Death Wish 3

Dir: Michael Winner, 1985



Is this a tragic deviation from its origins or a typical, but fun, 80’s Cannon flick?

Waiting for his friend, Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), Charlie is brutally attacked and murdered by the local gang that terrorises the run down neighbourhood.

Kersey arrives just in time to see how friend succumb to his injuries and is arrested on suspicion of the murder.

While in custody, Kersey gets on the wrong side of gang leader Mandy Fraker (Gavan O’Herlihy).

The lieutenant in charge remembers Kersey as the vigilante and offers him a deal.

Kersey is to pick up his old ways and help the police to rid the neighbourhood of the gangs.

This is Michael Winner’s final entry in the Death Wish catalogue and his last film with Bronson.

Any message that the 1974 film sought to convey has completely gone.

This is just pure cheesy, comic book action.

As the series progressed, the motives got diluted into nothing.

Bronson’s Paul Kersey went from architect to one man army, killing without any remorse.

Death Wish 3 becomes a parody of its origins and characters.

Kersey is the most unluckiest bloke in the world.

His wife is murdered and his daughter traumatised into a vegetative state.

Then his daughter gets murdered and his new girlfriend leaves him.

His old army friend is murdered but he meets a new girl….who, then, gets murdered as soon as they’ve slept together.

With a shrug of his shoulders, Kersey just simply walks away with a “I knew that was going to happen” look.

Everybody he comes into contact with ends up dead or injured.

Winner knows that there isn’t anywhere for Kersey to go. All his family are dead, he has no real motive to be a vigilante.
But Cannon Films saw potential in anything action packed and had an eye for lucrative titles.

They didn’t care about the films. They just cared about entertainment.

Death Wish 3 works on this level. It’s mindless Saturday night fodder.

Kersey rigs up a series of traps for the gang that couldn’t possibly work but look cool anyway.

Despite being passed uncut for the UK cinema release, the British censors removed 13 secs of nudity from scenes of sexual violence before earning an ’18’ certificate for the video. Marina Sirtis having her breasts exposed during the rape in the car park and shots of a topless woman being dragged downstairs in the carnage towards the end. 

In 2006, the board passed the DVD uncut with all its cuts restored.

It’s silly and daft but thoroughly enjoyable.


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