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Death Wish 3

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    Ian Jane
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  • Death Wish 3



    Released by: MGM

    Released on: August 14, 2012.

    Director: Michael Winner

    Cast: Charles Bronson, Deborah Raffin, Ed Lauter, Martin Balsam

    Year: 1985

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    Michael Winner had directed Charles Bronson in the first two Death Wish films to great success, so it would go without saying that if Golan Globus, those legendary producers of some of the finest movies of the eighties, could team them up for a third and milk the franchise name for all it was worth, they'd make it happen. Bronson, with his career starting to head downhill at this point, begrudgingly agreed and this would prove to be his last team up with the accomplished English director.


    Death Wish 3 finds Paul Kersey back in New York City, this time to visit his old friend Charlie. But when Kersey arrives at Charlie's apartment, he finds his friend laying on the floor dying, the victim of a sadistic gang of hoodlums who rule the area. The police show up shortly after Kersey arrives on the scene and they take him down to the station and lock him up, assuming he had something to do with the murder.


    After kicking the snot out of some of his fellow prisoners, Kersey is taken in to talk to the chief who recognizes him as the vigilante who had been operating in the city years ago. He decides to let him go, no questions asked, and to turn a blind eye to his special brand of justice if Kersey can help clean up the neighborhood. It seems that despite the fact that the police have upped patrols by fifteen percent that crime continues to escalate. The chief figures Kersey can have an impact on the gang that's responsible for the trouble in a way that the police cannot.


    Kersey heads back to the apartment where Charlie was murdered and takes up residence there, befriending the seniors and immigrants who live in the building and striking up a romance with the lovely public defense attorney (Deborah Raffin) who follows him around. But when one of Kersey's new friends dies from a brutal rape inflicted on her by the gang and then his new girlfriend is blown up and killed, he takes off the kid gloves and starts using those guns that he's been building out of mail order parts to get his revenge against the no good punks who have gone way, way too far.


    Despite the fact that the movie is full of technical goof ups (raining outside in one shot, not raining the next shot, visible squibs, technical flaws in regards to the rocket launcher, etc.) the movie is still a lot of fun. Cameo appearances by a pre-Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure Alex Winter, a blink and you'll miss it walk on by Barbie Wilde (the female Cenobite Hellraiser II - Hellbound), and a pre-Star Trek - The Next Generation appearance from Marina Sirtis make the movie interesting from a celebrity spotting stand point. Bronson once again does a fine job in the lead here and supporting efforts from the likes of Ed Lauter and Martin Balsam certainly don't hurt things at all.


    But really, when it's all boiled down, the real star of the show (aside from Bronson, of course) is the unreal amount of violence that the filmmakers were able to cram into the last half hour of the movie. You'll literally lost count of all the people who are shot, blown up, stabbed, beaten, pushed off of rooftops, and just generally maimed during the films finale. The last sequence was so out of control that the film was actually hit with an X rating by the MPAA when it was first subjected to classification, though this was later successfully appealed. The storyline may basically amount to 'Bronson teams up with other old people to shoot punks' and not much more than that but when it goes as over the top as this one does, you can't help but love it.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    MGM presents Death Wish 3 on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 that, generally, looks quite nice. As it was with the Death Wish 2 Blu-ray, detail is noticably improved over the DVD release from a few years ago (which was full frame) and color reproduction is also more impressive. Again, the film is as grainy as you'd want it to be but never to distracting levels and there really isn't much in the way of print damage to note at all. Black levels are strong if not reference quality while skin tones look nice and natural, there's no evidence of any noise reduction having been applied here. If the film wasn't given any sort of massive restortation it never-the-less looks pretty good in high definition.


    The English DTS-HD Mono track on this disc is also fine. The score sounds good, the dialogue is easy to understand the levels are properly balanced. There are no issues with hiss or distortion and everything comes through cleanly and clearly. As this is an older mono mix you obviously can't really expect much in the way of channel separation or fancy surround action but for what it is, this older single channel tracks sounds just fine. Optional Dolby Digital Mono options are provided in French and Spanish with removable subtitles provided in English SDH and Spanish.


    Extras? Not much… we get a pop-up menu that offers chapter selection, subtitle and audio set up, and the film's theatrical trailer. When you put the disc in, after the standard warnings the movie starts right away, you won't see the menu unless you hit the menu button on your remote.


    The Final Word:


    The first Death Wish is a legitimately effective classic of skuzzy seventies cinema and the second film a worthy follow up. This third entry? It's way more of a comic book film, but it works in its own completely ludicrous way. Bronson is solid in the lead, and while it's got plot holes the size of a mountain, you can't help but have a lot of fun with this movie. MGM's Blu-ray doesn't add any extras but it does offer up a nice upgrade from the standard definition DVD that came out a few years back, and fans of the film will find this one worth the upgrade.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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