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Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray of Death Wish 3 is Locked, Cocked, and Ready to Rock!

Feature Presentations: Episode 50

Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Scorpion Releasing‘s release of Death Wish 3.

Death Wish 3 Blu-ray cover

I’ve mentioned in the past that I have a disdain for the works of Charles Bronson. If you read my article on the Vinegar Syndrome release of Death Wish II, you’ll know I felt the first sequel was a mildly entertaining venture yet didn’t do much to change my opinions on the man. What can I say? Charles Bronson doesn’t do it for me. Yet, even with all that negativity, there is a moment of greatness, and it is the subject of this week’s episode of Feature Presentations: Death Wish 3.

The original Death Wish is a film that shouldn’t work but does, for the most part, thanks to a gritty script and solid directing. The first sequel, produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, tried to keep the gritty realism while featuring the gratuitous nature synonymous with their production company, Cannon Films. The results were a mixed bag of a movie. Death Wish II comes out as a film unsure of itself. Does it want to be a gritty crime drama or an over-the-top, cheap-o B-movie? Yes, to both, I guess.

The second sequel, aptly titled Death Wish 3, knows what it wants to be and is not ashamed of it. Gone is any semblance of morality and repercussions. In its place are cartoonish gangsters and rocket launchers!

Bronson’s Paul Kersey returns to New York City. After a stint in Los Angeles, he finds a neighborhood riddled with crime, and only he can restore law and order. That’s it. That’s the plot. The following 90 or so minutes is Kersey, taking out the trash with no threat and barely breaking a sweat. It’s hilarious how the film doesn’t try to balance the over-the-top nature mixed with Bronson’s one expression for the entirety of the film’s runtime: bored. Fantastic! I love this movie.

Getting to the features, this edition of Death Wish 3 from Scorpion Releasing comes with a slipcover that features the same artwork on the Blu-ray case. Unlike many releases I’ve covered in this column, there is no reversible artwork, and the disc sits in a standard Blu-ray case.Kersey holds out a long-barreled handgun.

Considering that Death Wish 3 has a negative critical reception, one might assume that the disc would be bare bones. While the disc isn’t brimming with bonus features, there are still a couple of extras here for connoisseurs of Death Wish 3.

As with Vinegar Syndrome’s Death Wish II release, Death Wish 3 comes with a feature-length audio commentary with Paul Talbot, author of the Bronson’s Loose books. If there’s anyone you want to discuss all avenues of Charles Bronson, Paul Talbot is your man.

Talbot is a fountain of knowledge and dispenses as much as able during the film’s runtime. Not just content with treating the listeners to history about Charles Bronson, Talbot also has plenty to say about the feature film. I’m not sure there is a commentator who comes more prepared for commentaries than Paul Talbot. Talbot doles out facts regarding Bronson, behind-the-scenes information, deleted scenes—all standard stuff. What stands out are the smaller bits of information that Talbot adds. What bits, you may wonder?

There’s a brief scene at a car lot. Talbot takes the time to discuss the actor playing the car salesman. Do we need to know this? Of course not, but Paul Talbot feels it is worth mentioning. Talbot also touches upon aspects including snippets from the script, Bronson taking his shirt off on film, and moving from the shocking nature of the original movie to this cartoonish third entry. Even if you’re not a Bronson fan like myself, Talbot is an excellent and knowledgeable commentator and offers something for everyone.

The only other feature on the disc is an interview with actor Kirk Taylor, who played “The Giggler.” Taylor talks about how he got hired for such a villainous role, his time on set, and how Death Wish 3 was pivotal in being cast in Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket. Taylor has plenty of nice words to say, and the interview is welcome on a disc where bonus material is scarce.

The disc closes out with a handful of trailers that took me back to my childhood. The trailer compilation includes Bronson’s Death Wish 3 and Killer of Killers, along with the ’80s action flicks: Death Before Dishonor, The Delta Force, and P.O.W. The Escape. While I don’t usually detail the trailers much, reliving this marketing material reel that includes showcasing all the action while repeating the lead actor’s and the film’s titles over and over was hilarious and took me back to a simpler time. The ’80s. What a time.

Kersey with his fist raised

And there you have it! Death Wish 3 is everything you could want and expect from Cannon Films in their heyday. Guns, Bronson, violence, guns, explosions, revenge, and more guns; Death Wish 3 has it all. Fans of the film may be disappointed with so few bits of supplemental material, but the disc is about quality, not quantity. Armed (pun intended) with a stellar commentary track, a welcome retrospective interview, and a 2K scan, fans of the film can rejoice that Scorpion Releasing crafted a worthy release for such a silly yet enjoyable film.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a struggling screenwriter who enjoys music, writing, and all forms of cinema. His musical tastes span a wide array, but mainly within the hip-hop genre. He considers Ghostbusters the best film of all time and has a weird obsession with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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