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Death Wish IV: The Crackdown - 1987

Death Wish IV: The Crackdown - 1987

I’ll be honest upfront, I haven’t seen any of the previous three installments, but I get the gist of them. Charles Bronson loses his wife in the first one, becomes a vigilante and kills a lot of people. Bronson loses his daughter and housekeeper in the second one, becomes once again a vigilante and kills a lot of people. Bronson loses his friend from the war in the third one, becomes a vigilante and kills a lot of people. So, you may be thinking to yourself, how can they possibly continue this trend of originality in the fourth installment? Well, this time around his NEW wife AND step-daughter get killed and he becomes a vigilante and kills a lot of people. I know… How do they do this? Magic. The answer is magic.

Let’s push forward for the sake of time. His step-daughter dies from an overdose. He kills the drug dealer. Four movies in, two daughters, two wives and a few friends later I can only say, maybe Bronson should stay in the architecture business. He’s not so good at saving people. Apparently, I’m the only one who thinks this because he is recruited by a millionaire that doesn’t dare to become Batman, or Iron-Man, or Green Arrow, or Moon Knight (a lot of rich superheroes) and hires Bronson to be once again be Mr. Vigilante. Yeah, that’s his name in the franchise. If you weren’t scared by his gun, you will be scared by his name. Mr. Vigilante. Quick note, Bronson is 66 years old in this movie and the actress that plays his wife is 34 years old. Bronson is a timeless meat slab.

Mr. Vigilante gets a hit list from the lazy millionaire guy and things get rolling. The hit list is composed of mafia heads and his first stop is at the big bad guy’s birthday bash. It has a weird mix of MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen and Scarface with a cake of a naked stripper on it. Wait… is that Danny Trejo aka Machete? Has he ever not had a mustache? I bet if you look up his Kindergarten picture you will mistake him for the teacher. Either way, he plays one of the henchmen of the top honcho. Sadly, Trejo doesn’t last long as he is blown up by Mr. Vigilante. I know I have said this before in the past but this must be the most realistic stunt ever put to film. Trejo and an actor sit there completely still, as if they were mannequins, and they are blown up. To the untrained eye, it looks like mannequins, but that’s just a credit to Trejo’s method acting. Enjoy below.

Second on his hit list is a man who you might be surprised to know possesses a smooth baritone voice. How do I know this, despite him not singing even once? Well, millionaire-guy does a voice over introduction of all the pictures Mr. Vigilante looks at before going on his missions. I guess he didn’t want Bronson to fall in love with his voice.

Alright you may be thinking to yourself by this point. Why watch Bronson when you can watch Norris? Well let me tell you, “guy”, Bronson is not only a handgun man. This time around he goes hand to hand combat with the singing baddie in one of the most brutally slow fights I have ever seen. Not since Wonder Woman’s slow-motion action scenes have I seen a punch so slow. Bronson picks up a stool and hits the bad guy so hard that he breaks the sliding door window and he goes over the balcony. Once again, the stunt work during this sequence is breath taking. Jackie Chan, WHO?

Next up: the drug lab. Bronson this time around decides he isn’t playing by the rules anymore. He installed the Gameshark-cheat codes for unlimited ammo as he shoots up an entire drug lab with just one Uzi. But it looks like he didn’t enter the code correctly as he eventually runs out of bullets and is surrounded by bad guys. He escapes beautifully and I can’t do it justice so please enjoy below.

Quick hits for the sake of brevity: Mr. Vigilante manages to kill the remaining mafia goons and gets betrayed by the millionaire-guy. Why would you betray the man that single handedly took down two mafia organizations? Oh, I forgot, turns out he isn’t a millionaire he was just posing as one. What. A. Twist. M. Night Shyamalan must be killing himself for not writing this good of a twist.

Oh, hey, did you forget about his wife? I sure did. Well, that is until it needed a reason to motivate Bronson. The artist formally known as millionaire-guy decides that kidnaping the wife of the man that killed half of LA over his step-daughter was a good idea. I wouldn’t even cut in line in front of him at Starbucks (not a sponsor). Who am I kidding… a man like Bronson probably makes his own coffee. Roasts the beans by just staring at them. Grinds them with his teeth and heats up the French press with his own hands. I bet that coffee makes you go to the bathroom within seconds of drinking it and you stay awake till you die. Bronson Coffee, get some. Oh, yeah, the movie.

I ask you, my faithful reader. Where do you think this violent rollercoaster ride ends? If you guessed a roller-rink, you’re a wizard, Harry. The bad guy kills his wife and he doesn’t even go over to hug her after he kills him in retaliation. Can you say badass? Oh yeah, he kills him with a direct hit from a grenade-launcher. I don’t think that bad guy is making a comeback for Death Wish V. Easy to say that a 66-year-old killing machine, aka Charles Bronson, is why I love movies.

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