Death Wish (1974)
Reviewed on 2011 April 27
First and best of the Death Wish series of movies. The sequels just stretched into the realm of ridiculousness.
Paul Kersey (the one and only Charles Bronson) is a peaceful, happily married architect that has his whole life brutally and randomly stolen from him. For no real reason, a group of human waste attack and kill his wife, and assault his daughter so violently that she’s psychologically destroyed. Paul was a pacifist, but that changes when he realizes the police aren’t going to be able to do much to help him. He seeks revenge for his family and solace for himself the only way he knows how: by becoming a vigilante. For all their foot-dragging in going after the perps, the police go nuts trying to catch Kersey, but the crime-weary citizens of New York are delighted someone is fighting back.
I will admit I watch this on AMC and other cable stations, where the brutal assault scene is edited enough for me to deal with it. And I’ll also admit a savage glee in watching someone like Kersey take out the trash. I’m not saying what he did was right; I’m just saying it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving cluster of scumbags. It’s unusual to see cerebral Jeff Goldblum play one of the sub-human freaks, and Vincent Gardenia was good as Lt. Ochoa, the cop who is trying to figure out how to deal with their new and unwanted street cleaner.
Three chocolate morsels, though it ain’t easy to watch.