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MICHAEL WINNER DIRECTS CHARLES BRONSON IN 'DEATH WISH 3'

Charles Bronson and Gavan O'Herlily foreign poster artwork Year: 1985 Rating: ****

By the third DEATH WISH, a gray-haired Charles Bronson was showing his age. Although compared to a group of helpless elderly residents of an apartment building in the middle of a contained, highly dangerous urban neighborhood ruled by a vicious gang, he seems much younger. Plus, the iconic action star can still get around...

The villain is named Fraker, played by the actor who was the first basketball-bouncing Chuck Cunningham, enigmatic/pointless older brother of Ron Howard’s Richie on  HAPPY DAYS...

Gavan O'Herlihy as Fraker in DEATH WISH III

Enter Gavan O'Herlihy, with a reverse Mohawk and a red stripe running down the middle of his shaved head, makes for an unlikely leader, especially one consisting of every race: from black to Hispanic to white...

But Fraker does have an effectively nasty glare that fits within the punk rock aura, displayed amongst the lot of sordid villains liken to a bunch of schoolyard goons with weapons: sneaking into old people’s apartments, stealing purses and wreaking general havoc, like brats with too much free time... 

Deborah Raffin in DEATH WISH 3

It’s Charles Bronson’s architect Paul Kersey... back in the grungy Neo Western New York City where everything began... who will send them into permanent detention...

A peripheral romance between Kersey and Deborah Raffin is useless filler, but Ed Lauter as a cut-corner and effective police captain, and Martin Balsam as the tenants’ weapon-stockpiling spokesman, serves as worthy side-characters, helping move the story and all the gratuitous cat-and-mouse action...

Charles Bronson in DEATH WISH 3

The music, although given credit to Jimmy Page, who provided the ominously spooky guitar/synthesizer score of the second film, is actually completed by another composer, throwing in Page’s previous work with his own variations, making the soundtrack more conventional and less intriguing, foreboding...

And Michael Winner directs his last of three (out of five) DEATH WISH films, the camerawork full of the usual creative zoom shots in an exploitation manner, giving this mid-80’s venture a desperate and edgy early 70’s style throughout.

Alex Winter in DEATH WISH 3
Death of the Giggler in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3 with Ed Lauter
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3
Charles Bronson is Paul Kersey in DEATH WISH 3

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