What can be said about Death Wish 3 that hasn't been said before, really? I knew it was going to be bad going into it and I wasn't wrong, but there is still value to it. In the first two of the series Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a normal man that pushed by the dregs of society to fight back. He becomes a normal vigilante that deals with violence by committing acts of violence. His revenge has good reason though, in part one his wife is murdered by a gang and his daughter is reduced to a comatose state. He looses himself in the fight to seek vengeance for his family, he goes after every criminal he sees. The papers get a hold of the story and he becomes a celebrity - striking fear in the hearts of thugs. Once the gang responsible is done away with, Kersey is told to leave New York by the police. They have realized if they killed/arrested him it would make him a martyr so they let him go. Thus, a few years later while Kersey makes a new life for himself in LA he is traumatized again by gangs. They rape and murder his daughter from the first film. Talk about the worst luck. In true sequel fashion the body count is bigger, Kersey''s gun a bit bigger, more nudity, violence and much more of Bronson's cold stare. As we can see the first two films work because of what happens to our protagonist - his wife murdered - his daughter raped and murdered - so he kills for justice. Here comes part 3, where Kersey returns to New York to find a friend killed by the local dominating gang. Kersey and the friend served in the Korean War together and their bond must have been so strong, or just like the writers of Death Wish 3, Kersey just needed any reason to clean the streets again. The police want Kersey to 'do his job, ' and reduce the crime rate as he once did - but what they didn't expect is a near apocalypse for a small poverty stricken neighborhood. Yes, number 3, delivers in even bigger gun's (Bronson with a machine gun), more rape/death, bigger gang to take care of, and ends with fire and blood down the streets of New York.
I haven't sat through Death Wish IV, or V yet - but I'm ready for the downward slope into total absurdity. It's disappointing because I wanted each of these to be at least descent, like all of the entries in the Dirty Harry series but I guess it comes down to one simple observation: Charles Bronson is no Clint Eastwood.
A remake is in the works for the original 1974 Death Wish, so we'll see if they can reinvent a classic that destroyed itself through its sequels.