It’s fascinating to watch “10 to Midnight” today and explore how dated it’s become and how much the themes and overtones it presents have been somewhat flipped on its head. J. Lee Thompson attempts to appeal to the folks that love their Dirty Harry’s and Lee Marvins by basically trying to turn Charles Bronson in to something of an aged vigilante that we can root for. But he basically comes off as an anti-hero, and “10 to Midnight” ends up becoming a war between a psychopath and a corrupt cop, both of whom never actually come out looking pristine once the film draws to a close.
Before “The Punisher” ever graced the big screen director Michael winner’s 1974 revenge flick brought to screen a psychotic man armed with a hand gun avenging his family who suffered a wicked fate by the hands of senseless crime. In a time where violence and rape was rampant in New York City, “Death Wish” is still a surprising little thriller that not only puts on display the grim and grimy depths of the Big Apple in the seventies, but the descent in to sheer lunacy one mild mannered man takes when his wife and daughter are attacked and raped in their apartment. The thugs get away but protagonist Paul Kersey’s wife dies and he’s forced to bear witness to his daughter lose her sanity due to the severity of the attack she and her mother endured.