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Death Wish Reviews

Brutal, traumatizing film has Bronson as a NYC architect whose wife and married daughter are raped by three drug-crazed thugs who force their way into Bronson's apartment. The wife is left dead and the daughter in a permanent coma. Bronson, seething with hatred, takes his revenge by turning vigilante, seeking out and slaughtering would-be muggers and thieves, until he himself is wounded. Police catch on and put him under surveillance, but he is too smart for them--until snooping veteran detective Gardenia takes up his bloody trail. The detective offers Bronson only one option: get out of town permanently. He does, going to Chicago, where it is obvious that he will take up the same crusade. Stoical Bronson plods through his role, mumbling his lines, and Gardenia out-acts him in every scene (about as difficult as out-acting a fireplug). Wallace, one of the most brilliant actors today (his roles to date don't do his talents justice), appears briefly as Gardenia's detective aide. The violence is excessive and the plot predictable, although there is some style to director Winner's approach. To his credit, author Garfield opposed the pell-mell violence and the bloody vigilante philosophy of the film and even pleaded with CBS not to air it on prime time, when young viewers might be influenced. Asked by the press whether the film was exploiting fear irresponsibly, Bronson arrogantly replied, "We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow."