×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Death Wish V: The Face of Death

It's been 20 years since pacifist-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey blasted his way through the first "Death Wish" melodrama, and "Death Wish V: The Face of Death" finds both the character and the franchise looking mighty tired. Charles Bronson returns once again as the impassive avenger, but even that won't be enough to keep pic in theaters long. Vid and pay TV prospects are marginally brighter.

With:
Paul Kersey ... Charles Bronson Olivia Regent ... Lesley-Anne Down Tommy O'Shea ... Michael Parks Tony Hoyle ... Saul Rubinek Lt. Mickey King ... Kenneth Welsh

It’s been 20 years since pacifist-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey blasted his way through the first “Death Wish” melodrama, and “Death Wish V: The Face of Death” finds both the character and the franchise looking mighty tired. Charles Bronson returns once again as the impassive avenger, but even that won’t be enough to keep pic in theaters long. Vid and pay TV prospects are marginally brighter.

By this point in his career, Bronson — still fit and fearsome at 72 — could play Kersey in his sleep. Indeed, there are one or two scenes here where he appears to be doing just that. And who can blame him? Canadian filmmaker Allan A. Goldstein (“The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick”) may be new to the “Death Wish” series, but he’s provided little that’s new in the way of revivifying plot innovations.

Once again, Bronson is trying to live a reasonably nonviolent life, having promised D.A. Saul Rubinek and police detective Kenneth Walsh that he’s hung up his guns for good. Once again, he has found the love of a good woman — in this case, fashion designer Lesley-Anne Down — and hopes to make a permanent commitment.

And, once again, Bronson’s lady love meets a sudden and violent end shortly after he makes his tender feelings known to her.

The only difference this time is, instead of muggers, street gangs or drug dealers, the villains are slightly more upscale creeps. Down is killed by the goons of her ex-husband (Michael Parks), a smooth-talking mobster who’s bent on taking over the Manhattan garment district. The police, as usual, can’t prove anything. Worse, they can do nothing when the mobster reclaims his late ex-wife’s young daughter.

That’s when Bronson gets the old revolver out of the wall safe.

As “Death Wish” pix go, this one — set in New York but filmed mostly in Toronto — has a surprisingly small body count. Action fans likely will be disappointed to see Bronson kill only six bad guys. Granted, he tortures information out of a seventh by wrapping up the guy with clinging plastic. But somebody else delivers the coup de grace.

Slackly paced and unexciting, “Death Wish V” comes off as a flat-footed, by-the-numbers programmer that, judging from what’s onscreen, failed to spark much enthusiasm among the people who made it. Except for Parks, who livens up his scenes with some juicy hamminess, supporting players simply go through the motions and pick up their paychecks. Tech credits are adequate.

Maybe they should have called it “Death Warmed Over: The Bottom of the Barrel” instead.

PALM SPRINGS

Death Wish V: The Face of Death

Production: A Trimark Pictures release of a 21st Century Film Corp. production. Produced by Damian Lee. Executive producers, Menahem Golan, Ami Artzi. Associate producer , Helder Goncalves. Directed, written by Allan A. Goldstein, based on characters created by Brian Garfield.

Crew: Camera (color), Curtis Petersen; editor, Patrick Rand; music, Terry Plumeri; production design, Csaba A. Kertesz; sound (Ultra Stereo), Valentin Pricop; casting, Kathy A. Smith, Anne Tait; executive in charge of production, Yael Golan. Reviewed at Cineplex-Odeon Spectrum Cinema, Houston, Jan. 13, 1994. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Paul Kersey ... Charles Bronson Olivia Regent ... Lesley-Anne Down Tommy O'Shea ... Michael Parks Tony Hoyle ... Saul Rubinek Lt. Mickey King ... Kenneth Welsh

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content