Thursday, April 30, 2015


Got around to watching Michael Winner's Death Wish 3 (1985) last night. The original Death Wish from eleven years earlier had a certain New York grittiness and some sense of heightened realism to it, while the LA-set Death Wish 2 (1982) saw things starting to go over-the-top. But in Death Wish 3, Winner really takes proceeding completely into the territory of violent comic book fantasy, with most of the action taking place in a single New York block that looks more like a street in Beirut, and is completely overrun by cartoonish young thugs who delight in terrorising the local oldies and robbing them of their money and possessions, all of which they seem to get away with with ridiculous ease. All until Paul Kersey (Bronson) returns to New York, and instantly starts dishing out his own special brand of street justice.
Tacky, lurid and stupid but terrific action entertainment from its era, and certainly a fine example of what Cannon Films did best. Like Death Wish 2, it features a great Jimmy Page soundtrack, Bronson mowing-down literally dozens of low-rent crims with a machine gun, and a fine scuzzy villain in Manny Fraker (played by Gavan O'Herlihy). Marina Sirtis, Ed Lauter and Martin Balsam are all fun to watch, as well.