The streets are filled with death and destruction. Ruthless drug traffickers prey upon the poor, the lonely, the helpless. LA is a city desperate for deliverance… until now! Charles Bronson returns as Paul Kersey, the original urban vigilante and one-man demolition force in this pulse-pounding, take-no-prisoners thriller! Two rival drug gangs have a death-grip on LA’s battle-torn inner city. But their brutal reign of terror is about to come to a violent end. One man is out to avenge the cocaine-induced death of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter. His name is Paul Kersey – and he’s armed, dangerous… and mad as hell!
1987 – Certificate: R – American Film
6.0 out of 10
The unseasonal run of warm days we’ve been having recently has put an unprecedented strain on reserves of cold drinks in Cactus World. In fact I’ve run out of normal soft drinks and the things I only drink in an emergency, like bitter lemon and ginger ale, have been in the fridge so long they’ve all frozen solid. I tried opening one this afternoon, but so much pressure had built up in the bottle that the contents started to explode everywhere; in fact I read this evening that earlier today America had briefly gone to DEFCON 1, as some military satellite had mistaken my attempts to get something cold to drink as a ballistic missile launch. I think it’s all okay now though. Fortunately, I also found some old bottles of Bacardi Breezer (Pineapple) in the back of the fridge that the alcohol had stopped from freezing. It tasted okay(ish), considering it was two years past its Best Before date. I also have to report the good news that the far worse scenario of there being a shortage of cold, alcoholic drinks, is not presently a concern.
Before we had mega-budget screen superheroes and nutters like Martin Riggs cleaning up urban scum, we had Paul Kersey. The original street-level vigilante, here’s a chap who reluctantly goes off on his own and sorts out bad guys. In many ways he’s a lot like Batman, a tortured soul who’s lost the ones he cares for most; except he’s not especially fit and strong, isn’t a billionaire and doesn’t have a flash car, cave, computer, utility belt or butler. Then again, he does use guns and he hasn’t got an annoying sidekick either. Last time we saw him, he was busy helping disadvantaged communities in New York become more resilient. This time he’s back in America’s other city, Los Angeles, sorting out corrupt police and drug barons; you know, the usual stuff architects deal with. Scarcely have I recovered from seeing Lieutenant Commander Chakotay turn up in “Night of the Comet” when along comes Lieutenant Commander Tuvok in “Death Wish 4”. Clearly working under cover for Starfleet in some sort of time-travel paradox, he inadvertently gives some drugs to some dumb bimbo, who promptly kills herself with them. She just happens to be the daughter of Charles Bronson’s latest love interest too. In another interesting parallel with “Star Trek” I would say it was at least as deadly being a friend of Paul Kersey, as it is wearing a red shirt as a member of a landing party. There’ve been five Death Wish films and nearly all of his ‘nearest and dearest’ have ended up being raped and/or murdered. You do see Bronson take out Tuvok’s car with a grenade in an underground garage, but I’m pretty sure I saw him being beamed out just before it exploded. Tuvok could’ve easily stunned them all with his phaser, but he probably didn’t want to contaminate the time-line or such like. I watched the hardcore, uncut version, not the old, UK cut one with its missing 54 seconds. Because of that I’d have probably turned into a serial killer by now, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was also a pan and scan version too, so half of it was missing. I hate it when they do that. It was mono as well.
There’s not a great deal of music in this movie and what there is has a tendency to sound like a reject from The Terminator. The theme music is horrible though; some nasty saxophone-heavy garbage that sounds like it escaped from an obscure, 70s porn VHS.
Recommend for architects, vigilantes, would-be superheroes and anyone who might make friends with Paul Kersey. And a warning to the latter; DON’T DO IT!
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, someone does sort of explode into nothing after having a grenade fired into him. And you thought The Terminator came up with that one first?
Top badass moment? Dumb question. Charles Bronson IS badass. And when someone asks, “who the fuck are you?” and you simply reply (after a tension building pause), “death”, that’s badass too. And keeping a M203 grenade launcher attached to a M16 assault rifle in a cupboard behind your fridge is badass too.
