Death Wish V: The Face of Death Review
Directed by: Allan A. Goldstein
I'll admit, despite my love for the series as I explored them all for the very first time within this past year, I was a little weary going into this one for a number of reasons. First of all, that cover is just awful. It looks like a Made-for-TV movie. It's also not an entry in the decades long franchise that anyone ever mentions. At least, not in my experience. But I needed to finish the franchise, even if I wasn't particularly all that excited about this one.
Truthfully, it took a good 30 minutes for me to really get into it. Much like the cover art, it has a very Made-for-TV quality about it. Yet it's not a bad looking film. Writer/director Allan A. Goldstein does give the film an overall nice look, despite the film looking limited to an extent. But still, he's an odd choice for something like this, especially when you look at all the previous entries. Nothing in Goldstein's past filmography would lead you to believe he could deliver a solid Death Wish film. Nothing. My guess is Menaham Golan got him cheap. So I was kind of thrown off with that for a bit, but I'm glad I stuck it through because the film only got better and better as it moved along. In fact, simply based on how the film looked and started right off the bat, I was not at all expecting it to go where it ultimately did in terms of the action and violence.
The cast is pretty solid, but aside from Bronson returning, the only real standout is the casting of Michael Parks as the main villain, who does a formidable job in the role as a slimy, cantankerous businessman who runs his businesses like the mob. Speaking of casting, Bronson was 72 when he made this, which just blows my mind. The guy doesn't look a day over 60 and age has not slowed him down one bit.
I think one of the biggest surprises for me was that this film was not easy to obtain in a physical format. The VHS and Laserdisc are shockingly pricey. Too pricey in fact for a blind-buy. The bare bones full frame DVD was significantly cheaper, running on average about $8-$10. Still, a bit pricey for me for a full frame presentation. In the U.S. we haven't gotten a Blu ray, and even though Parts 2-4 have, I realize now that it's because those were originally under Cannon, and this one is 21st Century, meaning 2 different companies and I guess MGM was not able to secure the rights for Part V to include in their newly released DVD and Blu ray's. I ultimately rented it from Netflix since I still get their DVD's. But now having finally seen it, I will most definitely buy it on some physical format to hold me over in the hopes that it does get a Blu ray someday. It's a keeper.