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Review: DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH (1994)

by Meredith Grau
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Best Bad Quote:
(Menacingly) “I don’t need anything. But YOU. You need a bath.”
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We’ve arrived at the Last Testament of Kersey, because God is one helluva cut-up. But don’t worry, this final episode totally shakes up the game! Not in terms of plot, of course. All of that is the same. But this time, THIS TIME, Paul hooks up with a brunette! So, yeah: expect the unexpected. (Like a total lack of direction, piss poor dialogue, and a high schooler’s science experiment serving as the SpFX). Everything is working against Kersey this time, and the result pisses on his legacy, unless you choose to view this as a totally separate entity: an excellent family comedy about 7 years bad luck on the set of Project Runway– with a very devilish Tim Gunn.
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“Plot”– While he hasn’t given up on love, Kersey (Chuck Bronson) has finally accepted that bombshells cannot and will not have more fun in his presence, so he’s taken up with brownie Olivia (Lesley-Anne Down) and her daughter Chelsea (Erica Fairfield). Well, no dice, because for dramatic impact, the brunette naturally has to die too, which she does most harshly– probably as punishment for f*cking with the formula. (I’m awaiting the comeback chapter when Paul makes one last play for a life of happiness with a red head. (Death Wish VI: Resurrection? Bronson can come back, maybe in the body of a doll, and do some serious, vengeful damage. Wait… This feels familiar…).
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Anywho, we’re only at part 5 where, thanks to Olivia’s career in featherweight S&M fashion, Kersey gets to sit front row at runway shows and gaze at “sexy” models from the days when real women had curves. Speaking of curves, there’s a fox in this hen house: Olivia’s ex Tommy O’Shea (Michael Parks aka Tarantino’s favorite). He’s baaaaad news– a chauvinist, a psychopath, and… and… bewitchingly the most charming sadist this side of the Suwannee River!
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O’Shea wants his wife and daughter back, because, you know, he-man power plays and possessiveness and stuff. Whatever. This sets the stage brilliantly for him and Kersey to cross swords, which is what we all really want to see anyway. It’s a hard one (haha) to call. On the one hand, Kersey is the flesh and blood hero of our times. A contemporary Braveheart! On the other, O’Shea is unarguably the best villain in the whole series and the only reason the film is half-way palatable. Parks is truly commendable for his ability to turn the most absurd lines into maniacal poetry. I was conflicted in my allegiance. So, I made a sandwich. (Wh-ink)!
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Unfortunately, Park’s prowess does not make up for his gluttonous, Guido-Goombah sidekicks, his dandruff-coated goon #truestory, or the viewer’s forced subjection to an early and unnecessary twerk exhibition. At least there are boobs, right guys? What’s worse is, while Kersey’s methods of killing are still very… creative, they are equally stupid. Take for example his use of an electronic soccer ball. Because round things need help… rolling… Sadly, O’Shea is much better at homicide, including the Julia Childs moment wherein he carves up a fat man like a Honeybaked ham. Of course, even his menace is muted by the fact that his motive seems to be nothing more than the desire to launch his own lingerie line: Chainmail. (The “Ch-” is soft).
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This movie will confuse and disturb fans of the original installment, but if you want to witness Bronson’s adorable, old man belly jiggle as his jogs or witness the evilest drag queen since Divine delivering hard core messages to the face, you will have a preeeetty good time watching this film. Well, not “pretty.” A kinda, sorta, ambiguous and homely good time. With boiling plastic. And dreams.
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Review: 
2 out of 5 (Xtra) Special Defects
Death_Wish_5_exploding_soccer_ball Death_Wish_5_exploding_soccer_ball
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