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What Makes Charles Bronson So Tough?

Death_wish_2 This week AMC is showing the complete Death Wish series, five films starring Charles Bronson as a one-man killing machine.  It all started with the original Death Wish in 1974, a time when crime rates were up and audiences were ready to cheer for anyone willing to take a stand.  But Bronson’s character is hardly Hollywood’s lone vigilante. (Check out our slideshow of big screen characters with a taste for revenge.)

As an intro to this week-long Bronson series, we’ve interviewed Zac Marshall, one of the creators of the new webcomic Tough Guys, to weigh in on Bronson and the Death Wish movies.

What makes Bronson a tough guy of note?

Charles Bronson has got to be the most hard-bitten, leathery, stone-cold, SOB that ever graced a frame of film. He started mining coal at age 16, he flew 25 missions as tail gunner in a B-29 bomber and received a purple heart. All this before he created his celebrated tough persona throughout his career.

How does he compare with the other tough guys?

Charles Bronson is the tough guy of the people. He’s more grounded than Steve McQueen, not as extreme as Lee Marvin and more blue collar than Eastwood. He’s solid and dependable. Some people would call Charles Bronson a poor man’s Clint Eastwood. I think that’s nonsense. On average the five Death Wish films are just as good, if not better than, the five Dirty Harry films.

What is your favorite movie in the Death Wish series?

Choosing your favorite film of the series is like choosing your favorite child. They’re all special in their own way. Death Wish is more serious and tragic, Death Wish 2 is more focused and revenge oriented and Death Wish 3 is an action packed, live action cartoon. Death Wish 4 brings a more complicated plot to the series and Death Wish 5 is notable for its darker tone and Bronson kicking ass even at his advanced age.

Your favorite moment in the first Death Wish film?

…watching Paul Kersey test his new weapon comprised of a sock filled with quarters in his apartment. Also it has one of the greatest closing shots of all time: Bronson smiling and pointing a finger pistol at the camera.

Check it out for yourself when Death Wish airs tonight, Monday January 14 at 8 p.m. | 7C. 

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