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Westside Steve

Death Wish review

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Death Wish
R.               109 min

Okay, again, back to my policy of not reading other reviews before I’ve made up my mind. I just grabbed a quick glance at Metacritic and read blurbs from a handful of terrible reviews for the new Bruce Willis action flick, a remake of the Charles Bronson 1974 classic DEATH WISH. I guess I wasn’t really surprised by the wailing and gnashing of teeth buy some who are  obsessed with a politically correct agendas and social media commentary but gee whiz guys, is it really that hard for some of you to unclench your butt cheeks for a couple hours and have some fun with a good old fashioned revenge thriller?  Seriously, most of the best picture nominations positively wallow in dreary social injustice and they’re still in the theaters, with plenty of available seats. 
With very few twists this version of DEATH WISH isn’t much different from its nearly 45 year-old predecessor. As a matter of fact it seems slightly less violent in places than the original and I’m not positive that’s a great idea, after an R rating today and an R rating in 74 are quite different. One difference is that Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey was a successful architect while Bruce Willis character is an emergency room doctor, a mild-mannered and decent man dedicated to saving lives. Of course for both these guys that all changes when a gang of thugs burglarizes their home leaving the wife dead and the daughter in a coma.  Overwhelmed by grief fueled by the inability of the police to solve the crime Kersey takes the situation into his own hands at sets out on a mission to track down the gang and kill them. Nicknamed the Grim Reaper by the newspapers and radio talk shows, including Chicago’s venerable Mancow, he rids the streets of a few rapist, muggers, drug dealers and other scum, and becomes something of a folk hero. Lucky for the citizens of Chicago that the police aren’t much better at tracking down the Vigilante as they were the bad guys in the first place.
One more difference in the new version is the addition of Frank Kersey Paul’s brother played by Vincent D’Onofrio and I’m always happy to see him in a film. Also glad to see Elisabeth Shue in the role of the wife even though she gets killed reasonably early.
If you don’t remember the ending of the 1974 version, well it hasn’t changed even though I won’t blow it for you here. 
At the end of the day gang, this one delivers just what you would expect really bad guys getting shot by the good guy. And who doesn’t love that?

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