The Movie Waffler Film Maudit 2.0 2021 Review - DEATH WISH REVISION | The Movie Waffler

Film Maudit 2.0 2021 Review - DEATH WISH REVISION

death wish revision review
Footage from over 250 films is assembled to tell the saga of vigilante Paul Kersey.

Review by Eric Hillis

Assembled by: Jorge Torres-Torres

death wish revision poster
The Death Wish franchise tells the story of Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), a mild-mannered architect who turns gun-slinging vigilante following the murder of his wife in the crime-ravaged New York City of the 1970s. Like any series, the quality and tone varies between instalments. The first movie is a relatively grounded and gritty piece of '70s genre cinema. 1982's Death Wish II, which relocates the action to sunny Los Angeles, amps up the sleaze factor, owing much to the slasher craze of the era, and it's one of the scuzziest films to ever come out of mainstream Hollywood. 1985's Death Wish III is a time capsule of '80s action movie excess, with Kersey taking on a literal army of thugs in an almost post-apocalyptic vision of NYC. Michael Winner departed the director's chair for the fourth and fifth instalments - 1987's Death Wish 4: The Crackdown and 1994's Death Wish 5: The Face of Death, whose limited budgets and TV movie aesthetics reflect the action genre's retreat to straight to video in the '90s.

death wish revision review

Is the series worth a watch? Well, the first three movies all have something to offer if you can tune into their disparate wavelengths. If you don't feel like wading through all five movies, or if you're already familiar with the series and fancy seeing a new take on the Kersey saga, editor Jorge Torres Torres has you covered.

As he previously did with the Evil Dead, Phantasm and Friday the 13th franchises, Torres Torres has taken the Death Wish movies and constructed a glorified fan edit that tells the Kersey story in 76 minutes. But it's not just the Death Wish movies that Torres Torres pulls from here. Footage, soundtrack cues and dialogue snippets have been taken from over 250 movies to create Death Wish Revision.

death wish revision review

While sticking largely to the Kersey story as originally told, Torres Torres fleshes out this cinematic world by creating a living society around Kersey's misadventures. For example, when Kersey chases muggers into the New York subway, Torres Torres adds footage from The Warriors and The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three to make it seem like Kersey's actions are but part of some greater madness afflicting the Big Apple. When Kersey visits his daughter in a sanitarium, the cast of Exorcist III and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest become background extras, and even the nuns of Sister Act make an appearance.

Much like the franchise it draws from, Death Wish Revision veers wildly between opposing tones. Much of it is silly, with gags rehashed from the likes of The Naked Gun, while at times it's sublimely moving, like when Kersey listens to a young man serenading his lover on the street outside courtesy of footage from West Side Story. It's at its most effective and convincing when it's blending Death Wish footage with that of similar genre movies, especially those of the gritty New York variety.

death wish revision review

As with the Death Wish franchise itself, Torres Torres struggles to keep things interesting once he hits the fourth and fifth instalments, and the last 20 minutes of Death Wish Revision are something of a drag.

This certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're a fan of '70s and '80s American genre cinema (and who isn't?), Torres Torres' hard work in putting all this together will provide enough to keep you amused by its warm nostalgic glow. I'm not sure what the legal ramifications might be for his use of so much footage, but studio heads should be grateful for the attention Death Wish Revision draws to their back catalogues.

Death Wish Revision screens as part of Film Maudit 2.0 2021 from January 12th - 24th. Click here for details. 

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