Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

06 January 2008

Death Wish II, dir. Michael Winner (1982)

NIKKI says:
So much death today. I'm voting for all comedies next. We'll be watching a fair few movies this week, I predict, as I'm on holidays. Yay. Usually, it's squeeze a movie in before Nikki nods off! Now, we've got all day and all night. Three comedies tomorrow? Let's hope so.

Oooh. So, Death Wish II -- where to begin with the monster failure this turned out to be? The first movie (which we watched a few weeks back) ended with Paul Kersey headed to Chicago with a new job and a new life. The final moments of that movie inform us in no uncertain terms, that Paul will forever take a stand against the perpetrators of senseless crime. This movie, however, starts with Paul living and working in Los Angeles. He has a new girlfriend and his daughter is with him, still catatonic, but making progress. It appears he's no longer patrolling the streets, looking for bad guys to wipe out. He's a comfortable family man with a soon-to-be new wife. UNTIL ... get this ... baddies come into his home, rape his housekeeper and steal his daughter, who they then rape, who then runs out a high window and dies via fence spikes through the stomach (like the guy in The Condemned, only this time it wasn't funny).

So, what else can Paul do but pick up his weapons and head out again, avenging? This time, though, it's not random criminals he attacks (as in the first movie -- fighting the issue at large, rather than individual perpetrators), but the specific attackers. How he finds them night in and night out on the bustling LA streets (and always mid-crime) is one of this film's many problems. The biggest problem is that duplicate opening. Paul must be one unlucky fella that such an horrendous crime can happen to him practically beat for beat twice on two separate sides of the country. I can't understand why the writers thought Paul needed further reason to take out his frustrations on criminals than the murder of his wife and the mental disabling of his daughter. Now we have to kill the daughter to get Paul avenging again?

It was just cruel, and, really, altered Paul's motivation. As stated in Death Sentence the book (and sequel to Death Wish the book), Paul is about taking the law into his own hands, fighting the disease of crime itself. Individual perpetrators and their individual crimes and motives are not priorities to Paul. In the book, he is so caught up in his need to get rid of Chicago's bad elements that he starts forcing crimes to occur, getting his wallet out and counting his cash in bad neighbourhoods, for instance, all but exploiting the very social issues and concerns that apparently cause crime in the first place.

Movie Paul just takes his revenge on the people that raped and killed his daughter and housekeeper removing all Garfield's social commentary which makes Paul so compelling in the first place. I'm so annoyed at this film, I'm finding it hard to give it any stars at all.


STEVE says:
Three words: Waste Of Time. This movie tries to tell the story of Paul Kersey after Death Wish, but only manages to serve a re-hashed, dumbed-down version that film, while offering nothing new in the bargain.

The less said about this one, the better, actually. William Goldman said, "Sequels are whore's movies." And Death Wish II stands to prove it.


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