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12
3.1 out of 5 stars
Death Wish 5 [DVD] [1994] [US Import] [NTSC]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2008
DEATH WISH 5 - THE FACE OF DEATH is a really good action-thriller (better than part 4!) and a descent ending to my favorite movie series of all time. The story is pretty much the same as usual. Bronson's girlfriend, Olivia Regent is attacked and killed by mobster Tommy O'Shea (a brilliant performance by Michael Parks, by the way). That's enough for Bronson to turn vigilante.

Good directing by Allan Goldstein, this movie is surprisingly suspenseful! Also they way Kersey takes out some of the mobsters is quite interesting and made me smile more than once with cool puns all the way. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED and unfortunately the last Bronson film made for the big screen. Bronson is (was) in top form - although well over 70!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Most people don't even know there was a Death Wish 4, let alone a Death Wish 5: The Face of Death, and not without good reason. Made primarily for the video market and shot on the ultra-cheap in Canada standing in for New York by the director of 2001: A Space Travesty (Bronson's salary accounted for more than half the budget and from the results it doesn't look like he was paid that much), its sole distinctions are the lowest body count in the series and in being Bronson's last theatrical feature. It feels more like a Death Wish ripoff where the producers suddenly found out they could afford Bronson and gave it a quick rewrite, with Kersey now in the witness protection programme back in New York happily engaged to Lesley Anne Down's fashion designer and bad Joan Collins impersonator. You just know how that will end up, especially since her ex-husband is Michael Sacks' mobster, who seems to be basing his performance on William Shatner impersonating Jack Nicholson in Prizzi's Honor.

It's not long before Robert Joy's transvestite enforcer with dandruff is scarring her face to prevent her testifying to Saul Rubinek's DA and not that long before Bronson's much younger stunt man with different colored hair is dodging bullets and she's giving him another excuse to take the law into his own hands after taking flying lessons off the roof. A puffy Bronson is starting to look so like Oliver Hardy when he smiles you almost expect him to say "That's another fine killing spree you've gotten me into," and with newspaper headlines like `Chicki Paconi killed by Canoli' it's clear that the film aspires to a more comedic approach. It doesn't succeed. It's just about watchable if you're grimly determined to make it through the entire series, but there's little here to repay the effort.
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on 27 January 2013
Death Wish V: The Face of Death is a hard movie to describe. It's easily the best Part 5 I've ever seen, beating out such stiff competition as The Dead Pool, Rocky V, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Zombie 5: The Killing Birds (does that count?), A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Diary of the Dead...you name it, this is better, for what it's worth. (If "The Empire Strikes Back" really counts as a Part 5 and not a Part 2, well...). It might be a bit too overdone for some fans, a bit too brightly-coloured, early 90s, a bit too serious for this late in the game, but it really is a very good effort and the best end to the series one could hope for (except the final teaser ending), nicely balancing the elements of all of the previous films, with a serious, plot driven first half and a slightly less serious last half, with grim wisecracks and murder set pieces.

While not exactly a direct sequel, the film does take it's cues from Death Wish 4 in a number of ways: Kersey tackles organised crime again, he uses gadgets and ingenuity more than brute strength or a gun, plot makes a return. Even plotwise, Kersey is now in the Witness Protection Programme after the events of Part 4. I guess the police still doesn't want to make a martyr out of him with a trial, but knew the organised crime elements in LA would put a whack on him sooner or later. Even the subtitle "The Face of Death" is a Death Wish 4 reference - in his dream, Paul calls himself "death". Continuity is further maintained with Kersey's predilection for dark blue leather jackets, as shown in Death Wish 3 and 4.

