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Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987) Poster

Trivia

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The only 'Death Wish' film in which no bare breasts appear on screen.
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To cut down on budget the scene where Kersey goes to cinema to meet Nathan, was actually at Cannon Film viewing theater.
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Kersey uses the alias "Paul Kimble" in this film. He also used the pseudonymous surname of "Kimble" in Death Wish II (1982) and in Death Wish 3 (1985). (Though according to the book 'Bronson's Loose' by Paul Tablot, Death Wish 4 was intended as a direct sequel to Death Wish II, in the end the only reference to Death Wish II occurs in Kersey's reuse of the name Kimble as an alias, the references of his vigilantism after the death of his daughter, and his residence in Los Angeles.)
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The studio, Cannon, wanted a more muscular sounding score for the action scenes and decided to re-use much of the music from their past action efforts Missing in Action (1984) and Invasion U.S.A. (1985).
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Some of the music cues from 10 to Midnight (1983), another Cannon picture, are used in this film.
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Michael Winner, director of the first three films, showed no interest in directing this one because he had heard that Charles Bronson had a terrible experience filming Death Wish 3 (1985). He was also pre-occupied with filming Appointment with Death (1988).
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Gail Morgan Hickman re-wrote the entire script while filming. Charles Bronson constantly had problems with the dialog and he requested further rewrites of certain items of dialogue and action scenes. Hickman recalled going through several rewrites on a daily basis.
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This movie utilizes a storyline similar to that used in the classic Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo (1961). 'RetroJunk' writes that Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey "methodically eliminates gang members, first from one side and then the other, until one gang's paranoia about the other gang causes the two competitors to engage in a major confrontation that impacts both groups."
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This movie represents the seventh of nine teamings of director J. Lee Thompson with star actor Charles Bronson. The two first collaborated on St. Ives (1976), The White Buffalo (1977), Cabo Blanco (1980), 10 to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984) and Murphy's Law (1986). After this movie, they made Messenger of Death (1988) and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989).
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Kay Lenz is only 13 years older than Dana Barron.
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Media Home Entertainment released the film on video in April 1988, having agreed with Cannon to a 2 million dollars advance. Over 100,000 cassettes were sold to rental stores. It was the best selling entry of the series in the video market.
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Though star Charles Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson worked together nine times, this sequel was the only 'Death Wish' movie of the five film series that they made together.
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The release of this movie represented the shortest window between 'Death Wish' movie sequels. It was only about two years after Death Wish 3 (1985) whereas the third picture followed about three years after Death Wish II (1982) which had followed the original Death Wish (1974) after about eight years. Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) was then not made for about another seven years.
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Charles Bronson's salary was $4 million - almost more than the film's budget.
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An earlier draft had Paul living in LA with a new girlfriend. She was subsequently murdered by crooks. Paul, fighting the urge to return to his vigilante ways, captures the crooks and hands them over to the police, but when the crooks walk on a technicality, Paul becomes the vigilante once more, and hunts them down. One by one. Cannon felt this take on the series was too cerebral and didn't feature enough action. Ultimately, a more conventional storyline was chosen.
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The highest selling "Death Wish" title on the home entertainment market in the US. The film easily eclipsed all the other titles when it was released in 1988.
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John P. Ryan was cast as the villain because Menahem Golan loved his work in their earlier film Runaway Train (1985).
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Gail Morgan Hickman had previously contributed rejected scripts for Death Wish 3 (1985) and the script of another Charles Bronson film, Murphy's Law (1986).
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Gail Morgan Hickman wrote three different script for the film. The first featured Paul Kersey struggling with a crisis of conscience and trying to reconnect with Geri Nichols from Death Wish II (1982). It was rejected because Jill Ireland faced her own struggle with breast cancer and was unwilling to reprise her role. The second had Kersey going after an international terrorist, and was rejected due to another upcoming film, Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987). The final script had the premise of Kersey playing two gangs against each other. Hickman was influenced by the use of this premise in the films Yojimbo (1961) and A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
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Gail Morgan Hickman toyed with the idea of giving Kersey a surrogate son called Eric, to avoid repetition in having the character lose another daughter. He changed his mind and turned Eric to Erica, because he felt that the death of a girl would be a stronger echo to the original loss in Kersey's life. Hickman was also the father of a daughter and could better understand the trauma of losing a girl.
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Gail Morgan Hickman understood that Cannon producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus "wanted a mindless movie with nonstop action", so he came up with "cartoonish" action scenes.
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The previous three films of the series featured youthful street punks as villains. The fourth film covered new ground featuring adult representatives of organized crime.
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The video store where Kersey confronts some of the goons shows a number of posters and displays promoting such other Cannon releases as Field of Honor (1986), The Naked Face (1984), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). A movie theatre in the film shows a curious pairing: Otello (1986) and Runaway Train (1985).
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First 'Death Wish' movie to have a subtitle as part of its film title. The next and final sequel also had one: Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994). An intended but unfilmed sixth movie was also to have a subtitle: 'Death Wish 6: The New Vigilante'. The first three movies did not have a title subtitle.
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Third and final 'Death Wish' movie that was made during the 1980s. The others were Death Wish II (1982) and Death Wish 3 (1985).
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According to a printout read by a policeman, Kersey lives at 8200 Wilshire Boulevard in western Los Angeles.
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Charles Bronson was about sixty-five years of age when he appeared in this movie.
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This movie was the second of two pictures starring Charles Bronson that were released during 1987. This film was first released in the USA in November of that year whilst Bronson's Assassination (1987) was released stateside earlier, at the beginning in January.
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Some music in the film was taken from Missing in Action (1984) and Invasion U.S.A. (1985).
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This movie was Charles Bronson's fifth picture to feature the word 'Death' in the title. Death Hunt (1981) and Messenger of Death (1988) were others. Bronson made seven movies with this word in the title, five of them being in the 'Death Wish' series. The final time would be in Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994), where the word appeared twice.
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Penultimate 'Death Wish' movie in the original five film series. Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) would be the last.
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Cannon Films announced the film in 1986, estimating that it would be ready for release by Spring 1987. However, the film company was by this point facing financial problems. Its greatest box office hit was still Missing in Action (1984) with 38 million dollars domestic gross. Cannon had lost money through box office flops such as Pirates (1986). Consequently, they tightened the budgets of upcoming films to under 5 million dollars per film.
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For this film, Cannon reached an agreement with independent producer Pancho Kohner, son of Paul Kohner. The senior Kohner was the agent of Charles Bronson. Pancho himself had produced (or co-produced) seven previous Bronson films, including St. Ives (1976), The White Buffalo (1977), Love and Bullets (1979), 10 to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), Murphy's Law (1986), and Assassination (1987).
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Principal photography for Death Wish 4 was originally scheduled to begin on 5 January 1987. However, the start was delayed to an unspecified date in March 1987. Filming did not begin in March, either. The delay was due to a stipulation in a line of credit agreement which prohibited the Cannon Group, Inc. from having more than two movies in principal photography at the same time. Warner Communications Inc. had guaranteed a $25 million line of credit for the financially troubled Cannon Group in December 1986.
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This Charles Bronson movie was theatrically released between between his pictures Assassination (1987) and Messenger of Death (1988).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The only 'Death Wish' sequel in which Paul Kersey does not revert to vigilantism due to an act of violence against a loved one. Erica (Kersey's girlfriend's daughter whose death motivates him to renew his sudden justice) died of a crack overdose from narcotics taken completely willingly. Technically, she did not get murdered and certainly did not get raped.
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