them starred by Bronson . Thompson previously had a nice track record in the English cinema from 1950 until 1961 , directing good Western (McKenna's gold , White Buffalo) and all king genres as Sci-Fi (Conquest and Battle of planet of apes), terror (reincarnation of Peter Proud , Eye of the devil), adventures (Flame over India , Kings of the sun , Taras Bulba , Tiger Bay) and Warlike ( Guns of Navarone, Von Braun , Chairman , The passage). His two biggest successes turned out to be ¨Guns of Navarone¨and ¨Cape Fear¨. Thereafter , the filmmaker's career subsided in a morass of slickly realized but middling films. He moved into the field of international spectaculars , at which point his filmmaking seemed to lose its individuality . J. Lee Thomson working from the 50s in England, finished his career making Chuck Norris (Firewalker) and Charles Bronson vehicles (Caboblanco , Evil that men do, Messenger of death, Death Wish 4 : Crackdown, Caboblanco, St Ives). Firewalker rating : Mediocre but passable , but it will appeal to Charles Bronson fans