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Death Wish 4: Charles Bronson’s War on Drugs

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In America, drugs and violence go hand in hand — so much so, we’ve declared war on them. And no drug is in possession of a worse reputation than crack. In the Eighties, crack took the blame for urban decay and soaring crime rates; crack babies made headlines, as doctors and politicians warned that without action, an entire generation would be ravaged by the drug.

Media reports about crack and its attendant dangers surged throughout the late ’80s and then something happened: In the 1990s the crime rate fell. Dramatically. Sociologists, historians, and law enforcement organizations aren’t entirely sure why. Charles Bronson fans however, may have an inkling: In 1987, Bronson’s cinematic doppelganger, vigilante Paul Kersey, cleaned out all of the drug-dealing lowlifes from L.A. in Death WIsh 4: The Crackdown.

Sociologists have posited that crack-related violence ended once the
dealers established their turf and stopped fighting one another for
real estate. Other scholars contend that children who came of age in
the early ’90s witnessed the devastation of the drug to their parents
and older siblings first hand, and never started using as a result. It’s
pretty clear though, that moviegoers got one look of the size of
Bronson’s gun in Death Wish 4 and realized that drugs weren’t for them.

Chapter
Four finds Bronson dating a hot young reporter in L.A. Her daughter
falls in with the wrong crowd and before you know it, she’s dead from
an overdose. It doesn’t take long for Bronson to bring the hurt back
around to the dealers’ front doors. The original Death Wish
grew out of New York’s problems with urban decay and white flight in
the early ’70s. The series’ fourth installation goes back to its roots, reflecting the anxiety of a particular time better than any of the
other sequels.

Watch the war on drugs, Bronson-style, when Death Wish 4 airs, Wednesday, March 26 at 8PM | 7C. For a compete schedule, click here.

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