Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Death Wish 4 and 5

Synopsis: 


 Death Wish 4: The Crackdown
Four times the action, four times the suspense - notorious crusader Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson, The Dirty Dozen) returns to settle old scores and make new enemies in Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, from veteran action director J. Lee Thompson (The Guns of Navarone, Cape Fear)
With the tragic cocaine-induced death of his girlfriend's teenage daughter Kersey steps into the breach and faces-off against two rival drug gangs waging war in the blood-drenched inner city.
Even at the best of times the streets of LA are never safe - run by pimps and ruthless drug traffickers, they remain a melting-pot of crime and violence. But when original urban vigilante and one-man justice machine Paul Kersey reaches into his extensive arsenal of weapons to take check, it's time to run for cover.
Death Wish 5: The Face of Death

After battling on the streets in cities from coast to coast, vigilante, Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson, The Magnificent Seven), has moved back to New York. But when his beautiful fiancee, Olivia (Lesley-Anne Down, Hanover Street), is killed and her daughter kidnapped by a kingpin of the underworld, Kersey finds himself back in the war.
Kersey's plan to live anonymously is shattered when he learns that his fiancee was the victim of a protection racket run by her ex-husband, criminal Tommy O'Sheay. One by one Kersey hunts down the criminals. Once again upholding the law becomes his way of life... And this time it's for good.


Death Wish 5 was one of the final films produced by 21st Century Film Corporation, a company owned by former Cannon Group boss, Menahem Golan.
  


Review:

Towards the end of Cannon's run, two stars stood above everyone else in the company: Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson. While Norris's star was on the rise due to his intense charisma and exciting kung-fu abilities, Bronson was on the way out. Charles wasn't really as in demand as he had been in his hey-day but he was still a familiar face that Cannon could trust and bank on, which at that time, Cannon needed.

It's been said by the time these sequels came out, Bronson wanted to make better movies but Cannon's scripts called for his roles to become more and more intense in a way to rival even Schwarzeneggar or Stallone's star-power. Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be and these movies suffered as a result. Instead of establishing a new character or new stars (like Michael Dudikoff who had a bright future had he been a star in outside projects), Cannon made the same mistakes that World Championship Wrestling did towards the end of their run: make the same movie over and over and didn't invest in their future. Death Wish 4 and 5 are often regarded as the least popular movies in the series. Instead of a decent script, Cannon just decided to make more " blow 'em up" movies.

Now, of course that's no fault of Bronson, who just needed a paycheck and no other studio would've paid him what he was asking at that point other than Cannon. He realized he had to fall back on the role that made him a household name. Leaning on rocket launchers, big stunts and other action movie cliches, both Death Wish 4 and 5 delivered that signature Cannon spark that turned into a gigantic explosion for the eyes. If you're in the mood for a big action movie with a lot of bullets and a familiar face then I do suggest picking these up. Because, let's face it, sometimes the cheesiest, silliest, most over the top action films are the best to watch and enjoy.



And speaking of reasons to buy, check out these great extras:

  • AUDIO COMMENTARIES BY PAUL TALBOT
  • THEATRICAL TRAILERS
  • TV SPOT
  • TV BROADCAST PROMO
  • VHS PREVIEWS
  • IMAGE GALLERY

The most pleasant surprise comes in the form of the "TV Broadcast Promo" spot was a nice surprise, since it was a tv spot from "New York's Movie Station" WPIX 11. If you grew up with that familiar voice narrating your favorite weekend programing, then you can definitely appreciate this being included!

I just want to thank Umbrella for giving us so much Cannon goodness. Cannon has always been home of some of my favorite movies and Umbrella has certainly done these movies justice with terrific releases. I've written about their fantastic releases before and you can find that here. To complete your "Cannon Classics" collection, pick this up from Umbrella Entertainment.



-Chad

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