What a lousy movie
"Death Wish" was a very popular movie when it premiered, because it addressed a serious problem plaquing NYC at the time: rampant crime. Back then, NYC was the most dangerous large city in the United States. Going to Central Park at night was risking bodily harm, rape, theft or murder. Taking the subway after sunset was tempting fate as it had become a haven for criminals. Vandalism was rampant, graffiti was everywhere, slums were spreading out, the middle class was leaving and NYC had become a place of derision.
Thus, the movie hit a cord, yet, looking at the movie now, its pretty lousy. For one thing, Charles Bronson had to be one of the worst actors around. He acting is so flat, he shows no emotion even when he finds out that his wife has just died and the criminals are caricatures with leather jackets, switchblade, bandanas tied on their heads and spray cans. They walk around with stereotypical, exaggerated thug gestures. They look like cardboard characters. To say that the movie lacks subtlety is an understatement.