Review: DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN (1987) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 31 January 2012



Over-the-top lunacy continues in the wildly exploitative DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN. It's still formulaic and preposterous, but in term of guilty-pleasure entertainment, this fourth installment wins as one of the most outrageously entertaining action movies ever made back in the 1980s.

Charles Bronson reprises his role as Paul Kersey, who is now back in Los Angeles and dating beautiful reporter Karen Sheldon (Kay Lenz). Likewise, things is going well for Paul until he finds out that Karen's daughter, Erica (Dana Barron) is died of drugs overdose. Not long after, Paul finds himself back into the one-man vigilante crusade again as he gets hired by a wealthy publisher Nathan White (John P. Ryan) who shares the same fate like Paul does, to wipe out the drug trade currently mushrooming in Los Angeles. Paul is soon learns that there are particularly 2 major drug gangs lording over by Ed Zacharias (Perry Lopez) and another one are brothers Jack and Tony Romero (Mike Moroff, Dan Ferro). With enough information and weapons supplied by Nathan, he goes on a mission to bring down the two gang at all cost. But little he does know that there is a hidden agenda behind all the madness.

From killing muggers, thugs and street gangs, it's wildly unbelievable to see Bronson's Paul Kersey has now "graduated" into a professional vigilante that carries the same action persona like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger (read: one-man killing machine), who is in charge to kill two drug gangs. Replacing original director Michael Winner (who made the first three DEATH WISH series) is J. Lee Thompson, who continues tweaking the formula with more implausible manner. While his direction is equally fast-paced, everything else are just plain routine. Even Gail Morgan Hickman's screenplay is haphazardly written with lots of cheesy, if strangely entertaining one-liners. The action is unsurprisingly over-the-top, and even laughable (particularly in the climactic finale where a character gets blown off into pieces by a grenade launcher).

Strictly for die-hard fans.

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