I once lived in a party house with a huge pastel painting on the wall featuring famous men with famous mustaches. For some reason, Charles Bronson and Salvador Dali were the most prominent. Over cereal and beer each morning, I came to hold the former mustachioed legend in the highest regard and thus began to rent his movies. Watching Bronson calmly maneuver and detonate a soccer ball bomb using a remote control in Death Wish V: The Face of Death made me realize that sometimes you have to do supremely odd and disagreeable things as a man, and one must always look as if he’s done them a million times by expressing cool disinterest.
I’m not interested in seeing Sylvester Stallone remake Bronson’s most signature film, the first Death Wish, and I don’t grasp why the guy’s so excited to update it. Back on the scene promoting this month’s much anticipated Rambo, Stallone revealed plans for the main character in his potential remake of the 1974 vigilante classic, saying he’d make himâ€¦
“completely violent, an ex convict who walked the walk, was accepted back into society and did everything he could to be a [good person] like these thieves and junkies who now work on the side of the law. They’ve gone that way, but when something happens he reverts back to that guy.”
Stallone also further clarified his fascination with the film’s premise and core ethical dilemma â€¦
“I think Death Wish, if it were done today, would be volcanic. The idea of Jeff Goldblum being a mugger [in the original film] who breaks into an apartment is very simplistic. It gives you an idea how bad the elevation of violence has become. I would focus on defense attorneys, I would focus on [the people] allowing this crap to happen — not so much the guy on the street. It’s like, ‘Who permits it?’ What if it happened to you, that your daughter was grabbed and her eyes were put out? Would you want to sit there and defend that guy? There’s moral questions here that are being presented that have not been answered in 30 years.”
Whoa. Have there been a lot of eyeball kidnappers recently that I don’t know about? One thing is for sure, Stallone is not taming with age. The buzz leaking out of preview screenings has this latest Rambo stained with the sort of unapologetic, irony-free blood and violence we haven’t seen since the squib-popping ’80s. But I equate Rambo with Sly, Dirty Harry with Eastwood, and Death Wish with Bronson, and believe there shouldn’t be any overlap. If only in the name of that grueling soccer ball terrorism that was Bronson’s last paycheck, don’t do it.