Direction is really good, possibly the best in the series, at least after part 1. I don't agree with Paul Talbot, author of Bronsonýs Loose!: The Making of the Death Wish Films that this is the best of the sequels, in fact I'd probably put it last or on par with Part 2, but I can definetely see the appeal, in many ways it's the odd one out. Bronson gives a really committed performance, moreso than even Part 4, nearly up to the standards of the first film. Other familiar faces include Michael Parks (Jean Renault from Twin Peaks, Sheriff Earl McGraw in a bunch of Tarantino/Rodriguez films), Saul Rubinek (Unforgiven, Star Trek: TNG episode "The Most Toys", True Romance), Robert Joy (Land of the Dead, Amityville III), Miguel Sandoval (Repo Man, Repo Chick, Medium) and Kenneth Walsh (Windom Earle in Twin Peaks) as the beleaguered cop, with even less to do than George Dickerson in the fourth film (I'm not sure after Ed Lauter in Part 3 it was necessary to have a Dirty Harry type cop involved in these movies...). The action is about as real as in the previous film, though frequently better done, with much more convincing exploding humans and some terrific stuntwork and good gunshots. Music is also a new touch: ever since Herbie Hancock's brilliant score for the first film, the Death Wish films have had some twist on popular music forms like jazz, hard rock, funk, blues, interspersed with moody synthesiser driven menacing pieces. In Death Wish V, for the first time, a real film score designed to underpin the violence with a heavy heart, is found and rather effective it is too. The fact they shot (aside from some establishing shots of FAO Schwartz) not in Manhattan but in Toronto, meant that the urban-drab of that city helps give the film a unique mood in the series, including the return of a miserable, snowy New York feel from the first film. Clearly, there was an effort here by all involved to do the best Death Wish sequel they could.

The first half is well acted, fast paced, well directed and very plotted. The inciting murder occurs about forty minutes in the film - contrast that with the quick and cynical murders of Death Wish II. The second half is more in the vein of Part 4 - black comedy, assassinations on a private hit list, infiltrating private functions... etc.

Overall, the best Part 5 anyone could hope for and a solid watch. Just don't expect another cheesy 1980s Death Wish film, this is a bit more serious and a bit more sincere, which is just what the series needed to close out on.

The DVD from Trimark is okay - it's the same old Full Screen video era master on a DVD, with a nice reproduction of the Ultra Stereo (a dead rival to Dolby from the late 80s/early 90s) soundtrack, making it the only Death Wish film with two channels of audio. There's also a trailer.

The Region 4 Australian DVD in the DEATH WISH: VIGILANTE COLLECTION boxset (now out of print; it contained all five movies in widescreen and uncut) was in the 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and is a superior print. Good luck finding that. A Blu-ray is coming out in Sweden in the next couple of months, but there's no clue as to whether it will be any good or an upscale, and what aspect ratio it will be in. It should be an indicator other releases will be coming soon anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2009
im a massive fan of the death wish series with the the 1st,2nd and 3rd being the best. the 4th was gud too in a cheesy eighties kinda way. part 5 is enjoyable although it has its flaws and bronson does look older but its still fun to see him wipe out the bad guys in different ways. if ur a bronson fan then its definately worth a watch
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on 26 April 2014
I LIKE THIS FILM BUT THE VIDGALANTY HAS MORE MAD LUCK WHEN IS WOMAN IS FACIALY DISFIGARED THEN SHOT . EVERTIME HE MEETS SOMEONE HE LOVES THEY ARE KILLED - NO WONDER HE SWEEPS THE STREETS CLEAN OF THE FILTH . THIS TIME HE TAKES ON HIS GIRLFRIENDS X HUSBAND AND HIS CRONIES .
LOOK OUT FOR THE ACID BATH SEQUENCE AT THE END OF THE FILM ! LUVLY !
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Fifth and final of the series and though the Story is quite simple it still presents a Highly hissable Villian in the form of the great Michael Parks,and Bronson is his usual Charismatic Self.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2009
It is a disgrace that only Death Wish 1 is available in region 2 to buy in the UK.

I had to order 2 to 5 from Holland.

Another fantastic cinematic masterpiece by Bronson.

Enjoy.
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on 24 June 2015
great
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2008
Bronson was a superb actor, and very underrated in my opinion - but this was definately one too many for the series. He looked uncomfortable and unsure in this movie and his age showed, and Death Wish should have been left at the trilogy level. DW4 was mediocre, but this one soon became tedious to watch. Sorry Charles, only 2 stars for this one, and that's being 1 star too generous really.
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18 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2005
How can anyone knock Chas Bronson?! He was the MAN. This film may appear a trite, re-hashed version of a previous movie in the series, but so what! As one of the last films this guy made, it stands as a homage to an incredible character in 20th century cinema, even though he plays himself in whatever he ever did. This man stand for strength, masculinity and machismo in the extreme and I worship the ground he walked on. Basically, (again) he stands up for what is right, protecting his girl where possible and upholding the law - until the time inevitably comes when he has to become the vigilante again.
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