I really wanted to love this film and had a lot of goodwill going into it despite it's bad reviews. I love a good revenge film. I love director Eli Roth. I love screenwriter Joe Carnahan. I love the original Charles Bronson "Death Wish" film. I love Bruce Willis in anything, but especially in action roles. This story is violent, politically charged, from a director who popularized torture porn, and based on a film that was reviled upon it's original release, so I was willing to write off mainstream critics who routinely trash these sorts of genre films. However, despite that excellent pedigree, this film disappoints. This remake does change a fair number of things from the original film, but that's not where this film goes wrong. Changes include Willis being a doctor instead of an architect, New York has become Chicago, and most significantly a media buzz story element was added. The main plot remains the same though, with Willis playing a pacifist who's driven to violence following a vicious attack on his wife and daughter during a home invasion, seeking vigilante justice on those responsible. Where this film goes wrong is that it plays it way too safe. Starting with the home invasion scene, I remember being far more disturbed by Michael Winner's version than Roth's version here, which surprised me since Roth is the same person who made audiences infamously squirm with "Hostel" and "Hostel II" and in this film seems to go out of his way to play it safe. More notably the film plays it safe when it comes to the politics of the story and seems nowhere as incendiary as the original film in regards to the politics of guns, justice, and vigilantism, which seems ripe in today's political and cultural climate. The original film was a classic because it was so vicious and was so incendiary. Brian Garfield, the author of the book "Death Wish" was based on, so reviled the politics of the Charles Bronson film version, he wrote a sequel "Death Sentence" as a sort of rebuttal to the Michael Winner film. What we get in the Eli Roth remake is a movie that doesn't want to offend and wants to be a crowd pleasing action film, which is not what made the original "Death Wish" a classic. It also doesn't help that Willis seems to sleepwalk through the film (which he seems to do too much of late), which is disappointing because this is a part that would have given him ample opportunities to display anguish or some kind of internal conflict over his actions, making for a great opportunity to show off his acting chops, but he instead simply goes through the movie action hero paces. Director Roth does deliver some competently done action sequences and as well as some clever torture-liked scenes, but it's nothing all that original and nothing that makes this films worth going out of your way to watch. Overall, "Death Wish" is a huge disappointment and missed opportunity. Instead of watching this film, everyone should watch James Wan's under-appreciated 2007 film "Death Sentence" starring Kevin Bacon.
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city's violence as it's rushed into his ER -until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts for his family's assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media's attention, the city wonders if this deadly avenger is a guardian angel...or a grim reaper. Fury and fate collide in the intense action-thriller Death Wish.
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May 25, 2018 at 07:13 AM