The Curator of Schlock #5 by Jeffrey Shuster
Death Wish 2: Who’s To Blame?
Oh boy. I guess we have to talk about Death Wish 2 before we get to Death Wish 3. We know we’re in trouble as soon as we see producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus credits appear on the screen. Still, we retain Charles Bronson and director Michael Winner. We lose Herbie Hancock on the score, but gain Jimmie Page. What could possibly go wrong?
Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) has gotten his life together since the events of Death Wish 1. He’s got a new girlfriend, his daughter is being released from the mental hospital, and his maid makes some mean Mexican food. Unfortunately, Kersey decides to buy his girlfriend and daughter some ice cream which makes a gang of local thugs angry. They steal Kersey’s wallet, find his house from the address on his driver’s license, break into his house, repeatedly rape his maid, kidnap his daughter, and rape his daughter, who then decides to jump out of a warehouse window only to get impaled by a spiked fence.
So Kersey’s life has yet again gone to pieces because of a gang of street thugs. But unlike the first movie, Kersey got to see what these thugs looked like (one of whom looks an awful lot like a young Lawrence Fishburn). Kersey must have a photographic memory because he can remember what each of these thugs looks like down to last detail. It’s also a good thing that Los Angeles is a small town because I can’t imagine the trouble he’d have of running into each of these guys in a big city.
The first thug he runs into is named Stomper because he likes to stomp people and deal drugs in rat infested basements. When Kersey finds Stomper, he asks, “Do you believe in Jesus?” Stomper replies “Yes, I do.” Kersey replies back “Well you’re gonna meet him.” before shooting Stomper in the chest. As the bullet pasts through him, Stomper violently shakes and convulses before hitting the ground. No doubt he’ll be a midnight snack for the rats crawling all over him. One down, four more to go.
Next up is Jiver. Kersey finds him when he hears a woman scream out of a dark alley. This scream leads him to a parking garage where Jiver and a bunch of other dudes are harassing a middle aged couple. The gang is about to rape the middle aged man’s wife when Kersey starts shooting at them. This proves effective since most of them die. Jiver is wounded and slinks away to an abandoned warehouse, but this allows Kersey to savor the kill, stare right into Jiver’s eyes and tell him “Goodbye” before pulling the trigger. Two down, three to go.
The final three gang members are easy enough to find because their doing some dippity do dance to Jimmy Page’s “Oh Mama” in the middle of a public park. They deserve to die for the dancing alone. Anyway, Kersey simply follows them around town, getting on each bus they get on. They don’t recognize Kersey because he’s wearing a winter hat in the middle of summer. Kersey catches the three of them on a weapons deal. Cutter(Lawrence Fishburne) thinks he can protect himself by holding a boombox in front of face. It doesn’t work. Apparently, Kersey’s bullets can go right through boomboxes and hit you in the face. Kersey pumps Punkcut’s guts full of lead giving Punkcut a slow and agonizing death. Don’t worry. Punkcut dies before he can tell the police anything useful. But the final thug, Nirvana, manages to escape. Four down, one more to go.
Kersey must be feeling pretty good about life at this moment. He asks his girlfriend to marry him and she suggests they get “smashed” in Mexico. Unfortunately, Kersey still has Nirvana to deal with. Nirvana is one big dude. The LAPD manage to catch this guy, but not before he beats up a couple dozen police officers. Nirvana gets his day in court. The judge sends Nirvana to the Wayward Youths Temporarily Insane Asylum where he’s sure to released in a couple of months.
Kersey decides to dress up as a doctor, faking an ID and everything so he can slip in and take care of Nirvana. However, when he reaches Nirvana, Nirvana starts wailing on him. Apparently, thugs are much harder to kill when you don’t have a gun. No worries. Nirvana manages to get his hand stuck in some high voltage electric machinery and Kersey flips a switch labeled Danger Power Supply. Nirvana gets juiced with electricity like those hot dogs Mr. Wizard used to electrocute on Mr. Wizard’s World. Don’t fool around with electricity, kids! You might get cooked like poor Nirvana.
You’d think Paul Kersey would have a happy ending after all of this, but his fiancé finds one his fake doctor IDs, realizes he’s the vigilant killer, and decides to leave him. This is a problem because it leaves Paul Kersey without any loved ones left for street thugs to kill. If only he had an old Korean War buddy named Charlie who lived in New York City and who is constantly being harassed by gang members for protection money. Oh well.
10 Things I Learned From Death Wish 2
- Winter hats are still sylish in the summertime.
- Don’t buy ice cream in Los Angeles.
- If you want a cool nickname, become a street thug.
- Don’t dance to Jimmy Page’s solo music.
- Lawrence Fishburne has bad taste in sunglasses.
- Don’t leave fake doctor IDs lying around for your fiancé to find.
- Boom boxes don’t deflect bullets.
- Only bad people listen to Jimmy Page’s solo music.
- Electrocuted hot dogs aren’t half bad.
- Mr. Wizard still creeps me out a little.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.