Midnight Movies

DEATH WISH 3 (1985)

Midnight Movies
Two Nights Only!
DEATH WISH 3 (1985)
Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4
Friday: 11:59pm
Saturday: 11:59pm
92 minutes / Rated R
Directed by: Michael Winner
Cast: Charles Bronson, Deborah Raffin , Ed Lauter and Martin Balsam

Michael Winner ups the ante once again in Death Wish 3. Any pretense of Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) having a career in architecture is completely gone. Kersey's new career appears to be as a professional vigilante, blowing away muggers, rapists and thieves off the mean streets -- or as he terms it "thinning the herd." Back in New York City, Kersey, with his usual luck, arrives just in time to find an old friend dying after a vicious beating by a multi-cultural gang of thugs. The cops arrest Kersey, but it just so happens that police chief Richard S. Shriker (Ed Lauter) is like Kersey with a badge: "I'm the law, and that means I get to violate your civil rights." He makes a deal with Kersey: he can go free as long as he keeps the cops informed of his death counts. Kersey grunts in agreement and proceeds to move into a decaying tenement building in the middle of a bombed out gang war zone. The building is populated by a group of elderly tenants who are terrified by the neighborhood gang warfare. Kersey declares his own personal war on the neighborhood gang, led by a frenzied leader named Fraker (Gavan O'Herilhy), who wears a reverse Mohawk hair-style. As Kersey devises booby traps and trip-wire bombs to confound the gang, the senior citizens gleefully take pot shots at the wounded gang members from their windows.

In this film, Bronson takes a bold step from being a grief-stricken vigilante to becoming an 80s modern-day superhero. His New York ban has been lifted by a detective in the NYPD who wants Kersey to hunt down and dispatch the criminals the police can’t touch. The final assault of citizens versus punks is hilariously over-the-top, bringing as much artillery as a Rambo movie and easily as much bloodshed. Things escalate fast in this segment, and it makes guerilla heroes out of the citizens trying to take back their city. Overblown and unrealistic yet ultimately cathartic and exciting, “Death Wish 3” is still an entertaining ride. BY KEVIN CARR