Imagine the original "Die Hard," a true classic that put Bruce Willis on the map as an action hero. Now imagine it less epic, less iconic, less entertaining, but more shallow and more ridiculous. What you have is Willis' latest film "Death Wish."
A reboot of a 1974 classic about vigilante justice, "Death Wish" features all the makings of a gratuitous, parody-ready action film, from cookie-cutter villians to a hail of bullets and blood splatters galore. But while the original found relative success with its audience, this reimaging lacks any semblance of quality.
Willis plays Paul Kersey, a Chicago trauma surgeon who, after burglars kill his wife and leave his daughter in a coma, takes the law into his own hands, hunting down the perpetrators.
What follows is an hour-and-a-half of exploitation and torture-porn propped up by machismo and handgun fetishism.
Coupled with absolutely abysmal acting, particularly with a phoned-in performance from Willis who couldn't be less interested in the film, and stale tropes left over from the 1970s, and the movie is doomed to fail.
While it's difficult to even watch the movie, it's more difficult to watch it and not take into account the current social context. The movie uses the high murder rate in Chicago as a backdrop, but while sidestepping the discussion of racial violence well enough, it ultimately personifies the "good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns" line of propaganda.
That's particularly troubling given the current discussion around guns and the National Rifle Association in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. While MGM had no real control over whether the release of a movie glorifying guns coincides with a mass shooting, as a result, the themes are noticeably more pronounced that perhaps originally intended. Jokes and commentary about background checks and assault rifles that may have gone relatively unnoticed in different times are particularly pungent.
Beyond the commentary, the rest of “Death Wish” is almost purely unjustified revenge, “Taken” without Liam Neeson and with more blood, and offers next to nothing in the way of genuine entertainment.
A poorly-timed, graphic, bullet-worshiping movie that’s difficult to sit through and next-to-impossible to enjoy, "Death Wish" is dead on arrival.