Death Wish 2

release year: 1982
genre: drama
viewing setting: home Bluray 10/9/19 and home DVD, 3/24/09 and 2/8/04

synopsis: Paul Kersey's bad luck continues, as his life in L.A. is shattered by violent young criminals who must then be executed like rabid dogs.

impressions: A lot of people hate this sequel, but I claim it has some value. The brutal attack at the beginning aside (and to be honest, I fast-forwarded past it) there's plenty of good revenge violence here as Bronson quickly identified and then goes afer the guilty. In the first movie, all punks (or "creeps" as they were apparently called in this era) are made to be generic and equal; in this one, there are specific punks who messed with Bronson's loved ones, and he basically hunts down and exterminates them all. It's noteworthy that this movie marks the transformation of Bronson from mild-mannered architect who fought back...into methodical, calculating executioner. At the end, he even has to make a choice between fulfilling his mission and having a future with the woman he loves. He makes the choice, with predictable consequences (she leaves him, he takes care of business, and the foundation is laid for three more sequels.)

innocent death toll: 3
Bronson death toll: 11
death rate of those who sparked Bronson's rampage: 100% (5/5)

early appearance alert: Laurence Fishburne! Long before his days as a puffy-headed cyberprophet in the putrid Matrix trilogy, he was a murdering gang-rapist who got his just reward.

acting: See above for my notes on Bronson; his character actually gets deeper with this movie due to his knowing sacrifice/change. Jill Ireland is okay as his love interest, though her anti-violence ways were annoying. Vincent Gardenia is back as the N.Y. cop who comes to L.A. to try and help. A young bearded Charles Cyphers, veteran of many horrow and action movies, is a hospital attendant here.

final word: Not as original or meaningful as the first, but if you like to see murdering scum get blown away without remorse, you'll enjoy this.

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