Saturday, October 5, 2013

1985 - DEATH WISH 3, middle aged white guy right wing fantasy or parody of the vigilante film genre?

Sometimes you can learn more about the human condition from watching a stupid film like this than anything that was directed by Yasujiro Ozu.  In Death Wish 3,  Charles Bronson is back in his signature role as vigilante Paul Kersey out to slaughter all of those "creeps" menacing middle aged white people in a run down apartment in one scary neighborhood in East New York City. 

It is completely impossible for me to tell if this film is supposed to be serious or a complete joke.  The plotting and characterization are so ridiculous that the director Michael Winner could not have possibly been serious about this film.  The first Death Wish film was released 11 years earlier and Charles Bronson wasn't exactly a spring chicken when that one came out.  However for a guy in his early 60's he's in pretty good shape.  He has a love scene with the film's female lead Deborah Raffin.  Raffin was a one time up and coming starlet who's career never made it into the big time.  Their love scene such that it is, is extremely uncomfortable to watch but how many 60 year old men would run around with a shirt off?   But getting back to the love scene, there is no need to worry about any additional love scenes,  since Raffin is Bronson's love interest we know she's toast.  

The plot has Kersey showing up to help a friend living in a run down neighborhood deal with an improbably multiracial gang of "creeps" extorting the good citizens of that neighborhood.  This gang of "creeps" probably has more members than the 1st Infantry that stormed the beaches on D-Day.  Since this is a Death Wish film the body count with the good guys vs the "creeps" is just extremely high throughout the film.

After lots of killing, raping, stealing,  stabbing and blowing things up,  Bronson grabs a Browning machine gun and literally starts shooting everyone in sight.  When that runs out of bullets he whips out a pistol that uses cartridges made to stop an elephant, that's when the real killing starts. This 15 to 20 minute slaughter with Bronson and what's left of the gang of "creeps" essentially demolishing the entire neighborhood is how the film ends.  A whole lot of stuntmen fall off of buildings which makes me remember the good old days when people did real stunts and weren't replaced by computer animation.  As is to be expected the police let Bronson go so he can star in the next Death Wish chapter Death Wish 4:  The Crackdown.

The director is an old favorite of this blogger, Michael Winner.  Winner as usual is a pro at filming on actual locations and completely incompetent in about every other area which includes good storytelling.  But I could be completely wrong, Winner may have realized that this was a chance to send up this film series.  With the death of Michael Winner this year, the truth will probably never be known.  

Highly recommended.

92 minutes

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