Death Wish is a 2018 action film directed by Eli Roth and is a revamp of the classic 1974 film bearing the same name. It pivots on Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis); a doctor in the crime-infested city of Chicago who is befallen with a tragedy orchestrated by unlawful criminals and thus he goes out of his ethical way to seek out revenge the best way he can to those who wronged him.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this film has two contrasting sides to it; it addresses a societal problem that has plagued mankind since the very beginning of time and at the same time it provides a profoundly odd and unorthodox method of showcasing it. I’ll shed more light on this later on in this review, let’s talk about the acting first.
Bruce Willis as the rarely unfazed and calm surgeon in Dr. Kersey is well, not what I had envisioned and expected coming into this film. Bland is the best word I can think of when describing the latter. At the same time, I most certainly do not want to come off as someone who is hell-bent on crucifying the character because he does have his moments in the film; from the onset, he is your typical family man who is very caring and loving and for me seeing him transition into something that throws what I’ve just mentioned out the window was something I connected with. Furthermore, he had a little bit of his Die Hard persona which drew me closer to what was happening to his tragedy-stricken life but all the positives I’ve just noted were in many ways not enough to save his character. Vincent D’Onofrio, best known for his roles as Wilson Fisk in Netflix’s Daredevil and as Detective Goren in Law and Order; Criminal Intent is also in this film and his role as Frank, Kersey’s brother, lacks considerable intent, pun intended; to me he was just Paul’s shoulder to lean in a fair few scenes.
To go back to what I previously mentioned about how the movie has two sides of a coin, I’d say it’s an aspect of the movie that I picked up on during the 2nd act and I’d totally understand if you, the viewer, disagree with my assessment of it. Gun violence, especially in some cities in the U.S case in point Chicago, is a vice that has and keeps on destroying many hopes and dreams of the individuals who fall by its hands. It is key that this issue is addressed, especially in films that millions of people see all over the world but it is also important that the problem is addressed in the right manner. I’m not particularly impressed by the fact that the movie featured a select location that in the real world, does actually face astronomical cases of gun violence. I honestly think Eli Roth and his team should and could have gone for a fictional area to stage the events that unfold in this film and not what they went for; I say this because in my realm, certain societal factions like the one I am affiliated to are generally viewed in a specific way that may be negative and I can tell you first hand, the garden of profiling is definitely not rosy.
To sum up, I’d say whether or not you’ll like Death Wish is entirely contingent on how you view the plot as well as the message behind it. If you are one of those people, me included, who will be inclined to watch the photoplay because Mr. Armageddon/Tears of the Sun/Die Hard himself Bruce Willis is it, then may the force be with you but from a general standpoint, I am not particularly a fan of this classic remake.