Whilst watching this film, I realised that my life is a lot like Robocop’s. Like him, I used to be a normal guy with a normal life, job I liked and was good at, friends, relationship, etc. Then one day stuff happened and I ended up a half-crazed cyborg, owned by my employer, devoid of outside interests, single-mindedly saving the planet, dealing out swift justice to those that dare trash it in any way. These days I mindlessly follow the instructions I’m given to the letter, fill in lots of forms and databases, drive around in a souped-up Ford, (well okay I changed the stereo in it), and seek out funding wherever it’s hiding, 24/7. I’m tormented by fragments of memory from my former life and long for redemption; and call me paranoid, but I think the rest of the environmental sector is out to get me too, because I want to do more than map and count every bug and flower there is, over and over again. Like Robocop, I also have four Prime Directives:
1) Serve the membership
2) Protect the planet
3) Follow procedures
4) Make money (as is the case for Robocop, this last one is classified, so don’t tell anyone please)
Okay, so I’m not really a cyborg (although I do wear glasses and contact lenses and have a few fillings); and I also sleep and do other stuff at times as well; and I’m hopeless at doing what I’m told, but really, the parallels are startling. And if more proof was needed, then about 12 years ago, when I was just starting a new job with my current employer, I had to make a presentation to a number of people, including the Group Director. There’s a great line in this film from Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products. He stands up in front of the board of directors, adjacent to a bank of TV screens showing images of the company’s products, to do something quite similar to what I had to do. He starts off by saying, “Take a close look at the track record of this company” and then goes on to describe how the company has “gambled in markets traditionally regarded as non-profit”. That’s what charities generally get up to, so I’ve always felt there were a lot of similarities between what I do in my job and what OCP was looking to achieve with Delta City; I’m sure I’d fit right on in there, should it be looking to recruit anytime soon at the C-level. With my crappy little PowerPoint presentation (which I still have a copy of), I began with a very similar line. I’m not sure anyone there at the time made the connection, but to me it was awesomely cool! This movie is awesomely cool too.
1987 – Certificate: 18 – USA
I love this film. I’ve watched it loads of times. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought. I imagine it’s required viewing for all the new Police and Crime Commissioners that were voted for this week too. The whole story feels quite unique, it’s got a number of great characters in it, the acting’s good and it looks good as well, even though some of the special effects are now a little dated. Its take on corporate greed works for me and even the theme tune is dead-on. (I’ve no idea why the trailer uses the music from “The Terminator”.) Be sure to watch the Director’s Cut, to get all the most violent bits. Since her appearance in “The Philadelphia Experiment” three years before, Nancy Allen has certainly toughened up her act. I guess all that running around with two guys transported through time does that to you. And it’s got Miguel Ferrer in it, who was at one time the First Officer on The Excelsior in Star Trek. Imagining having that on your CV! The remake (which I think is due out in 2014) will be interesting.
Recommended for awesome people. I’m sorry, but if you don’t like this film you’re not awesome and I can’t be your friend, as I’m simply too cool and you’re probably a square.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. However, plenty of other body parts do get ‘removed’.
Top badass moment? The advert for Nuke Em. A sample of this was used by Random Hand for “The Eyeballs of War”. As the 5th best band on the planet, this makes it badass.
I’ve won £500 worth of vouchers for Marks & Spencer. I completed some questionnaire about holidays at http://www.tickbox.net and then got randomly picked by a computer as the winner. After getting over my initial excitement and then realising I wasn’t actually going to be able to retire on the proceeds, I got down to the business of deciding exactly how I was going to squander away my newly found fortune. At this point I realised that Marks & Spencer doesn’t actually sell anything I want/need. Whatever it’s demographic is, I’m not in it. There are only so many pairs of sensible underpants and socks you can wear. I guess it’s just a bit too upmarket for me. I could buy about 220 bottles of Lancashire Dark Mild I suppose; I’ve no idea what it tastes like but the M&S website says its vegan. And I ought to get a new bag for work; anyone who’s seen the torn and battered one I use at the moment would probably agree with that idea. I need a new potato peeler too, as I accidentally threw my beloved ‘high performance’ one away a couple of months ago, by leaving it in the bag with the peelings. A decent toaster would be good as well; the handle you push down has fallen off mine and some of the plastic at the top has melted. And some new drinking glasses, as I seem to have broken all but one of my nice ones; and a new duvet and pillows for the winter; and a couple of decent kitchen knives and some new pans. Humm, maybe I can spend them after all. Oh, and if anyone is interested, I’ve completed 895 questionnaires on this web site and this is the first time I’ve ever won anything. I reckon that’s works out at about £8.50/hour. Anyway, now I’m so filthy rich, this film should scare me….
