Paul Kersey has been retired from vigilantism for several years. Under an assumed identity, he’s adopted a new life as a teacher in a small town college outside New York. Paul is a changed man. He’s even fallen in love and become engaged to Olivia, a former fashion model turned industrial entrepreneur. But fate won’t leave Kersey alone. On a visit to Manhattan he finds himself caught in the middle of a street shootout. Then he learns that his fiancé is a victim of a protection racket run by her ex-husband mobster Tommy O’Shea. When Olivia goes to the district attorney for help, Tommy has her disfigured, then brutally killed. Once again, Kersey becomes the relentless vigilante. Only this time, instead of relying only on his .357, Kersey uses some creative technology to avenge his lover’s murder!
1994 – Certificate: 18A – American Film
7.0 out of 10
Went to see MxPx at the Camden Underworld last night. That’s the fourth time I’ve seen MxPx since 2005, although the last time was in 2008. It only has one of the original members left these days, at least as a touring band. I like the Underworld. It has a capacity of 500, the sound’s decent, the vibe’s good, there’s no crash barrier in front of the stage and the beer isn’t too extremely priced for a London venue; (it was £4.20 for a pint of cider yesterday, even though I do have the distinct feeling that the price varies from gig to gig). It’s the gig venue I go to most often. Unlike the 100 Club, the concrete pillars that’re in front of the stage (they hold the building above up) don’t seem to get in the way too much. It has a decent raised area around the dance floor too, with a railing that’s good for leaning on when you want to watch a band and don’t want to get your drink spilt. It even seems to have got some new signs outside recently, so you can actually tell it’s there! It was a lot of fun, even though I felt a bit ‘slow’. I think I’ve been to see too many old bands and reggae groups recently; I’ve forgotten how fast punk rock can be live. There were a lot of young women crowd surfing last night; clearly the new ‘no stage diving / crowd surfing’ poster stuck on one of the concrete pillars wasn’t having much effect. There was also a young chap with his mum there too, right at the front; it’s a 14+ venue but he didn’t look any older than 12 to me. He went for a surf too at one point. That’s one cool mum. It’s also been quite a while since I’ve seen so many happy people at a gig. Nearly everyone seem to be so pleased just to be there, which was rather nice. I can’t be bothered with miserable sods at gigs these days. Got wacked the mouth at one point in the most pit so have a bit of a fat lip today, but that’s okay. Charles Bronson does more than that to people in this movie. (This is probably just as well, as otherwise it would have been a very boring vigilante film.)
Another year and another of Paul Kersey’s relationships ends with a rape and/or murder. Some people seem to be born unlucky. This, the last Death Wish film, doesn’t break the cycle. Released in 1994, it’s a film that now looks and feels its age, in fact older; some of the story is a bit silly too. However, Tommy O’Shea is one of the ‘forgotten’ badass movie baddies. It’s worth watching for him alone. In fact it has quite a few good characters in it. Paul Kersey is a strange guy, even ignoring his habit of blowing away underworld scum. Here he is, engaged to Olivia Regent, who has a young daughter. Olivia is a ‘big deal’ in the New York fashion industry, (and about 30 years younger than him). Yet he doesn’t seem to know very much about her ex-husband or even to have met him before, yet he turns out to be ‘Mr. Big’ when it comes to extorting money through controlling the local fashion industry and Olivia’s company in particular; as well as being her daughter’s father. You would have thought they might have talked about him just a bit at some point; it hardly struck me as a whirlwind romance.
I didn’t much care for the soundtrack, but for the film itself it’s a great fit and helps to set the mood well. In that sense it’s a bit like rain; it’s a pain in the arse when I want to do something outside, but it helps make things grow.
This film has a great trailer. In fact, if someone ever makes a trailer about me, I want the guy who does the voiceover on this one to do mine.
Recommended for fashion designers and entrepreneurs, vigilantes, ineffective police officers and gangsters.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Charles Bronson and one of the best ‘forgotten’ movies baddies ever, Tommy O’Shea, face off in the last Death Wish film. There’s enough badass action in this movie for you to need a rectal examination after watching it. Charles Bronson was 74 (I think) when he made this film. If he got involved in setting governmental pension policies, I doubt any old grannies would be dying from hyperthermia in winter because they couldn’t afford to put their heating on. That would be badass too.
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.