Adding no fresh or riveting spin on the ‘vengeful justice’ wing of the thriller genre, Eli Roth’s newest addition in the ‘Death Wish’ franchise is led by a capable Willis but has many serious problems.
Surgeon Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is celebrating a birthday and his wife and daughters’ individual successes but that’s short-lived, as one night whilst he’s at hospital working, Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) and Jordan (Camila Morrone) are gunned down in a house robbery gone wrong. As Jordan lies in a coma, Paul begins opening his eyes to the world of violence and decides to try and stop it if he can.
I had major issues with this film and it infuriated me the more it kept on going, but I must say that there’s suitable, palpable tension in the book-ended home invasion scenes and tiny moments in the first thirty minutes are entertaining to a point, but this needlessly stitched on sixth addition to the series is loaded with on the nose dialogue stinking of cult movie dreams and less than gritty blood dripped revenge.
Arriving in cinemas at the worst timing possible after the Parkland shootings, severely puts an off taste in the mouth watching this show-boating gun parade, but at any time this would be a film that would wind me up because it seems happy to display Paul Kersey like a necessary angel of death; the slow motion and hip hop backing painting him like a hero because he’s discovered the world of rifles, glocks etc. The film has this whole treatment of gun shops, ammo and hidden weaponry like it’s a joke and not even the poorly acted radio talk show discussions can save the movie. Their chats of Kersey either being good or bad don’t redeem the glorified manner in which he and guns are portrayed.
It just got more irritating as it went on, that I was following someone clearly designed as the hero of the story, yet on multiple occasions he could have notified the police when finding out information. This would have saved his bullet spraying quest and prevented him from becoming a murderer. I lost sympathy in the character and by the end of the film where he ends up facing absolutely no punishment for his crimes I was glad to see the credits finally show up. Just him being horrendously injured, imprisoned or killed would have gifted the film a message that gun wielding vigilantism isn’t a smart choice.
Willis starts in a capacity different to what he’s done of late, showing some emotion to the loss of his wife but he ends up becoming the same ol’ bold bald unsinkable force. The usually fantastic Vincent D’Onofrio is a boring sidelined character here and I have zero clue why he signed on for this release.
This is a baffling movie arriving at a time of major gun violence problems in America and just generally, it suffers massively by trying to get its audience rooting for someone who treads down the same road of using gun violence.