Wifes and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham become victims of a massacre in his own house. The police believes the crime had a religious motive. Orville doesn't give any comment on the... See full summary »
J. Lee Thompson
Trish Van Devere,
Most critics seem to have dismissed this film, like so many other Charles Bronson vehicles, as just another patchwork of mindless violence. And while there is a fair amount of mayhem, DEATH WISH 3 is not that awful of an effort, particularly for fans of the series and its star.
This time out, aging Charlie's Paul Kersey is let loose by a police chief desperate to clean up a rough part of New York City. The trigger-happy vigilante moves into the heart of gang territory, where he once again becomes a one-man army in an urban war of good versus evil. Bronson, at least the "older" version, is truly at his best.
I'm not saying DEATH WISH 3 is a classic. Indeed to the discriminating eye it has a plethora of imperfections. The characters are generally made of cardboard. The violence is over the top. A man well into his 60s outruns and outspooks dozens of young punks. But in the tradition of the original DEATH WISH and later films such as FALLING DOWN with Michael Douglas, it has a definite crowd-pleasing charm. Who doesn't want to see gangbangers get their due? There are also some great cheesy moments and one-liners so common in 1980s films. When a tenant of his apartment building sees Kersey setting up a booby trap, for instance, the vigilante lightheartedly says he's "thinning the herd." A line only Bronson can truly make work.
So you see, the key to enjoying DEATH WISH 3 is to accept it for what it is. It ain't Spielberg and it ain't art. So throw the popcorn in the microwave and have fun with it.
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