Hard Times stars Charles Bronson as a mysterious stranger whose fists make money for him and small-time gambler James Coburn in illegal slugging matches.
Coburn’s character lacks substance; he’s a likeable heel one minute, an unlikeable one the next. At fadeout, after Bronson has fought one last fight to save Coburn’s hide, Bronson meanders out of the film.
Jill Ireland is excellent in a touching performance as a down-and-out girl who has a brief affair with Bronson. Strother Martin is also excellent as a dope addict and unlicensed medic who works with Coburn. Michael McGuire is strong as a bigtime gambler.
The production has a very handsome mid-1930s New Orleans period flavour but the cast can’t lick the script.