Death Wish (1974)
Succeeded by: Death Wish II (1982)
This right wing propaganda turns out to be every bit as slimy and ill-focused as one could fear. While the film's prime focus should have been to show the dangers and tragedies of a society in which crime has speared out of control, director Michael Winner instead gets hung up with Charles Bronson's inane, emotionless character and his vigilante killing spree. Yes, he is probably frustrated and desperate, but there is nothing in Bronson's world record underacting to back this up. And when the filmmakers start relishing (almost idolizing) their narrative and protagonist, the film is in serious trouble. The jazzy score by Herbie Hancock, some crisp cinematography, and Jeff Goldblum's scene-stealing debut appearance are what stand out.