I watched the start of this film thirty years ago*, now I’ve finally seen the rest of it.
Obviously, the first Death Wish was enough of a success to warrant a sequel, so here we are- different city, same crime-run-rampant paranoia, more street law fantasising.
Run out of New York at the end of Death Wish, Paul Kersey now lives in Los Angeles. He’s designing the boring square headquarters for a local radio station and sleeping with one of their presenters. His daughter is even improving after the trauma she suffered in the first film. Things are looking good, until he tangles with a gang of muggers which includes evil Laurence Fishburne.
In a frightening development that Kersey doesn’t seem to have considered, the muggers can read, so they can find out where he lives from the contents of his wallet. They break in to his home to rape (and, later, kill) his housekeeper. Then they attack Kersey and kidnap his daughter, who jumps to her death before they can all abuse her.
Kersey is, of course, devastated by this- you can tell this by the couple of extra lines that appear on Bronson’s face for a few scenes. However, unlike the earlier film, there isn’t any soul searching to be done before he takes up his guns. All it takes is a minute or two of meaningful wood chopping and he’s getting the semi automatic out from its hiding place in the cupboard.
In the first film, Kersey never got the chance to settle the score with evil Jeff Goldblum and had to settle for shooting random muggers and scumbags instead. This time he gets a shot at closure as, unfortunately for evil Laurence Fishburne and his gang, he has seen their faces.
As is the way with sequels, the set pieces are bigger but have less of an impact. The detective from the first film returns, though it’s never clear just why he’s there and he ends up dead. With all his ties to his pre vigilante life severed I can’t wait to see what it is that sets Kersey off in Death Wish 3 and how crazy he gets.
*On a school trip to France, there were a few videos on the coach that the teachers played to keep a gang of thirteen year olds from getting restless. They let Death Wish 2 reach the first rape scene before they realised what we were watching and stopped it