I Saw A Film!
By now Bronson is the original “Taken” father character, fully nothing but a leather-faced vindictive weapon on two legs, but somehow the vileness of the policeman’s hatred for Asians and the wickedness with which our cultural permissiveness is equated with underaged rape makes this film a hard watch.
Films generally use a familiar means of creating the hate for the antagonists, and coupled with our film-watching cynicism we find ourselves just sort of doing the mental calculations of this lockstep algebra. I’m not saying we don’t care, as the wickedness can’t help but raise the necessity of the punishment, but we do feel manipulated. The film-makers would like to produce a justified off-the-leash cop-monster. But in our day and age of finally revealed true life unjustified cop monsters, we can’t help feeling like this rotten tale reeks of unfair contrivances. Of course bad things happen to children and of course we want to see bad people punished, and we would all love an angelic cop hero, but some of the extremes we go to to put a kind of catharsis entertainment together are twisted in and of themselves. I suppose exploitation is the term. The subtitle for this film is “Forbidden Subjects” as if it were a kind of Law and Order special. But there’s nothing satisfying about this mess of grossly unappealing darkness. By the time we are getting a suicide of a young Japanese girl, the victim of a rape, all the desire to watch Bronson unleash his late sixties battle-tank are rather undermined. It’s just sad and painful to sit through.
Don’t get me wrong, I love old-man Bronson. In some ways he’s better than his earlier era self. Some of his softeness as a mature man balances the leathery carelessness of the old killer. The problem here is the film just doesn’t work, maybe the audience for this thing live in bunkers throwing darts at foreign faces, or are still fighting WWII, I don’t know, but I don’t wish this kind of horror on any movie viewer. It is especially strange because much of the anxiety and rot created by the storyline is left unresolved. Not that the resolution would be anything like satisfying in this case, nothing can fix the misery this film induces.
It’s running Free on Prime in USA but is no fun!