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YMMV / Death Wish

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The movies:

  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Development of this film was turned-down by other Hollywood movie studios due to its contentious, controversial and sensitive subject matter involving vigilantism, pack-rape, and crime.
  • Ass Pull: Ochoa’s decision to let Kersey go at the end of the first film really came out of nowhere. At no point does he sympathize with the vigilante killings, and was quite persistent in tracking Kersey down.
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  • Awesome Music: The soundtracks for 2 and 3. It is to be expected when you have Jimmy Page being the composer.
  • Catharsis Factor: Admit it, you cheered whenever the muggers got gunned down.
  • Critical Dissonance: Save for the first film, the series on the whole was largely trounced by critics. But action fans enjoyed them, and their support allowed the franchise to last well into The '90s.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Death of Carol, for some given how cruel and unfair it felt (even for this series) and wasn't necessary to set Paul off again.
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  • First Installment Wins: From a critical and filmmaking point of view, the first Death Wish was the best received film of the series. The rest of the sequels fell under a bad case of Sequelitis; they still have their fans, but usually for their So Bad, It's Good nature.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The movies are very popular in Mexico, to the point that the Spanish title of the movie, El Vengador Anonimo (The Anonymous Avenger) is synonymous of a cop who fights crime outside the law.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The killers in the first film targeting Kersey' s wife and daughter after spotting them in the grocery store and following them home. Thirty-three years later, this is exactly how the horrific rape and murder of Dr. William Petit's wife and daughters began.
    • About ten years after the movie came out, Bernie Goetz would gun down four muggers in the New York subway in a similar manner to what Paul Kersey does.
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  • Iron Woobie: The only woman who survived being related to Paul Kersey is the one who abandoned him. Being a friend of Paul is no guarantee of survival, either. But Paul Kersey only grieves for a short while... and then gets even. With interests.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The three unnamed thugs from the first movie rape Kersey's wife and daughter, killing the former.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Good God, the rape scene.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The final mugger at the park, who injures Paul and is confronted by him in a western manner after a chase, Before surviving due to luck.
    • The uncredited man at the police station wanting information about his stolen dog, which he claims is a "vital source of income" due to painting with its paws.
    • Alma Lee Brown and Andrew McCabe, the citizens being interviewed who cite Paul's actions as inspiring are both pretty memorable.
    • Joanna and Carol's three sadistic attackers, one played by a young Jeff Goldblum in his film debut.
    • The pragmatic District Attorney who doesn't want to make a martyr out of the vigilante.
    • For some, the patrolman who finds Paul's gun and who seems to have a grasp about the complicated feeling about the vigilante case, played by Christopher Guest.
  • Retroactive Recognition: In the original film:
  • Sequelitis: The film started as a grounded, down-to-earth crime drama where Paul Kersey brought about a cynical analysis of the attitudes of Americans regarding the crime waves of the 1970s, and stood out as unique in the action genre at the time. Its four sequels however became progressively less grounded in reality and increasingly over the top, with Kersey resorting to excessive means in dispatching one typical action movie villain after another and dropping the social commentary that magnified the first film's impact.
  • The Woobie: Kersey's poor daughter just could not catch a break, and it's painfully obvious how scarred she is by it....
    • Erica and Olivia as well, given that both also end up dead after a lot of trauma (losing a child, and being subjected to Facial Horror in an earlier attack respectively).


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