We all know Death Wish 3 is awesome but Ronin Flix have just made it even better with an excellent remaster improving the audio and visual quality of the film. I wish it had more special features but what we get is insightful and entertaining so if you love this movie as much as I do then this is well worth picking up.
Plot: He’s Judge, Jury and Executioner! Paul Kersey doesn’t seek out violence. It just seems to find him. But when it does… he’s not about to back down! Charles Bronson brings out the heavy artillery in this gun-blazing, no-holds-barred thriller! Road-worn and battle-weary, Kersey longs to leave his fighting days behind him. But when he arrives in New York to visit an old friend, he finds him brutally attacked and gasping for breath in a pool of blood! Now the silent avenger must wage war once more on the city’s punks, thugs and hoodlums. But this time he’s brought a small arsenal of guns, knives – and even a bazooka – to help him!
Review: I picked up the new Ronin Flix Blu-ray of Death Wish 3 the other day and as I unashamedly adore the movie I figured it was time to review it. Charles Bronson became a household name with the success of the first Death Wish so a franchise was inevitable. Critics were always appalled by the vigilante violence but for me these movies are pure wish-fulfillment; I’ve always loved watching criminals get what they deserve and no one dispenses justice quite like Paul Kersey.
The first two Death Wish movies are as gritty as can be with a little too much focus on rape; there is one scene in this third entry (featuring Star Trek’s Marina Sirtis) but thankfully it isn’t too prolonged. This was when the series started to get a little silly and over the top but it’s also why part 3 is arguably my favourite of the series as it’s just packed with action and memorable characters.
The late great Ed Lauter plays cop Richard Shriker who finds out Kersey is back in New York and gives him an ultimatum; clean up the streets or end up in prison. Kersey of course obliges after some street thugs kill his friend Charlie and his rampage of revenge begins.
The leader of the gang of thugs is called Fraker played by Gavan O’Herlihy who always made for a menacing antagonist; he has a great voice and is just an intimidating presence making him well cast as the villain. It was through watching this Blu-ray that I discovered that Gavan O’Herlihy is the son of Dan O’Herlihy (RoboCop) as well as other various interesting tidbits. Most of the movie was shot in London and in one of the interviews with Kirk Taylor (who played The Giggler) we find out that the scene where Kersey chases him from the streets into a parking lot was partly shot in London and then the interior was shot in New York.
At 90 minutes Death Wish 3 was always a fast paced ride with Bronson at his stoic best and the final 20 minutes is action movie heaven with Kersey, Shriker and the neighborhood residents fighting back against the gangs and taking back the streets. This is elevated by Jimmy Page’s epic electric guitar score which is truly badass even if for the first half of the movie the music is mostly terrible and very dated sounding.
Fraker gets one of my favourite awesome bad guy deaths as he is blown up (in close quarters) by a rocket launcher which only adds to the sheer entertainment factor. Any movie with a character called The Giggler also gets another point in its favour and Kirk Taylor clearly enjoyed the role as it led to him getting a part in Full Metal Jacket.
Alex Winter is known more for being in The Lost Boys and Bill & Ted but he made for a nasty piece of work in this film; this was one of his earliest roles and he didn’t want to do the rape scene which he was initially supposed to do so Tony Britts (who played gang member Tulio) did it instead. I remember seeing him talk about this movie in the Cannon Documentary Electric Boogaloo where he dumped all over it which annoyed me as I hate when actors do that.
This Blu-ray is well remastered with only a few moments of grain; the audio was generally flawless and thankfully there were subtitles too. I do wish there were some more special features on the disc like deleted scenes but Bronson expert and author Paul Talbot provides and insightful and entertaining commentary giving us all kinds of juicy behind the scenes info.
Overall, Death Wish 3 is pure 80’s excess with over the top characters, a huge bodycount and Bronson doing what he does best; Ronin Flix have done a great job of remastering the movie and although there aren’t a ton of extra features any fans of this movie should add it to their collection ASAP.