Dr Paul Kersey’s (Bruce Willis) life changes forever when he discovers his wife and daughter have been attacked in their very own home, leaving Paul’s wife dead and his daughter in a coma. With Paul left broken and furious, he begins to take matters into his own hands. He enquires about a gun and learns how to use it, beginning to roam the street, taking on any crime that may come his way. This leads to him becoming well known as some type of superhero, armed with only a handgun and a hoodie. Paul will also discover more information about the men who broke into his home and attacked his family, eventually taking revenge.
For those who are unaware, Death Wish is, in fact, a remake of a 1974 film which featured the actor Charles Bronson. While Bruce Willis’s characters are set up slightly differently to the original, the film concept and plot as a revenge story remains the same.
As Bruce Willis returns the big screen, I’m sure the world of cinema was rejoicing with hopes and dreams that this would be Bruce’s comeback from previously working on B Grade films (which would continuously go straight to DVD or digital). While the idea of Bruce playing the lead role sounds impressive, the film’s results end in sad disappointing. While we all love a good revenge story and a hero to cheer for, Bruce Willis in Death Wish is a dull character to follow. He once again shows very little as an actor. If he smiles, it feels incredibly forced and awkward to watch as a viewer. Once again it almost feels like Bruce is well… over it.
As for side characters in Death Wish, many also come across as cheesy and annoying people. For example, as an audience we are forced to watch cut scenes which involve people talking on the radio about the unknown vigilante- is he a hero or a menace? But even simple characters such as the gun salesperson are way over the top, and many aspects serve no real purpose to the film or plot. Overall the characters can be questionable, even those played by well-known actors.
Overall, I wish I could say this was something new and fresh, but it’s forgettable. Not even having a couple of AC/DC’s tracks inserted in this film can save it. Our hero is luckier than skilful and more flat than pleasant. Some might enjoy this grindhouse type film for 2018, but it’s a misfire for me.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden