Monday, November 21, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: Death Wish (1974)

"I mean, if we're not pioneers, what have we become? What do you call people who, when they're faced with a condition or fear, do nothing about it, they just run and hide?" - Paul Kersey

"The underprivileged are beating our goddamned brains out. You know what I say? Stick them in concentration camps, that's what I say." - Ames Jainchill

"GODDAMN BOY. You... You just hit that thing right on the bullseye! - Ames Jainchill

Now we're talking. I don't know how many times you guys have seen this flick, or how many of the sequels you ever watched, but they're worth it. Charles Bronson is one of THE American cinema badasses. Maybe my favorite. He was sort of typecast as a killer, but it never seemed to get old, because he seemed to BE a killer. I remember a story from like 05, or 06 where somebody we met had dated his daughter. Imagine that shit. Having to go "meet the parents" and the dad being Chuck B!! Come to think of it, that may have made the movie MEET THE PARENTS a whole lot heavier! Anyway, this is the same story you get in a lot of vigilante folk tales: THE PUNISHER (Frank Castle), WALKING TALL (Buford Pusser), LETHAL WEAPON, & even BATMAN, THE CROW, & MAX PAYNE. Most of these guys have someone in their families raped and/or murdered, and then they go to get revenge. Well DEATH WISH is the story of Paul Kersey, and its no different. People like it because people want justice, and A LOT of the time, we don't get that with the police and/or the courts. Produced by (badass in his own right) Dino De Laurentiis and starring Charles Bronson and in his first on screen appearance, a cameo by Jeff Goldblum in DEATH WISH!!!

Paul Kersey is an architect. A man who is not necessarily "1% rich", but definitely more well off than the average citizen. That was true in the 70s, and is definitely true today. The film starts of while Paul and his wife are on vacation. When they return home, while Paul is at work, his wife and daughter go to the supermarket and buy some groceries. They give their address to the clerk to deliver the groceries, and 3 hooligans (one of them a young Jeff Goldblum) overhear the address and follow them home. Thinking that its the delivery man with their groceries, the daughter lets them in and they go apeshit demanding money. When they only find 7 bucks, they get pissed and beat and rape them both. Its a disturbing scene. Paul gets a call at work from his son and rushes to the hospital.

When he gets there, they say the daughter is in shock, and she's been sedated, and his wife has passed away. They tell him there's little chance they'll find the crooks. His boss sends him on vacation to hang out with a client in Tuscon. The guy is a real shitkicker who has a movie set down there where they reenact old cowboy shenanigans. I guess Kersey is inspired by what he sees. He reveals nothing for a time to the client who thinks him a bleeding heart liberal. Kersey doesn't disagree. The client jabs him this way and that and claims to be really tough. He takes Paul to a gun range and he blasts a bullseye with his first bullet and the guy almost shits himself. Then he tries other guns. When he splits back to NYC, the guy slips a pistol in his bag as a little southwest meets northeast aggression present... and because he probably sympathizes with him.

When he gets back, his lil girl is so faded they basically have to put her in a home. Paul finds the revolver and goes for a walk out in the night almost going to a shady place on purpose. A mugger goes after him, and pulls a .38 on him, but Paul pulls the trigger first and kills the guy. He's so freaked out that he splits fast, heads for his house and pukes when the realization of what he's done sinks in. But it must have gotten good to him, because he pulls the same shit the next night, blowing away 3 muggers who are after an old lady in an alley. The media catch onto the vigilante and the cops have no idea where to look. But one dude is really smart and starts the investigation looking for someone who lost someone and narrows it down to a certain area. Meanwhile Kersey keeps killing. Some dudes on the subway, and he gets away scot-free. Then he starts baiting muggers in a coffee shop and when a few take that bait, he goes for them in a subway again, but one knifes him in the shoulder.

The Lt figures out that Paul is the killer, but the DA tells him that crime is down and citizens are happy. So they say to watch him and tell him to leave and not come back. So he starts trying to scare Kersey but it doesn't work. He keeps tabs on him though. He goes after 3 more muggers, and one of them shoots him and he wakes up in the hospital. He wakes up to the Lt, telling him he's gotta "get outta town", to which Kersey replies, "by sundown?" He then splits and gets his job to transfer him to Chicago. When he gets there, in the train station he notices some thugs fucking with this chick. He goes to help her, and the thugs gesture like "fuck you" to him, and he just points his finger at them like a gun with a huge smile on his face. CLASSIC! Watching the second one next. Highly recommended. One of those must see deals.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't fall completely into the revenge genre, but I highly recommend Mr. Majestyk, also released in 1974. Bronson plays it cool throughout this entertaining flick. Watch it with a big-ass bowl of chili nachos.

    Then finish off the evening with his 1975 western, Breakheart Pass.