Death Wish II (1982): Breakdown by Rutledal
Like Death Wish, but with more action. And rape.
This sequel to Charles Bronson’s signature movie, Death Wish, brings Bronson, Winner and pretty much no one else back in action for another vigilantastic adventure. Since the last movie, 80s low budget action movie factory # 1, The Cannon Group, has taken over the production duties. Meaning that this will be quite a different animal than the movie it follows. Cannon big shot Menahem Golan wanted to direct the movie himself, but Bronson refused to work with anyone but Michael Winner. This might have been just as well, considering Golan’s biggest directional merits include Over the Top and Enter the Ninja. Not exactly the same style of films.
Since we last saw him at a Chicago airport, Paul Kersey has moved to L.A. with his daughter and has acquired a new girlfriend. But, as we all know, lightning strikes twice. And by lightning, I of course mean rape. Michael Winner sure has a thing for brutal rape scenes; they are to him what explosions are to Michael Bay. This time he gives us what might just be the most disturbing rape scene I have ever seen. At least I can’t think of any other scene that… oh no… Irreversible flashback. Oh God, make it stop! Please, make it stop…
Sorry about that, I had to sit in the shower and cry for a couple of hours. But let’s finish this breakdown.
So one day Kersey ends up rubbing a gang (featuring a pre-Morpheus Laurence “Larry” Fishburne!) the wrong way. Rubbing them in the guts with his fist that is. Since street gangs only know how to do one thing, they decide to get back at him by raping and killing his maid and daughter. Pretty much like the first movie, except this time it’s personal because Kersey knows exactly who did it. Also, instead of a “becoming a vigilante” story like the first movie had, this time we get a romance subplot.
The gritty feel of the original is gone and gets replaced with a cheesier 80s action movie feeling. One of the few things that are as good, if not improved, from the first one is the score. This time Kersey goes hunting to the guitar riffs of none other than Jimmy fucking Page of Led Zeppelin and it’s pretty awesome. Death Wish II is probably my least favorite entry in the Death Wish series, Part V excluded. It’s just the first movie all over again except not as good.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Charles Bronson is back as Paul Kersey
Not much has changed since we last met Paul Kersey. He is still trying to juggle a normal life with his nightly activities as a vigilante. Another thing that hasn’t changed about Kersey is his attitude towards the police. And it’s a good thing, too, because when his daughter is raped and murdered he doesn’t think twice about taking the law into his own hands. Kersey is also so manly that instead of crying over his daughters death he simply chops wood over it. In front of gorgeous scenery.
[THE BODY COUNT: 14 + 1 UNCONFIRMED]
It all starts of with Kersey’s maid and daughter being treated to some rape and murder. Bronson follows up by adding another 10 corpses to his dead bad guys collection, with the rest dying at the hands of the gang of rapists and another by a cop. The unconfirmed is a cop who gets stabbed once, but his fate is never revealed. Once again it’s mostly about handguns when it comes to the killings, but the blood is upped this time which means more violent deaths.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
The leader on the gang of rapists, Nirvana, gets his hand stuck in an electroshock therapy device. Bronson doesn’t think twice about turning it on and electrocuting his rapist ass to death. It’s funny, it’s awesome, it’s Death Wish.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
With good old asexual Bronson at the helm and more tits per frame than a porno, this movie is straighter than…um, something that’s really straight.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
As previously stated, the movie is littered with gratuitous breast shots and brutal rape scenes. The movie does, however, contain an entire female character that neither gets raped nor killed, a rare sight in the Death Wish series and it will not be featured again until the final entry.
She gets sidelined for most of the movie because she isn’t important to the plot, but this isn’t such bad thing since she is played by the always annoying Jill Ireland. Still, I’m really starting to think that Michael Winner hates women in general.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
I have to go with Nirvana’s escape from the police, or rather, his attempt to do so. He is outnumbered and surrounded by cops, but puts up one hell of fight. He knocks down and beats up 5 or 6 cops before they manage to subdue him. Thus he proves himself to be a worthy opponent for Paul Kersey.
Kersey spots a crucifix around the neck of one of the rapists and delivers what might just be the most classic line from any Death Wish movie.
Kersey: “You believe in Jesus?”
Punk: “Yes, I do.”
Kersey: “Well, you’re gonna meet him.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
If it worked the first time do it again, just add more rape.
[THE CHECKLIST: 10 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[ ] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season [Christmas]
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Death Wish 3]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
The 8th Wonder of the World: Jon Lovitz wedding picture painted on a wall.