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28.2.09

Death Wish V: The Face of Fear (1994)




Director: Allan A. Goldstein
Strarring: Charles Bronson, Lesley-Anne Downe, Michael Parks, Chuck Shamata, Miguel Sandoval
Rated R Running time: 95 minutes
Released by Trimark




People have to be absolutely nuts to associate in any capacity with architect/vigilante Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson). Over the course of four films, Kersey's wife, daughter, maids, about thirty of his friends, and about a dozen of his acquaintances have been shot, stabbed, raped, beaten, burned, and blown up. In the fifth and final entry in the Death Wish series, nothing has changed. This time, Kersey is happily engaged to fashion designer Olivia Regent (Lesley-Anne Downe). Regent's ex-hubbby is a sadistic mobster who starts trying to muscle in on Regent's business, and eventually has a cross-dressing assassin brutally bash his ex's face into a mirror. As you have already probably surmised, the cops handle the case in the most half-assed manner possible. When Olivia is finally gunnned down by a couple of mobsters disguised as cops, Kersey once again decides to take matters into his own hands . Since ol' Chuck was about 73 at the time of filming, his one-man-army schtick is a lot slower and creakier. He ends up using a poisoned canoli, a remote controlled exploding soccer ball, shrink wrap, and a vat of acid to waste the mobsters. In the film's best moment, Bronson puts a mannequin on a forklift to distract some guards. Amazingly, the mannequin manages to steer the forklift around the warehouse, until it crashes with a huge explosion.

It sounds great, but Death Wish 5 is ruined by a lifeless production. Bronson phones this one in, and doesn't bother to do much else expect squint and rattle off a few insipid one-liners. Director Allan A. Goldstein exhibits no style whatsoever, giving the film the flat and by-the-numbers look and feel of a second string TV production. The bright spot here, however, is Michael Parks (Kill Bill 1 & 2, From Dusk 'til Dawn) as maniacal gangster Tommy O'Shea. Parks hams it up to the next level, portraying the racist, violent, cocky, and vicious mob boss with demented glee. It's a shame he couldn't inspire Bronson to get motivated to deliver one last time. The Death Wish series came to an end with a whimper, rather than the bang it should have.

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