1987 – Certificate: FSK-16 – United Kingdom
I love this film. It’s the sort of film that was only made in the 80s, at a time when Britain was producing lots of new, alternative comedy; okay some of it was rubbish but at least it was happening. Nowadays most comedy, at least what you get to see on TV, is pretty bland. This movie is a mess of politics, civil unrest, greed and generally awesome nonsense. And I have to ‘fess up that it’s one of those films that I quote lines from in general conversation, from time to time. It also has loads of cameos from properly famous and well-known people. Other reasons to like this film? I love the scene in the dole office; I don’t believe there’s a person alive who hasn’t wanted to do something like that, at least once in their life, when faced with annoying, inefficient and unfair, petty bureaucracy. As Alex says in the film, “You’d do the same if you had the guts!” I also love the basic premise of the story that demonstrates that vegans (as usual) would be able to take the moral high ground. It has a Triumph Herald in it (a V6 of course), which was my second favourite car when I was in my teens. Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Oxfordshire too; I’ve tried to work out the exact location but I’m not sure, but I think it’s probably south Oxfordshire somewhere.
Recommended for people who remember the 80s and how crappy they were a lot of the time. 25 years on and not a lot has changed, with many of this film’s themes in the news as much today as they were then. Depressingly so in fact.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. A lot of people do get turned into mincemeat though.
Top badass moment? Alex in the dole office; one of my favourite all-time movie scenes. I’m fortunate that I’ve not had to make a claim for any benefits for quite a while, but in the 80s/90s I had to deal with many less than competent jobsworths, idiots and assholes at the DHSS; (no wonder it ended up getting rebranded as Jobcentre Plus). Alex is a true hero for the downtrodden masses and taking on the establishment is 100% pure badass.
Eat The Rich at IMDB (5.7/10)
This is a film about relationships, a subject I intrinsically know nothing about; (I blame it on my genes, it’s probably genetic or something). As a result of this defect in my character, my entire understanding of this subject is based on films like this. Like most other films of its type its plot is almost entirely unrealistic, which I guess must explain a great deal about my life. The good guy always gets the nice girl in the end? Don’t make me laugh. When I can afford it I’ll be suing the makers of this film for messing up my life. In my world, the 80s were full of crappy new romantic music and synth pop, (anarcho-punk and indie-pop were pushed to the sidelines) and everyone had bad hair and bad clothes. Even I had bad hair; I can remember bleaching it and not getting it cut for over three years too; what a terrifying thought. Scarily, this film makes the 80s seem quite cool, the fashion bearable and the music quite listenable. See, I said it wasn’t very realistic.
1987 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Rating Details: Language: Once strong, some moderate. Sex/Nudity: Some mild references. Violence: Infrequent, mild.
This is a proper 80s teen classic. It’s a classic film of its type and its era. I hate myself for it but I really do like it. A great bit of escapism. From the great ‘drum intro’ at the start to the tear-inducing finale, its stupid plot and often annoying characters manage to be entertaining and often pretty funny. I was never all that taken with Amanda Jones; she sometimes looked like a man in drag to me. I couldn’t (and still can’t) really see what all the fuss was about. Watts was about 100 times more interesting and better looking too. And what a shame we didn’t get to know Duncan the skinhead more. He was clearly the hero of the movie and someone we should have leant a lot more about. And did anyone out there really not want Watts to ‘get her man’ in the end? God, you’re a heartless bastard aren’t you!
Recommended for fans of classic genera movies and all things 80s; (just don’t admit the latter in public and keep taking the tablets, okay)?
One cat and no decapitations. A quick run off scene (with dialogue) is all we get, cat-wise. Shame.
Top badass moment? Duncan and his gang gate-crashing Hardy’s party. (What any annoying little prick he was.) A rare, positive example of skinhead activism within in multi-cultural environment in a Hollywood movie. That’s badass.