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How to Make a Bronsonesque Vigilante Movie

Death_wish_ii_poster

Ingredients:

1 gentle family man, the older the better
3-5 thugs
1 can of spray paint (optional)
1 sympathetic but useless police detective

Mix ingredients violently, ideally in a troubled urban environment.  Let stew.  Add gun. Serve on big screen. It’s a formula that’s worked well for Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, and even Sally Field as you’ll see from our photo gallery of Hollywood vigilantes.

Bronson, like Eastwood, was able to turn his version (Death Wish) into a bona fide franchise. Indeed, the original movie has such long-lasting appeal that now Sylvester Stallone and MGM are betting it could prove a hit again.  Variety reported in November 2007 that the studio and the star are planning a remake with Sly as the ordinary man who goes berserk when justice isn’t served. Will it work?

It might be wishful thinking.  Two recent vigilante films using this formula certainly didn’t generate the buzz Death Wish did in 1974.  Kevin Bacon starred as a family man turned killer in Death Sentence ; Jodie Foster became the female counterpart in The Brave One .  It’s hard to say why those films didn’t generate more excitement in 2007. Maybe Bronson was the secret ingredient.

See him as architect-turned-killer Paul Kersey in Death Wish II tonight, Tuesday January 15 at 8 p.m. | 7C.

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