Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Death Wish (1974)

1974 was a great year for cult films. We had one of the best horror films of all time The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,  Then there was the incredibly trashy Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and the role that made Pam Grier immortal Foxy Brown. We had the early slasher Black Christmas, a few Women In Prison films and of course Death Wish, the film that brought the rape/revenge genre to the mainstream public.
Charles Bronson plays a family man named Paul Kersey who's wife and daughter were brutally raped and beaten by a ridiculous 70's street gang consisting of a skinhead, a bandanna wearing long-hair and none other the Jeff Goldblum.
The gang swipes the girls address from a counter at a grocery store and shows up at their house pretending its a grocery delivery. Luckily for Goldblum and friends Paul Kersey was off to work. The gang spray paints the walls of the apartment along with the asses of Paul Kerseys wife and daughter and it makes for a pretty disturbing scene when the daughter is forced to perform oral sex on the skinhead character. The wife is beaten to death and the daughter remains in a state of shock throughout the film. When Bronson (Paul Kersey) learns that there is very little chance of the police ever finding these criminals he decides to take revenge to a new height. Bronson becomes a one man vigilante and takes on the muggers, rapists, murderers, junkies and thief's of New York city. Bronson walks the city streets and night and puts himself in the most dangerous situations as possible, just waiting for the first punk to come and make a move on him and he shoots them down with a pistol that a old cowboy gave him.
Its not long before Paul Kersey is the hype of the city. He is in the paper, on the t.v. and he is known as the vigilante. Nobody knows the true identity of the vigilante but the crime rates are dropping and the public no longer are waiting for the police's help. New York city is fighting back against the criminals and taking justice into their own hands with the vigilante as inspiration. Its not long before the police are onto Kersey but it doesn't stop him from acting out his vengeance.
Death Wish was such a success that it spawned four sequels and a whole mess of ripoffs. The Death Wish films got worse and worse with every sequel and they also became more ridiculous where the character of Paul Kersey takes on full gangs with bazookas and Gatling guns. As in almost every case the original is the best and theres no doubt about it with this series. Death Wish is king and Paul Kersey is a bad-ass mofo.

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