By the time the Death Wish series got to the third installment, things were getting a little over the top, but this one brought things back a little closer to reality. Except for that shoulder launched missile Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) used to take out Ed Zacharias (Perry Lopez), that was pretty special. I also got a kick out of that scene when Frank Bauggs (David Fonteno) went out the window of his apartment, courtesy of Bronson's character. If you watch it closely, you'll notice that the glass was shattered before Bauggs went through it. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but if you watch it again, especially frame by frame, you'll notice that the window was a complete patchwork of cracks.
You know, not for anything, but Paul Kersey was surely an expert in time management, heading up his own architectural firm full time and doling out street punishment as a fairly significant sideline. How he managed to do both is pretty much a question mark, so I guess the idea is you're not supposed to ask. Nor should you ask how the phony Nathan White (John P. Ryan) managed to take over an entire estate while the real owner was on vacation in Europe. I guess it could happen, but what are the odds? And with a phony butler too!
The most depressing thing about the picture was the way Kay Lenz got rubbed out by the bad guy using Nathan White's name. Like a lot of folks who came into Paul Kersey's orbit, it eventually became a tough thing to stay alive. Maybe there should have been a picture about Kersey seeking therapy over all the people he lost. On second thought, getting revenge looked like the kind of therapy he seemed to have in mind.
Reviewed by Woodyanders8 / 10
Bronson is cleaning up the streets once again
Architect and vigilante supreme Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson, who's older, but still game and nimble enough) joins forces with the wealthy Nathan White (robustly played with rip-snorting panache by John P. Ryan) to wipe out two major Los Angeles drug cartels after the daughter of Kersey's latest girlfriend Karen Sheldon (the ever-gorgeous Kay Lenz) dies from an overdose.
Director J. Lee Thompson keeps the intricate and engrossing story moving along at a snappy pace as well as stages the exciting action set pieces with flair and skill. Gail Morgan Hickman's unusually complex and clever script not only offers a nifty "Yojimbo"-style narrative, but also makes Kersey out to be a victim in his own right and even provides several inspired moments of amusing self-mocking humor. The solid acting by the capable cast helps a lot, with especially sturdy contributions from Perry Lopez as slimy drug kingpin Ed Zacharias, Soon Tek-Oh as the corrupt Detective Phil Nozaki, and George Dickerson as Nozaki's loyal partner Detective Reiner. Keep 'em peeled for Danny Trejo, Tom Everett, and Mitch Pileggi in small roles. Gideon Porath's slick cinematography gives this picture an impressive glossy sheen. In addition, there are a few hilariously obvious dummy deaths and goofy touches like a bomb that's disguised as a wine bottle. Good trashy fun.
Reviewed by metalrox_20007 / 10
nothing new, but entertaining
After death wish 2 and 3 came out, the series seemed, to well, have a death wish. 2 was unremarkable, and 3 cared more about a very high body count then anything. Unlike in 3, the relationship between Kay Lenz's character and Kersey doesn't seemed forced, doesn't seem like ti was tacked on like the third entry. the fourth entry seemed to be a better level then the previous. Not as good as the first, face it, hardly any action flick with a vigilanty storyline as been as good as the first death wish, the 4th one makes kersey a little more human. You want him to find those responsible for the death of his girlfriends's teen daughter. You cheer when he gets the bad guy. Personally, I would to have loved to have seen a little more interaction between Bronson and Soon Tek-oh, perhaps one of the most underrated supporting actors in movie history. Overall a decent little flick that doesn't try to outsmart itself.