Saturday, May 10, 2008

DEATH WISH IV: THE CRACKDOWN : 5.0 out of 5 stars

Sid is about to give Death Wish 4 some high praise: B is for Bronson, March 3, 2008

We, Sid the Elf, are staying in the world of Death Wish for as long as we can. This week we took the wonderful ride that was Death Wish 4. The Death Wish series seems to get better as they go along. Its like chicks: 3 is better than 2 and 4 is better than 3. By the time Sid gets done watching 5 in a few weeks, he might wet himself from sheer amazement and amusement.

First, Sid would just like to get to know Bronson. If it's Sid he says "This guy's got it." The man made maybe THE defining guy movie of all-time: The Dirty Dozen, then he made the Death Wish Series which are just cinematic pieces of exquisite art. Now, Sid's sources tell him, the guy has his own island in the Caribbean. Sid can only imagine what goes on on that island. Probably a lot of strange, strange things because Bronson has got to be a weird dude in real life.

But, Bronson makes some of the finest B around. And Death Wish 4 is no exception to this theory. Sid just knew this movie had a ton of upside potential when a future 90210 cast member(Nicky, Brandon's cute, spunky freshman girlfriend from the gang's senior year) appeared as Bronson's woman's daughter who just happens to be a druggie in the first 10 minutes of this movie. Actually, Sid knew this movie had tremendous upside potential when the chick in the opening scene performed a magic act by looking up and making guys appear. So, we had potential and Death Wish 4 delivered. It had all of our favorite elements of B.

Take special note of these occurrences of extreme crappiness. First, when Bronson was in the black hitman's apartment, Bronson hit him with the barstool. Then the guy obviously jumps out of the window. But, there's a twist here: the window clearly breaks a full second before the guy gets there. That's the damn Rolls-Royce of b-ness is what it is. Then, in the shootout at the oilfield, Bronson shoots the guy whose head goes through the car window. Before Bronson shoots the guy, he has no facial hair, but by the time Bronson shoots him he has grown a full 80's/David Crosby mustache. That's amazing.

Oh yeah, the plot. It can really be summed up briefly. Bronson gets hired to take down two drug cartels by the head of another gang posing as a wealthy do-gooder. So Bronson takes down the drug rings by knocking off maybe 40 or 50 guys which is completely realistic, there definitely wouldn't be like 100 guys in each organization. Then Bronson had to take out the guy who posed as the rich guy. This was possibly the finest moment in the movie. Bronson shoots the guy with a grenade launcher from about 15 feet away. Watching the incredibly fake-looking dummy they used blow up was funny beyond belief. Yeah, there were even explosions in this movie. On top of that, you had the Bronson slow-motion punches that somehow knocked guys out for a good 15 minutes. This is a move that would later be perfected by the immortal Steven Segal. One of the guys Bronson takes out is a corrupt detective who's controlled by one of the drug rings. So, add that on to Bronson's problems. We still don't get this guy. By the fifth and final movie they should just have him walking around with a rain cloud floating over him while he wears a grim-reaper costume. Sid thinks, though, the thing that's the best...and the worst about this movie is the fact that it was different in the respect that when you're watching a movie you predict what's going to happen next in your head. Everyone does it. And usually, you're way off base, right? That's why you're not a screenwriter. But, not with Death Wish 4. Every time Sid made a prediction in this one it came true. Example: one half Sid said to the other half Sid "Watch the cop just let Bronson go." And...exactly.

There were a couple other b veterans in this flick. We were very happy to see Soon-Tek Oh, the guy who famously played the evil POW camp ruler, Col. Yin in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning/Braddock: Missing in Action III. And the guy who played the drug lord posing as the wealthy newspaper owner was John P. Ryan who played Gen. Taylor in Delta Force 2 - Operation Stranglehold. As you already know if you're wise enough to be reading one of Sid's reviews, those are two guys from Chuck Norris movies. So, that made Sid think, "Why didn't Norris and Bronson ever do a movie together?" Then the answer became clear. If they did, the weight of toughness, cheesy 80's mustaches, and bad acting would make the world collapse on itself.
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