V Questions: Death Wish V: The Face of Death
The parting of ways between Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus was not a pretty one. The Israeli cousins who lived their American dream when they purchased the Cannon Group and then turned it into an independent movie juggernaut in the 1980’s proved they could be the best of friends and the worst of enemies.
I am not sure how or why Charles Bronson ended up on the Menahem Golan side of things after the “divorce” and unfortunately neither man is around anymore to ask. But while that question will remain an unsolved mystery, I’m hoping to get the answers to some of my burning questions about Charles Bronson and Menahem Golan’s final collaboration, 1995’s Death Wish V: The Face of Death a movie produced by Golan’s post-Cannon, 21st Century Films…
1. At what point was Paul Kersey going to stop getting into serious relationships with the opposite sex?
Lets recap the love life of one Paul Kersey shall we… In the original Death Wish his wife is beaten to death by some street punks. In Death Wish II, Kersey has moved on and is romantically involved with a reporter named Geri Nichols (played by Bronson’s real life wife Jill Ireland). When Geri figures out her future husband is a murderous vigilante she high tails it out of there. In Death Wish 3, Paul Kersey has some casual sex with one of the most desperate women in action movie history, Kathryn Davis (Deborah Raffin). But Ms. Davis and Kersey soon find out that even being a passing fling for Paul Kersey can be deadly as Kathryn Davis dies in an inexplicably fiery car wreck. By Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Kersey seems like he is ready to settle down again. He is focusing on his actual job as an architect and is in a serious relationship with another reporter, this time newspaper reporter Karen Sheldon (Kay Lenz). But when Karen’s daughter overdoses and dies, Kersey is back in the vigilante game killing off those responsible for “those damn drugs” that killed Karen’s daughter and as a result Karen is caught in the crossfire and another one bites the dust.
So even though Paul Kersey has had three women he was having sexual relations with die horrific deaths and another one leave him after she found out he was handing out horrific (but much deserved) deaths in the past 20 years, Kersey just can’t help himself and he is back in the romantic saddle again in Death Wish V asking fashion designer Olivia Regent (Lesley-Anne Down) to marry him.
Was Kersey playing the odds at this point? Did he think even with his piss poor track record with women that things could not possibly end badly for a fifth time?!?! If that’s what he was thinking he was wrong, because Olivia Regent first gets her face mangled after it is smashed into a mirror by mob hitman Freddie Flakes (Robert Joy) in drag. Then later, when the mutilation was not enough to scare her from testifying against her ex-husband and mob boss Tommy O’Shea (Michael Parks), Freddie Flakes goes to finish the job and shoots her off a roof and Kersey finds her seconds later laying dead on the pavement in a pool of blood.
2. What was with all the garbage?
Moments after discovering the dead body of his fiancée, Paul Kersey is on the run from the determined Freddie Flakes and finds himself up on the same roof that Olivia just fell from… Kersey doesn’t give Freddie the satisfaction of shooting him off the roof because he goes ahead and swan dives off the roof himself… fortunately for our senior citizen hero there was a shit ton of garbage bags down below giving him a soft landing. But why was there so much garbage just piled up on the ground and not in some sort of dumpster? Did a hoarder live next door?
3. Did Erica Lancaster have a career following Death Wish V?
Erica Lancaster portrayed Chelsea Regent, the daughter of Olivia Regent and her first husband, the evil Tommy O’Shea. If you’ve seen Death Wish V you proabably recall that the Chelsea character spends most of the movie wearing a dumb hat. You may have also noticed that Erica Lancaster (no relation to Burt) got the “And Introducing” credit as this was Erica’s first feature film. After rewatching the movie recently, I could not help but wonder if Erica Lancaster’s acting career continued following Death Wish V or if that dumb hat prevented her from getting work.
Well Erica Lancaster aka Erica Fairfield did get some TV work following her Death Wish V role, but by 2002 her acting career was over. I blame the hat.
4. Was that same jacket Charles Bronson wore in 1993’s Donato & Daughter?
While we are talking Death Wish V fashion choices, I could not help but notice that the jacket that Paul Kersey wears in Death Wish V was quite similar to the jacket he wore in the 1993 TV movie, Donato & Daughter.
One of Bronson’s most common demands was that he could keep the clothes he wore in his movies, so it is conceivable that he could have brought the jacket from Donato & Daughter back for a second appearance in Death Wish V. Can you imagine what a Charles Bronson movie worn jacket would fetch on eBay, even if those movies were Donato & Daughter and Death Wish V: The Face of Death?
5. Is the Freddie Flakes kill the greatest in the history of Charles Bronson?
Charles Bronson killed a lot of movie bad guys in his 50 years of acting with Bronson’s Paul Kersey character probably making up more than 50% of all of Bronson’s kills. Bronson’s kill count is so high it would even impress the likes of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.
Now you may think that with so many kills to choose from that it would be tough to narrow the list down to a top ten, let alone name one kill as the greatest of them all… but I am here to tell you, that Charles Bronson’s greatest movie kill was when he used a remote control soccer ball to take care of Freddie Flakes’ dandruff problem permanently!
The demise of Freddie Flakes is the absolute highlight of Death Wish V: The Face of Death, it is like nothing I had ever seen before or since. The look on Bronson’s face as he watches Freddie die an agonizing death expresses the realization off how absurd the whole scenario of killing a man with a product that does not even exist truly was.