Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Death Wish (2018)

I’ve never been a huge fan of remakes.  Sometimes, if I’ve never seen the original, I can enjoy the remake to some extent.  However, I find that there’s usually little need to remake something that did well originally.  Bruce Willis stars in Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 movie starring Charles Bronson.  Although I haven’s seen the original, I still came away feeling like there was something lacking with the 2018 version.  (I currently don’t plan on seeing the original, as I’m not a fan of Charles Bronson, either.)

From what I can tell, the plot is fairly similar.  In this case, Bruce Willis plays Paul Kersey, a Chicago doctor who has to go to work one night.  He should be celebrating his birthday with his wife and daughter.  Due to the sudden change in plans, burglars break into the Kersey house expecting it to be empty.  The thieves end up killing Paul’s wife, Lucy, and putting their daughter, Jordan, into a coma.

It doesn’t take Paul long to look into buying a gun.  He decides not to do it legally, but manages to swipe a gun from a gang member-turned-patient after the gun falls on the ground.  (This is Chicago, after all.)  All he has to do is get some ammunition and he’s all set to go into vigilante mode.

His first time out, Paul manages to prevent a carjacking, but gets caught on video.  His face isn’t shown, which works in his favor.  He did sustain an injury, though.  Being emboldened by the experience leads Paul to try again and to ultimately go after the people that killed his wife.

The movie goes down pretty much as you’d expect.  The police don’t seem to be able to do much.  It’s not necessarily out of incompetence, though.  The detectives have dozens of similar cases, each requiring a good deal of attention.  Many cases that come across their desks don’t have much evidence to work with.

Buying a gun has all the normal hurdles, like waiting periods and paperwork.  It’s no surprise that Paul declines the legal route, yet jumps at a gun without his name attached to it.  (It also comes in handy later in the movie.)

I never got the impression that the movie was explicitly for or against gun violence.  You have radio and TV personalities giving commentary, but the violence seems more like a backdrop to one-liners and action sequences.  There doesn’t seem to be any attempt to have a pro- or anti-gun message.  This may actually benefit the story, though.  After watching the movie, I’m not sure that editorializing would have worked.  I can’t imagine Paul giving someone a lecture on the benefits or costs of owning a gun.

I’m not a big fan of violent movies.  Since I haven’t seen similar movies, it’s hard to judge if the movie is cliché or not.  It’s definitely not a parody.  The movie seems to take itself seriously.  However, it was lacking on any sort of a real plot.  I didn’t really feel like I was rooting for anyone.  I didn’t leave the movie thinking about any sort of message.

I wouldn’t go into the movie expecting anything grand or epic.  As I said, it’s mostly action with a few jokes here and there.  This is one of those movies that manages to stay very true to the coming attractions.  I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised as to whether or not they’ll like it.

IMDb page

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