Death Wish is a movie that was never going to get good reviews in this current political climate. Many people took issue with the fact that the film’s main star, Bruce Willis, was just a vigilante going around Chicago with a hood over his head executing people. Most people who have said these things never actually planned on watching the movie, and most likely just said them to get some attention.
Putting all of that aside, it’s not like Death Wish was ever trying to win Oscars. Or even be a great action movie. Because it isn’t. It’s a movie about a guy getting some vigilante justice after burglars messed up his life by (semi spoilers but not really since its present in the trailer) killing his wife and putting his daughter in a coma.
The movie follows Paul Kersey (Willis) and his wife Lucy preparing for their daughter to go to college. All of this changes, when a group of men try to rob them and it goes terribly wrong. When the law doesn’t do anything about it, Kersey decides to take the law into his own hands and get some of his own justice – all while his daughter remains in a coma.
The movie was directed by Eli Roth and features some of his signature over-the-top blood and gore, but it’s never boring and it’s not as tone deaf as you would think, given all that’s going on in this country right now with shootings being a topic of conversation after recent shootings. The movie at least acknowledges (within the movie) the fact that it features some white guy going around executing people, and offers opinions from both sides of the spectrum. There was never going to be a time where this movie could be released without controversy. It just wasn’t going to happen.
I wish I could say that Bruce Willis appeared to be giving it his all in this movie, but it seems as though he was really phoning it for some points of this movie as well. This one, though, isn’t as bad as some of the other stuff he’s done in the last few years, as it’s at least watchable. His performance really hurt the movie, but it doesn’t really add much to it. It’s just serviceable, and does feature some vintage Willis puns sprinkled throughout – so it’s not all bad.
The movie does ask an interesting question (that Marvel’s The Punisher asked last year). Bad things happen, and sometimes the law doesn’t get it done. It asks the question of what someone can feel like they’re forced to do when they feel like they aren’t getting any answers or getting what they feel like would be justice – or peace of mind.
All in all, if you’re a fan of action and can set aside politics a little bit to just sit down and watch a movie, you won’t be disappointed. It’s entertaining enough to at least rent or watch on TV. It’s nothing new, and a concept we’ve seen before. I highly doubt you’ll be blown away by Death Wish – as it’s a bad movie. But it’s supposed to be.