This is how subtle Death Wish 3 is: there's a bit where the stupid police chief stamps on a cockroach. That kind of says it all really. Why bother with laws, why bother with a constitution and why bother with a police force – they only get in the way. What you really need to keep the streets safe is a big gun…and lots of bullets…and maybe a machine gun… and perhaps a grenade launcher too. Because, hey, if those liberal pinkos have their way there will only be anarchy.
Paul Kersey's day starts off really badly. Not only do synthesisers, weeping saxophones, twangy guitars and a smarmy piano accompany his trip to New York, but by the time he gets there his best mate has been killed. How unlucky can you get? Well, to make matters worse, one of the people that kills his best mate is Bill S. Preston, Esq. Oh, and when he gets there, just as his friend is dying in his arms, he gets arrested for his murder. Damn. But then, after getting beaten up by the police, and ramming a fat porker's bulbous head through prison bars, and enraging the head of a local gang, he gets unofficial approval from the stupid police chief to go on a one man killing rampage…which is nice.
Death Wish 3 is a guilty pleasure. After all, it's dumb, it's fascistic and it's badly filmed, but a number of people greater than the population of San Marino get brutally killed, so it rules. I mean, how can you not dig a film where people are set on fire, thrown off buildings and shot at point blank range with grenade launchers? Anyone with a penis should enjoy this. So if you don't like it, you're probably either a woman or Dale Winton.
Where do I start when it comes to the best death in Death Wish 3? The grenade launcher killing is a classic, but the firebombing is probably even better – the punks firebomb the flat of an elderly couple and they come running out, in flames, and then get mowed down with Uzis. But then there's death by broom and all the machine gun slayings. However, I also dig the bit when a bunch of bikers, in leather daddy gear, get blasted to pieces by a bunch of disgruntled neighbourhood residents. An armed society is a polite society.
But this praise for other characters takes away from the Bronsoninator's contribution. Never before has one man killed so many people. He mows down punks with his mate's Browning machine gun and then he blows them away with his unfeasibly huge Magnum – normally I'd suggest that Bronson was making up for certain shortcomings, but there's no way the man wasn't hung.
And it's his Magnum technique that impresses most. He can dodge a hail of bullets simply by slowly crouching down on one knee. Genius! And then there are the people he kills. One man, who's trying to rape a black woman, is the spitting image of Freddie Mercury. Another, who he throws off a roof, is Frost out of Aliens. And he even kills The Giggler…while eating an ice cream! "They killed The Giggler, man! They killed The Giggler!"
But perhaps the best Bronson killing is the one where he coolly kills a couple of punks who are trying to nick his car. At the time he's having dinner with a Jewish couple, but he politely excuses himself, shoots the punks and then returns to finish his grub. What a gentleman.
But it's not all fun and games. Bronson's lady gets killed. But the woman should have known better. Any woman that gets close to the Bronsoninator is immediately doomed. It's the James Bond rule. I mean, we can't have our bloodthirsty heroes suddenly become happy and content, can we? So she has to die. And at least she goes out in style. She gets a headbutt for her troubles and then succumbs in a car crash. Of course, just in case she might survive, the car spontaneously blows up. You've got to make sure these damn women die, haven’t you?
Not that any of this seems to bother Bronson. He merely goes along with his bloodthirsty rampage, squinting at the targets he's going to blow into bloody pieces. And what of his targets? Well, the gang he takes on is isn't especially formidable. In fact, they're rather camp. They wear bandanas, headbands, string vests, fingerless gloves, sleeveless shirts, leather jackets, chain belts, lots of studs and one even wears a cute little cut off vest so that he can show off his rock hard abs. Actually, now that I think about it, they dress and prance like a bunch of failed Fame auditionees. Perhaps that's why they're so mad. They just want to be in a chorus line but they can't get a gig. Maybe that's why they kidnap, rape and kill a poor Mexican lady. They want to get their own back on any tang they can get their hands on. The way they emerge from their hiding place – the bushes, of course – certainly suggests this. They leap out like coked-up ballerinas. But then they all get brutally killed, so their Broadway ambitions sadly go unfulfilled.
Oh, and the leader of the gang looks like Hawk out of Legion of Doom. Unfortunately, though, his facepaint doesn’t look as cool. He just has a red line running down his skull and he has a couple of black lines on his forehead. It makes him look like a menstruating woman has rubbed her vagina on his cranium and then he’s fallen on a couple of pieces of coal. It’s not the most formidable of looks.
But hey, who cares about the punks? Not I. Indeed, Death Wish 3 has made me see the light. All we need to keep the streets safe are vicious vigilantes, dispensing their wonderful brand of arbitrary justice. Only then will we be free from the tyranny of punks, hoods and lowlifes. I never knew that a Jewish food critic could be so delightfully fascist.