Death Wish (1974/Blu-ray/Paramount) Review

Death Wish is the revenge film that really got me into revenge films. Of course when I was younger I watched films like "Mad Max". Most of the time it goes from someone having something bad happen in their life and then they go pretty quickly to getting vengeance. In the case of "Death Wish" it takes about half of the film to reach the point of getting revenge. I really like that because you get to see the transition from your everyday mild mannered person to someone who will fight back against the scum that surrounds him. On with this autopsy!

Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is your typical mild-mannered husband/father who loves his life and his family, Things change drastically after his home is invaded, his wife ends up dead, and his daughter is deeply traumatized after the attack. He quickly has a change of heart about being a pacifist to the violence that surrounds him and decides to take on the scum that has infected his city and neighborhood. 
This is by far one of my favorite  revenge films of all time. One of the best things about this film is the awesome performance by Charles Bronson. He makes the character more believable and realistic, instead of making him a more over the top vigilante like say Mad Max. Being a father and husband I can relate to his character and feel what he is going through, granted I have never been in that situation but I would probably end up doing the same as he did and want to take vengeance out on those who are guilty of the crime.  Now his transition is not easy and actually the first time he ends up killing a guy trying to stick him up he actually get physically shaken and ill. It has an impact on him, but soon enough he becomes desensitized to what he is doing and goes on a streak of luring crooks to him and then he attacks. He is very much a vigilante and anti-hero like my favorite comic book character The Punisher.
Now I know it takes much more than a great performance to make a film what it is. The man at the helm of this film was none other than Michael Winner who also went on to direct two of the sequels as well another great Bronson film "The Mechanic". I think he did a great job with the pacing of the film, it didn't move too fast, but it didn't move overly slow. Also he captured the gritty look and feel of New York City in the 70's as well as the beautiful scenery of the desert. One thing I want to point out is that I really liked that they kept Paul Kersey a man of few words because it helped to keep his character grounded and believable. 
This is a very well crafted film and it truly does deserve the respect that it gets. Keep in mind that this film can be quite ruff at times and disturbing to some people. It's certainly not the most vicious revenge film that I have seen before, but it is damn good and hits the viewer hard. The presentation on this release looks great, the grain is still intact and the film is clear of damage. The colors seem right as well, which most of the film is either dark or has more earth tone colors. When someone is shot the blood is very bright and sticks out alot, kinda looks like red paint. Now the downside to this release is the special features which only include the theatrical trailer. I guess for it being the 40th anniversary of this film I expected more out of the special features. Nonetheless if you are a fan of this film I suggest you pick this release up because the presentation is damn good.

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Michael Winner
Lead Actor/Actress: Charles Bronson
Genre: Thriller/Action/Drama
Blu-ray Release Year: 2014
Theatrical Release Year: 1974
Time Length: 93 mins.
Rating: R
Region Code: Region 1
Release Company: Paramount/Warner Bros.
Website: www.warnervideo.com