Death Wish review by Bobby Blakey
There are few revenge thrillers as iconic as Charles Bronson’s 1974 classic Death Wish. In 2007 director James Wan brought another book in the popular series to life with Death Sentence and now yet another horror director is stepping into this genre with Eli Roth bringing his vision to remake the classic flick Death Wish this time starring Bruce Willis. The film features a great supporting cast including Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris, and Mike Epps, but does it offer up the action and vengeance fans expect or will it fail to grant the wish its hoping for?
Death Wish follows Dr. Paul Kersey, a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of Chicago violence when it is rushed into his ER - until his wife and college-age daughter are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts his family's assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media's attention, the city wonders if this deadly vigilante is a guardian angel or a grim reaper. I have been a fan of Eli Roth since he broke out with Cabin Fever so seeing him take on Death Wish had me nervous and excited. Thankfully there was nothing to worry about because this movie delivers exactly what I had hoped. Willis has been churning out a lot of the straight to home films over the last few years with the last big screen wide release being Sin City: A Dame To Kill For in 2014. I am happy to say this is vintage Willis back where he belongs and it is great fun to watch.
Willis brings his old school swagger to the role along with emotion that is highly needed for you to believe this characters drive and direction. What I really enjoyed was that they didn’t jump in to create some dumb back story to how he was suddenly a bad ass because he isn’t. Instead they take time to let him figure things out and make mistakes to make you buy more into what he is doing and how he does it. Make no mistake there are some silly moments that are a bit too convenient but that is also the part of the simplicity that makes it work. The rest of the cast are great as well with the always excellent Elisabeth Shue not getting near as much screen time as I would have liked, but offering up a great important role to set the tone. D'Onofrio is always good and here plays it up to perfection creating a character that has way more layers than needed, but in turn makes it add to the mystery and his overall importance.
With Eli Roth at the helm you can bet there is no shortage of violence and gore, but he rained it in just enough to keep it from falling into the ridiculous horror world. With that being said there are some great kills here that will have you cheering as Kersey’s deals out vengeance like only he can. This film isn’t breaking down the action genre and does a great job at taking its time to get to the good stuff with purpose, but in the end it delivered exactly what I had hoped and I hope it does well enough to spawn an all new Death Wish franchise.
This release not only includes the film, but bonus content including commentary, extended scenes, grindhouse trailer, deleted scenes, and a featurette that takes you behind bringing this film to life. Hit the streets for vengeance with Death Wish available now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.