Stuart’s Movie Catchup: Death Wish and Death Wish 2

Here’s a movie I’ve always thought about watching – and often reference in jokes seeing as its embedded in popular culture – and yet have never bothered to give it a try.

But such was the level of mindless enjoyment that I got from watching the first one, I actually ended up watching both Death Wish and its 1982 sequel, Death Wish 2.

Death Wish Review: What’s This One About?

A mild-mannered architect turns badass vigilante when his wife is murdered and his daughter is brutally raped by Jeff Goldblum and his pals.

Death Wish 2 Review: And What About This One?

The same mild-mannered architect turns badass vigilante when both his housekeeper and his daughter are brutally raped and murdered; this time by Laurence Fishburne and his chums.

Have They Held Up Well?

Obviously not from a creative standpoint.

Sure, there aren’t any special effects to consider, but at the same time, we’re talking about 1974 New York and 1982 Los Angeles. Those places and times have not aged well.deathwish

And the music is very much of its time too, and that’s not a good thing.

But from a writing and directorial direction, it’s perfectly acceptable. Indeed, the rape scenes are actually more graphic than you would imagine from that era.

And Are They Any Good?

The first film is mindlessly brilliant.

Charles Bronson is one of these actors who you are slightly amazed exists; he delivers all of his lines in a stunted, hammy way and he’s got the face of a haggard Mexican burrito vendor, and yet against all the odds, he’s a leading man in Hollywood.

But I think that makes him more endearing. You kinda think “Aw, well done you for getting the part”.

He also, in spite of his flaws, has a serious badass vibe going. He’s the quiet killer you don’t mess with.

As a story, the first one is remarkably good – even though the middle act is simply Bronson going out and murdering random people for kicks – and it has a logical and acceptable ending.

The second one isn’t nearly as well written, but still quite fun.

Beyond the setup, it wasn’t in the same league as the first, and you’ve got to imagine that the next three films would be increasingly more silly, offering diminishing marginal returns.

Having said that though, I did read that Death Wish 3 – shown below – is one of the most unintentionally hilarious movies of all time, so I’ll definitely give it a go.

Ultimately, if all you want is to see a dodgy actor kill muggers and be portrayed as a hero for doing so, then this is well worth your time and will give you a good laugh.

Indeed, Death Wish as a whole can probably be summed up by this video…


My Other Catchup Reviews So Far

The Terminator

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