PUPKIN DROOLS ALL OVER BRONSON’S MAGNUM.
I remember way back in the days of my youth I used to live off my copies of films that had been taped off of TV. I had a JAWS tape nearly worn out. Same went for my tape of DEATH WISH 3. My gosh did I love that film (and still do). I had gotten into Bronson films (spinning off of Eastwood, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris) and really dug the guy. I was also at an age where guns were a really big deal. Never handled or fired a real one, but I was pretty obsessed with them. So what was not to like about DEATH WISH III? Paul Kersey’s .475 Wildey Magnum was drool worthy. I thought that cannon was a glorious thing. I even designed a make shift roll playing game (HUGE nerd alert) around it. If I recall, you could attack people a la Dungeons and Dragons, but if you were using the Wildey you could roll a dice to see which of your enemy’s appendages you blew off with it. I was a strange child. I can’t recall, but I might have actually seen DEATH WISH III before I saw the first two. Anyway, my apologies for the tease, but DEATH WISH III is NOT currently on Netflix Instant (though it has been in the past and will soon be again I hope). You can still get your Bronson fix though.
You’ve got Paul Kersey’s original ‘adventure’ in the first DEATH WISH movie. A very worthwhile film. Directed by the inimitable Michael Winner. Definitely a slower burn than a lot of his later films, but impactful nonetheless. New York in this one is vile, gritty place that we all remember fondly from the 70s. It’s a place where Jeff Goldblum and his freak buddy can really fuck your shit up. So you can kick off your Bronson-fest with DEATH WISH and then jump right into DEATH WISH II (also directed by Winner). In this entry, Kersey scours the streets of L.A. looking for the punks that killed his daughter (who was also in TOURIST TRAP and BLOW OUT btw). I’ll never forget Kersey’s dispatching final words to one of said punks:
“Do you believe in Jesus?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well you’re gonna meet him.”
For your third film I recommend the wonderfully sleazy 10 TO MIDNIGHT. This film is quite a hoot and is probably my favorite of the 3 mentioned here. It functions much like a giallo and Bronson is great in it. It’s a true Golan-Globus classic. I don’t want to say much more about it in case there are those who haven’t yet partaken. Good shit though. I will add though that it was directed by J. Lee Thompson and I gotta say that man had quite the varied career. From stuff like THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and CAPE FEAR (with Mitchum) to this film and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. Interesting spread. He also did CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (and BATTLE FOR) as well as EYE OF THE DEVIL and THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (I am a big fan of all of these). Thompson worked with Bronson several times starting on such films as ST. IVES, THE WHITE BUFFALO and the oddball CABOBLANCO (and a bunch more).
Should you finish your triple feature and still be jonesing for Bronson, then feel free to jump on over to Crackle.com for a couple more. Right now they have HARD TIMES (excellent and under-rated) and THE STONE KILLER (another Winner film!).
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