For the last little while I've been taking a trip back down 80s nostalgia filmwise watching a few classics and not so classics and ones that are so bad they're almost entertaining. Almost. I think death wish 3 falls into this category.
As with the other death wish movies Charles Bronson plays Paul Kersey architect cum vigilante who says very little and let's his gun do the talking for him.
As with with the other death wish movies the setup is similar. Kersey comes to town to visit an old buddy but low and behold there is a gang who controls the streets and promptly does away with kersey's buddy just before he arrives. Less than two seconds later (literally) he is arrested by a detective 'dude' ( we never get to know his name as far as I remember ) and despatched to jail for his friends murder. Huh? With that type of service the cops would have the streets cleaned up in no time. But I digress. After being jailed and having an impromptu fight with a gang member in the jail cell where he pushes his head through the jail cell bars, he is set loose by detective 'dude' to do his vigilante thing.
Cue kersey's revenge Replete with bazookas through the mail and a Hand cannon dirty Harry would be proud of. In fact they make a joke about that one. The film is a funny mix of dark material and tongue in cheek action. Bronson was reportedly not impressed with the movie at the time and vowed never to work with the director again.
But the question remains is this movie any good? Even as I type this I can't quite decide whether it's nostalgia or plain lunacy but in a twisted way the movie is strangely entertaining. Now I'm not saying its good, it's not its really bad, but it's entertaining as in entertaining to see how badly constructed it is and how much the film maker doesn't seem to care. They seemingly make no effort to mask it. It's like saying 'in for a penny in for a pound'.
The film is funny in a not intentional way. The scenes are played completely serious and earnest which makes it that much more fun. The acting is really bad at times but it moves quickly, shifting from one stilted 'acting' scene to the next eager to get to the action which is the real heart of the movie anyway. These small filler scenes seem to be there just to fill a cinematic convention that there must be a 'story' to break the action. I may be wrong but I think this is the least amount of dialogue that Charles Bronson speaks in any movie. It's somehow awkward when he does, however, so maybe that was a wise choice.
There are lots of moments of nihilistic action. It's completely over the top. The traps that kersey uses to lure the gang members out so that he can gun them down mercilessly are unintentionally hilarious. He buys a new car (wtf?), gang member tries to rob it, one badly scripted and stilted dialogue exchange and the gang members are blown away. Kersey goes back to his dinner. Kersey goes to buy ice cream with a brand new camera only to be robbed by 'the Giggler' (seriously!) a gang member with a permanent laughing disorder. Mr giggles eats pavement with a big hole in his chest. The whole neighbourhood celebrates. The gang members stew crying awkward crocodile tears 'they killed the Giggler!'.
A women we have only briefly met for one or two short scenes is brutally attacked by some gang members and ends up in hospital. The ending to this is a phone call to say that this unfortunate women has suffered a broken arm and will be fine. Cut to: visiting her in the hospital and kersey is informed by the medical team that she has 'expired'. Huh? A moment ago she had a broken arm? Yes, but apparently there was a complication with trying to fix her arm and she died. Don't cut your finger in this town you might just keel over and die from 'complications'. It's a device if one was needed for full on revenge and carnage on the streets.
The final twenty minutes or so is summed up simply by stating that kersey becomes a one man army, taking on an endless supply of gang members who die theatrical deaths at the business end of a gatling gun. The perpetrators die doing somersaults through the air that Spider-Man would be proud of. No one just simply dies. Its even more comic book than the avengers. Add to the fact that 'the neighbourhood people' join in on the killing spree randomly gunning down anyone they see, gleefully celebrating like they'd won the euro millions and you have the nihilistic, generally funny picture. You can't take this movie seriously. At all. Ever.
Without doubt it is in the category of 'so bad its almost entertaining' with the emphasis heavily on 'Bad'. Enjoy!