Death Wish: A respectable architect becomes a crime-slaying vigilante after his family are assaulted by street punks. For a film this dark and serious, the acting is nothing short of comedy. Championed by the daughter, who looks like she’s winding up a pantomime audience. Everyone else involved – up to Bronson himself – doesn’t really aim much higher; unfortunately the wife’s short-spiel is the best in the movie. Given the atrocious crimes committed, the first group of antagonists (Hi Goldblum!) also feel like parody/goofy stereotypes. Still, the main scene of violence is brutal, graphic and unsettling – like a punch to the gut, which doesn’t happen to me very often. Hard to miss the overall critique of violence, and considering how much more this has to say than the average crime b-movie; just a shame that it falls down due to the poorly-drawn characters and bad acting. I don’t say this about many ‘classic’ movies, but Death Wish would greatly benefit from a modern, more serious, re-telling.
Westworld: a luxury adult amusement park where holiday makers can relive the lawless Wild West for a thousand dollars a night; nothing can go wrong, and you can kill or get off with as many robots as you can! The concept is made more believable as it’s backed up with dozens of one-liners that explain the robots, the park, and answer the obvious “how does that work” questions. The three mains are all good, but Yul Brynner’s evil robot gunslinger stands out as being absolutely chilling: his mannerisms (particularly the slow, but efficient, walk) are unsettling as he malfunctions and chases down the lead – this is clearly the starting point for The Terminator. For an oldie, the film looks great, and is plenty stylish – hat’s off to the photographer and director. Storywise, it could have been a little better proportioned: 60 minute lead up, 5 minutes of destruction, 25 minutes of chasing… felt a little short-changed given the premise. Like all of the best Sci-Fi movies, at the heart of Westworld is a single, great idea, that just hasn’t aged a day, and if anything is more relevant to modern science – right down to the technical jargon. Even if robo-madness isn’t fully maximised, Westworld is a solid film made all the better with its creepy – prophetic – tone, and a retro / kitsch vibe.
Robot hookers… curvy!