Another one! A film about a father seeking revenge after his wife and daughter are assaulted in a home invasion.
Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Unbreakable) stars in the Eli Roth (The Green Inferno, Knock Knock) directed Death Wish (2018). The supporting cast includes veterans such as Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Dean Norris, as well as incorporating Camila Morrone—the newcomer who plays the daughter of the main character. The best aspect about this film is that it’s socially and politically relevant in regards to today’s internet-frenzied climate. With the recent school shootings in the USA this year, either this movie’s release timing was spot-on or it was simply off the mark.
However, a silver lining is that the media present in the footage, whether it be through means of news channels, radio broadcasts, social-media sharing, etc., brilliantly acted as a sole narrative vehicle to question audiences on what they think about vigilantism— maybe the screenplay by Joe Carnahan had something new to offer after all—although the script never lets its own inherent message be explored deeply through visuals. Death Wish is also a remake of the 1974 venture of the same name. But one is to wonder why this cult classic was remade at all? This is because the trend of father-turning-avenger exhibitions has become stale. I thought that there were already enough motion-pictures that wanted to bask in the afterglow of Liam Neeson’s Taken (2008). 3 Days to Kill (2014) and The Gunman (2015) are only some post-Taken. And this supports my claim that we don’t need another father-avenging-family action drama.
Death Wish would’ve actually worked better as a black comedy. This is because the first half-hour is entirely lackluster, and only when the over-the-top action scenes are showcased, is there any ounce of ingenuity shown in Roth’s filmmaking. Even if this wasn’t the perfect picture, it’s still able to serve as a comeback for Willis, whose recent low-budget filmography is far from being on the impressive side. The irony here is that Willis has again starred in a B-movie but it doesn’t seem like he was forced into the role, rather, it seems that the role was tailor-made for him.
I liked the entire cast, albeit, the lack of a good villain or even villains was obvious. Maybe a creatively-crafted antagonist might’ve made the ride more memorable—as most action flicks nowadays have more thought-provoking villains than heroes. Black Panther, anyone? To end with, Death Wish is just another clichéd and ultra-predictable vigilante-justice showcase. Ten minutes into the movie and you’ll be able to guess, with pinpoint accuracy, the flick’s conclusion. I loved watching Willis as the protagonist but a good performance doesn’t necessarily translate into a must-watch movie.