Death Wish 3 review

Banana Rating: 4 out of 5

Death Wish 3 is about as far from the more ser­i­ous tone of the ori­ginal Death Wish as you could ever wish for (if you wish for that kind of thing). That film had ser­i­ous ques­tions to ask. Death Wish 2 was a more straight up revenge thriller. Death Wish 3 evolves (or maybe devolves) fur­ther, becom­ing an insane action romp where gangs of thugs roam the streets like a Broad­way dance troupe fallen on hard times.

Enter Charles Bron­son, vis­it­ing an old war buddy who, before Bron­son can even get to the poor guy's apart­ment, has been bru­tally beaten to death with lengths of chain by a gang of no-good punkass motherfuckers.

At this stage of the blood soaked franchise, Bron­son has become a kind of mag­net for scum­bags. He lands him­self in jail early on, where he runs into a local gang leader who takes an instant dis­like to him. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s some­thing to do with that wispy mous­tache that Bron­son was always try­ing to grow through­out his career. Any­hoo, as a part­ing shot, the gang leader, as he’s released from jail, prom­ises Bron­son that he’ll "kill a little old lady, just for you." Charming!

All out war engulfs the streets

But it sets the tone. There’s a great bit where Bron­son is eat­ing din­ner with friends, hears someone break­ing into his car out­side, excuses him­self from the table, then nips out and shoots two scum­bags point-blank through the chest. He then heads back inside to fin­ish his din­ner like he’d just stepped out for a cigar­ette break.

Another scene sees him buy an expensive camera so that he can stroll cheerfully through the streets, twirling the camera around as mugger bait whilst he eats an ice cream. Sure enough, a mugger nicks the camera, whereby Bronson pulls a massive hand cannon from inside his jacket and blows a hole the size of a dinner plate in the bad guy's back. Cue an entire street full of people jumping up and down and cheering on Bronson's insane bloodlust.

But even that scene can’t really pre­pare you for the utter may­hem that is the last half hour of the film. Bronson's antics throughout the first sixty minutes have whipped the local populace into a violent frenzy, and all out war engulfs the streets. The main baddy even orders a new gang of skuzzballs by telephone, as easy as you or I would order a pizza. But they're just fresh meat for Bronson's bullets. If by this point of the movie, you haven’t real­ised that Death Wish 3 is pretty far from a ser­i­ous treat­ment of the implic­a­tions of being a vigil­ante, then you will when Bron­son breaks out the rocket launcher.

It’s an amaz­ing film, for all the wrong reas­ons, and the finest com­edy of the last thirty-five years.