90. Death Wish 3

DeathWish1In this sequel, Paul Kersey — notorious vigilante killer — is arrested by police upon blowing into town and discovering his friend’s murdered body, and is made to hunt down criminals once more, but for the cops.

So… What the hell difference does that make?

None, really — if we chopped out all the scenes with that plot development, we wouldn’t notice, because this is a movie where Charles Bronson shoots criminals in the back, just what we ordered. Except, and this is a big except… The police chief who assigns him to take down the gang appears at the end to bail Kersey out of a jam, and calls him ‘DUDE!’ — twice!

That’s when the movie hits overdrive, and cements its place as one of the most balls-out crazy 80s action movies ever, up there with Commando and Total Recall (1990, I know, but still). The city erupts in gang warfare, and this gang warfare that’s more Hill than Hughes, but… not reading on anybody’s radar.

It’s hard to quantify this film in mere words. It’s legendary and one of those accidents of iconography and past-expiry franchise returns that resulted in something that is best enjoyed in the company of others.

Because look, there’s nothing really funny about the following dialogue exchange:
“It’s my car.”
“Now you gonna die.”
But in Death Wish 3’s capable hands, you’ll laugh out loud no matter what. Best to share that experience.

3 thoughts on “90. Death Wish 3

  1. They should sell this movie in DVD and Blu-ray double feature packs along with Punisher: War Zone. Or maybe Road House, or Godzilla: Final Wars. Movies like these transcend traditional ideas of good and bad, and you have no idea whether you’re watching one of the worst movies ever made or one of the best. Whatever they are, they’re awesome.

    1. Road House would be perfect. Although anything with Keanu Reeves would also work — currently developing a theory that he is the modern Bronson

      At the risk of sounding terrible, I feel like people don’t ‘get’ Final Wars. If you smash together Ryuhei Kitamura and Godzilla, you’re bound to get something that looks like Godzilla Versus Versus, and maybe it isn’t as monster-porny as some of the better Hesei/Millenium we eventually got, it is so goddamn crazy and a completely fitting ‘end’ to the series

      1. I fell in love with Final Wars on first viewing, and was sort of taken aback when I saw how many people hated it and how strongly they hated it. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, since it’s an obvious and intentional campy movie released in an era in which Dark & Gritty and Grim & Serious reign supreme. God forbid anyone thinks that movies about giant radioactive lizards are silly.

        But back to Death Wish… what’s really surprising about 3 is that it’s by the same director as 1. That’s a bit like Texas Chainsaw 1 and 2 having the same director. The 1980s were causing everyone to go insane and over the top, apparently. It’s really too bad that William Friedkin never made a French Connection III around 1985 or so. The result would have been fascinating.

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