Death Wish 3: Charlie Don't Need No Rockin' Chair
With the third entry in the DEATH WISH series, Paul Kersey, Charles Bronson's introspective vigilante from the 1974 original, is finally boiled down to what the Reagan era mistook for his essence, shedding those niggling bits of humanity that made him interesting in the original and going straight one-man-army on yo' ass and, more importantly, on the asses of a gang of no-good punks in what seems to be a ruined city at the end of time. This is the flick that finally answers the question, "What would it be like if Paul Kersey was plunked down in an Italian post-apocalyptic action flick?" Most of the no-doubt legions who contemplated this intriguing question in the early '80s could scarcely have imagined they'd one day see it so prominently answered.
Bronson's Kersey responds to a friend's call for help, returning to a version of New York that looks suspiciously like a version of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK as rendered by an Enzo Castellari or a Sergio Martino. In a burned-out, collapsing ruin of a once-a-neighborhood, the five or six Law-Abiding Citizens, who seem to be the only somewhat normal people who remain, are perpetually menaced by an entire army of '80s gang-bangers, who wear their era on their lack-of-sleeves from their denim vests (the standard-issue '80s Movie Gangbanger fashion) and in their strict multi-ethnicity (in the cinema of the '80s, racial divisions don't extend to subhuman villainy--all bad men are brothers). The simpering victims suffer heaping helpings of rape, murder, arson, and rape and bewail their fate with appropriate drama and melodrama until Charlie shows up intent on cleaning up the town.
Charlie is the God of Bad-Ass-ery among mere mortals in this one. A relentlessly grim man on a mission, our elderly hero don't need no rockin' chair or no Medicare--at a spry 64, he's able to run down and out-fight healthy 19-year-olds who are a lot bigger than he is. He can beat them down, gun them down (with guns that are also bigger than he is) and blow them up all day long then go home at night, hop in the sack and put a big smile on the face of a Token Love Interest young enough to be his granddaughter...
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