Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Set your DVR's

Because tonight American Movie Classics / AMC is airing "Death Wish 3", a wildly entertaining Charles Bronson gem. Forget the original "Death Wish" from the 1970's, which actually took a stab at social commentary. Forget "Death Wish 2", wherein Bronson's Paul Kersey relocates to LA to start over with a clean slate, only to be drawn back into his vigilante lifestyle. No, "Death Wish 3" is clearly the one of the series you need to absorb, study and reflect upon.

I watched it a year or two ago when the wife was out of town on business (most guys head to strip clubs or play cards with their buddies when the wife isn't around; I watch bad movies. Sue me), and I instantly fell in love with it. It's awesomely over-the-top, with Bronson's character heading back to New York to visit with a war buddy, who the plot-contrivance screenplay Gods have seen fit to have live smack-dab in the middle of the Bronx, circa 1985. The stage thus set, the rest of the film unfolds like a expertly-constructed Chinese puzzle box.

Soon after Bronson's arrival, his buddy is killed by a gang that rules the neighborhood. Of course, this is no normal Bronx gang. Instead, it's a colorful melange (rainbow coalition?) of different races and creeds, all united by their love of intimidating women on the streets with catcalls and purse-snatching. And most awesomely of all, they are led with maniacal fervor by a Hollywood version of a "punk rock" dude, complete with a reverse-mohawk and face paint. Oh yeah - did I mention that this leader of a Bronx gang is a blond-haired white dude? Because no one commands respect in the inner city like an un-muscular white guy.

"That's right, dickhead. A reverse mohawk, courtesy of a nice, big
jar of Dippity-Do. That's how we roll here in the Bronx."

Naturally, things escalate from there. Bronson bangs a chick half his age, who the gang then kills. This understandably cheeses Chuck off a bit. So he rallies the locals around his cause, shows them how to fight back, and mows down 700 gang members with a machine gun. He then frosts his revenge cake by blowing the reverse-mohawked leader to smithereens with a mail-order rocket launcher. It's real "stand up and cheer" moment.

This movies rules. Or pwns, or whatever you want to say. It's on at 7-9 PM central time, and then re-run immediately after from 9-11 PM. So you really have no excuse to miss it.

Here's some choice dialogue from the film, courtesy of the imdb. If these bon mots and my sterling recommendation isn't enough for you, you're most likely beyond redemption:

CHICK BRONSON BANGS: I hope you like chicken. It's the only thing I know how to make.
BRONSON: Chicken's good. I like chicken.


GANG MEMBER: They killed the Giggler, man!
GANG LEADER: They had no business doing that. None.


BRONSON: Hey, what's the problem?
PUNK #1: What?
BRONSON: With the car... what's the problem?
PUNK #1: Just get outta my fuckin' face. Who are you?
PUNK #2: We're stealing a fuckin' car, what's it to you?
BRONSON: It's my car.
PUNK #1: Now you gonna die!
( Bronson shoots them both dead]

All this and more can be yours tonight at 7 and 9 PM central. Be there.


OK, so I watched some of this last night, and there were so many great moments that I had forgotten many of them. My favorites? Well, I certainly enjoyed the fact that the movie contained 3 different instances of people on fire being shot. That's right: after the gang members ("creeps" as Bronson call them) throw molotov cocktails into people homes, people run out screaming and on fire. And then the gang members shoot them! I guess it's not enough to immolate someone in the Bronx, you must also ventilate them. Yeesh. But if you were truly evil, wouldn't you just let them burn? Shooting someone that's on fire just puts them out of their misery, doesn't it? Almost merciful, really. Nonetheless, very funny.

Another scene that made me roar was when the elderly citizens, inspired by Bronson running down the middle of the street and shooting gang member after gang member, decide to fight back themselves. So they string a chain up across a road and when some thugs come by on motorcycles, they clothesline them with it. Then they shoot the thugs while they're on the ground, grinning as they do so. Afterwards they happily jump up and down, firing pistols in the air like a bunch of mexican bandits! Genius.

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