HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Death Wish II Scum KillerBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Vincent Gardenia, J.D. Cannon, Anthony Franciosa, Ben Frank, Robin Sherwood, Silvana Gallardo, Robert F. Lyons, Michael Prince, Drew Snyder, Paul Lambert, Thomas F. Duffy, Laurence Fishburne, Charles Cyphers
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Four years ago, architect Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) turned vigilante after his wife was killed and daughter sent into a near-catatonic state by an attack from muggers in New York City. Now, he has moved to Los Angeles and made a new life for himself, putting violence behind him - or so he thinks. He has a new girlfriend, Geri (Jill Ireland), and is hoping his daughter Carol (Robin Sherwood) is gradually getting better. Today he takes them both out to a fun park, but when he goes to get ice cream for them he is confronted by some punks who steal his wallet. And that is just the beginning of another nighmare...

While the first Death Wish film was a huge hit, for some reason it took the best part of a decade for any sequel to arrive, and when it did it was the first in a string of thrillers made by star Bronson for what would be the producing team of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, then leaders of Cannon. They pretty much all made decent profits, showing that eighties audiences were all too happy to watch this by now ageing action hero show the young pretenders how to kick the asses of the crime fraternity. Some would argue that it was this film which cemented that view in the public's eyes.

For Death Wish II was a hit as well, reuniting Bronson with director Michael Winner who by this time had frittered away any goodwill his stylish sixties films had awarded him and whose name was now a byword for trashy entertainment that in many cases was not especially entertaining. But what the star's fans wanted to see was him getting his own back on some vile hoodlums, who naturally have to commit such a heinous crime that there's no excusing them, with the result that we're meant to cheer on their subsequent execution at the hands of Kersey who in real life would be classed as a raging psychopath.

Funnily enough, this attitude that the best way to deal with serious lawbreakers was to blow them away with a handgun was far better suited to the eighties than to the previous decade it originated in, what with the gung-ho Presidency of Ronald Reagan in full flight on the world's stage. Therefore, after the ludicrously over the top opening half hour which sees Kersey's housekeeper (Silvana Gallardo) gang raped and murdered by the same thugs who stole his wallet and then Carol kidnapped, raped, then dying on escaping through a closed window, Kersey is eager to get back to his old ways, if not quite as eager as the fans of this were for the rough, tough justice to begin.

Leaving aside the fact that Winner films the two rapes with suspiciously titillating intention (rumour had it he considered sexual assault sequences a highlight of his thrillers), he and the rest of the filmmakers, writer David Englebach included, appear oblivious to the fact that now Kersey is in effect a serial killer we're intended to praise, but he has our goodwill on his side because of the horrendous acts he is avenging. There's a hypocrisy to this, that murder is improving to the individual and society as long as you really despise the victim, and even the detective from the first film (Vincent Gardenia) returns here to endorse Kersey's spree. This would be fine if we were to see the hero having mixed feelings about his actions, but he positively relishes them, as if having the deaths of those close to him has liberated him to do whatever he wants. It's probably not wise to take Death Wish II very seriously, it is ridiculous after all, but neither was it wise to take its protagonist at face value. Music by Jimmy Page, believe it or not.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2906 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Winner  (1935 - 2013)

Opinionated British producer-director whose early comedies - You Must Be Joking, The Jokers, I'll Never Forget Whatsisname - were promising enough, but come the seventies he had settled into a pattern of overblown thrillers.

Of these, Death Wish was a huge hit, and Winner directed two similar sequels. Other films included horrors (The Nightcomers, The Sentinel), Westerns (Lawman, Chato's Land), thrillers (Scorpio, Dirty Weekend) and disastrous comedies (Bullseye!). Also a restaurant critic.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: