Death Wish 2
I did pick up the French DVD of this film. The good news is that the quality
is excellent - it's a full screen version, 720x576. The bad news is that it is
still censored. I won't detail the cuts for you. It's much more efficient if
you just view the uncensored versions for reference, so they are also linked
is the rape of the housekeeper (Silvana Gallardo) from the DVD.
in much worse quality, is the full uncensored scene.
is the rape of the daughter (Robin Sherwood) from the DVD.
in much worse quality, is the full uncensored scene.
- The incidental nudity was not censored, but is not very graphic. Here's
and here's Leslie
About the movie:
Eight years after the his first wave of vigilante murders, Chuck Bronson is
back as architect-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey, slaughtering more depraved
street thugs. The police couldn't figure out who might have been responsible.
Should they have? Well, let's see. Right after Kersey's wife was killed and
his daughter raped, there was a wave of killings in New York and every person
in The Big Apple knew Kersey was the killer. I think they even held a
ticker-tape parade for him and presented him with the key to the city. Then,
immediately after Kersey's beloved housekeeper was raped and killed, and his
daughter died after being raped yet again, another killing spree started. No,
I guess there's nothing really suspicious there. After all, the second series
of slayings occurred in L.A.
The Death Wish films have often been criticized for treating violence,
especially rape, as graphically sensational entertainment. I suppose there is
some truth to that. In portraying the rape scenes through the rapists' eyes,
the director invites us to share their anger and lust, and the camera dares
us to look away from the innocent naked flesh of the victims. Is that good
filmmaking or bad? I guess it depends on your point of view. The early Death
Wish films succeeded in getting audiences deeply involved. Perhaps they
achieved this success with blunt and lurid techniques, and perhaps one may
argue that to do so is both dishonest and artless, but one can not deny that
it worked. Why was it effective? Because the formula left us no room for
doubt, nuance or hesitation. There is no possible sympathy for Bronson's
victims, nor condemnation of his disrespect for the law. There are no shades
of gray. The one thing you will not see in the Death Wish movies is subtlety.
The baddies have no character development of any kind, and no signs of normal
human behavior. They are cartoon characters. They exist only to make us hate
them. They grunt maniacally and laugh while they rape innocent women; they
make demented faces and nasty comments while they mug fearful oldsters. When
we see them commit their crimes, we see every cruel detail, so that we can be
convinced that they have no mercy, no human compassion. To picture a typical
member of the Death Wish gangs, imagine Mickey Rourke playing Long John
Silver in modern dress. Got that picture? Not evil enough. Too subtle. And
way too classy.
The innocents, on the other hand, could not be more innocent. In this film
there's a sweet Mexican housekeeper who lives to make people smile and to
bring beauty of all kinds into her boss's home. And there's Charles Bronson's
daughter, who was raped in the first film, and is now a damaged woman,
perhaps 30 years old but permanently frozen in mute adolescent innocence,
smiling blissfully while she skips blithely and obliviously around in her
plaid schoolgirl skirt and her lily-white knee socks, clutching her glass
unicorn in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other. I'm not kidding about
any of that. She's like a Roman Polanski wet dream.
After acts committed by such evil men against such innocent women, how could
Bronson do anything else but hunt the perps down? And how could we have any
sympathy for them when he wastes them? By the time the revenge begins, our
attitudes have been manipulated and cultivated so bluntly that we have no
time to pause and consider the moral reservations that we might normally
attach to vigilante justice. We simply enjoy the brutality of his revenge.
The basic Bronson formula, i.e. the decent man taking an eye for an eye
against psychotic and degenerate rapists/killers, actually began two years
before Death Wish, in a film called Chato's Land, which was directed by
Michael Winner, the same man who directed the first three Death Wish films.
In that previous incarnation of Paul Kersey, Bronson played a frontier Indian
whose wife was brutalized by a bunch of demented former soldiers led by Jack
Palance. That film was a Western which took place after the Civil War, but
all of the Death Wish films are also really Westerns, aren't they? They just
happen to be thinly disguised in modern dress. They are urban westerns, ala
the Dirty Harry films.
The Bronson/Winner formula worked for a while, at least in the sense that it
was successful at the box office. (The numbers in parens below represent the
equivalent in 2010 dollars, as calculated from
- Death Wish $22m in 1974 ($90m)
- Death Wish II $16m in 1982 ($41m)
- Death Wish 3 $16m in 1985 ($34m)
- Death Wish 4 $6m in 1987 ($12m)
- Death Wish V $2m in 1992 ($4m)
The first one in the series was a hit. Number two was successful enough that
audiences still wanted to see number three. Unfortunately, number three betrayed
the premise by turning Bronson into a heavily armed professional killer rather
than a wronged husband and father. He set elaborate Rube Goldberg booby traps
and even fired a missile launcher at one point. At that point, the humble and
righteous architect had all but disappeared. That just about snuffed the series,
and Winner's departure from the franchise sealed the coffin. There was little
enthusiasm for the releases of #4 and #5, and they were such weak films that
there was no hope for word-of-mouth success. Death Wish 5 has the dishonor of
being Bronson's lowest rated film at IMDb, as well as the last theatrical film
he would make.
The quality of the Death Wish films sank just about in tempo with the box
office, as reflected in the IMDb ratings shown below:
- (7.00) - Death Wish
- (5.71) - Death Wish II
- (5.51) - Death Wish 3
- (4.64) - Death Wish 4: The
- (3.96) - Death Wish V: The
Face of Death (1994)