Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Death Wish 3


Directed by: Michael Winner
Screenplay: Don Jakoby (as Michael Edmonds)
Starring: Charles Bronson, Ed Lauter, Deborah Raffin, Martin Balsam, Gavan O’Herlihy, Alex Winter

If you love/watch/consume action films and are a fan of the man Bronson, then there is no doubt you have seem the insanity that is Death Wish 3 (and if you haven’t, rectify this now!). Abandoning the grim and gut wrenching tone of the first two instalments, Death Wish 3 instead goes for wild action looniness that jettisons all shock and seriousness and instead ramps up the absurd and action stunt mayhem to create an over-the-top 80s cult classic. Bronson once again returns as one man vigilante force Paul Kersey who, upon a visit to New York to see his old friend, finds himself taking up massive handguns and bazookas in order to take revenge on the gang who have murdered said friend. Death Wish 1 and 2 director Michael Winner also returns (for his final bow as a Death Wish helmer) and pushes every aspect of the gun toting, vengeance seeking Kersey through the stratosphere  to very entertaining effect.

Winner has stated that when he came to make Death Wish 3 he wanted to go all out in the action and stunts to create the biggest Death Wish yet and, well, mission accomplished. The original Death Wish still holds up as a darkly effective revenge/vigilante thriller with bursts of action and the first sequel, while dated in some aspects, is still quite a shocking film which walks a risky line between disturbing exploitation and action thriller. Death Wish 2 introduced better and more sustained action scenes while still keeping the dark and repellent tone of the original but Death Wish 3 is an over-the-top 80s action flick through and through that features probably the biggest and best action blowout in the whole series. 

Bronson, who was apparently no big fan of this installment, is more like a carton version of Kersey this time around and the whole vibe almost seems like a piss take of the first two films. Yet with his massive handgun and gruff attitude Bronson still convinces as the one man killing machine and with a vicious gang of thugs (who could really only exist in an 80s action film!) lead by the memorable Fraker (complete with ridiculous/awesome inverted Mohawk/head stripe combo, and played with convincing menace by Gavan O’Herlihy), Kersey has his work cut out. This leads to mucho booby-trap setting, bazooka blowing up and in one, well, let’s just say freaking awesome scene: Kersey and a buddy running around, blowing away evil gang members with the biggest machine gun this side of an anti-aircraft gun!

With Winner’s lean and mean direction/editing streamlined to the extreme, means there is no messing about, no fat, no unwanted subplots: just the sheer realization of Bronson’s cinematic justice serving persona reaching its violently bombastic (and ridiculous!) zenith as he turns a grimy New York suburb  into an all out war zone. Never has the phrase “They sure don’t make them like this anymore more!” been more apt. 

No comments: