Death Wish 4: The Crackdown was one of the last pictures directed by the J. Lee Thompson, helmer of the original Cape Fear and The Guns of Navarone. Seems his waltz with genius was pretty short-lived, as he spent most of the 70s and 80s half-heartedly overseeing junk like King Solomon's Mines, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Firewalker and the forgettable Bronson clinkers Avenging Angels and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects. I wish I could say The Crackdown was a final grasp at glory, but it really, really isn't. There's a climactic shoot-out at a roller disco, for the love of Pete!
All beating up on the picture aside, I'd be lying if I said I didn't slightly enjoy Death Wish 4. It's a dopey reminder of the half-witted, cartoonish action flicks I spent my teenage years consuming by the dozen. How can you not smile at a film that makes explicit reference to a villain having a "highly-trained baritone singing voice," and then never features a single scene of him bellowing a tune? Or a film which depicts a 66-year-old man being talked into a limousine by an evil chauffeur, locked inside, then given enough time to watch the goon walk up the road to another car and drive away, sit for a minute in desperate contemplation, try all the doors, shoot out a window, crawl through the opening and, finally, dive away before the vehicle explodes? So, in essence, if you want to watch a trashy movie so stupidly violent it'll give you a bad case of the giggles, you need to get down... with THE CRACKDOWN!!!