(Review originally written at 26 June 2006)

Would the world be a better place with more persons like Paul Kersey around? Who knows. But either way, everyone should be able to recognize themselves in the actions Paul Kersey takes. Even though its ruthless and violent, you still understand him and cheer for him as well. It distinct this movie from other 'revenge-flicks' and is the very reason why this movie has grown a bit into a Charles Bronson classic.

I like how the movie handles its story. It doesn't try to glorify Paul Kersey's actions but it does make them understandable. Yes, the violence is pretty brutal but it all serves a purpose in the movie and becomes necessary for the forming of the character. Basically this movie is just your average action movie revenge flick but with more realism added to it. It helps to make "Death Wish" an original movie, even though the story and concept itself is far from anything new or original. The story is slowly told and it takes its time to develop. The movie is perhaps even an essential '70's viewing, since its a one of a kind movie, in which a normal every day guy turn into a 'sidewalk vigilante' after his wife is killed and his daughter raped by a couple of thugs (one of them played by a very young Jeff Goldblum in his very first screen appearance).

But lets be fair. the movie is far from a perfect one. The movie has a typical experimental like '70's style, especially in its cinematography, that is interesting to watch but it adds very little and works distracting at times. The movie is also told very simple at times and some of the sequences even feel amateur like, to be honest. The story itself also feels extremely far fetched and unlikely. I mean, literally every time Paul Kersey goes outside he walks into trouble. He gets mugged several times and he encounters other thugs on numerous occasions. It's highly unlikely all, even for in a city like New York.

The acting on the other hand is good. It's probably mainly thanks to Charles Bronson that his character works so well for the story. I also really liked Vincent Gardenia in his role. He brought some much needed comic relief and gave the story some extra flair and depth.

A simple movie that mainly thanks to the original way it handles the story and characters, works out extremely well as a brutal action flick. Even though flawed, still an essential '70's viewing in my opinion.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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