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Death Wish, Falls Short of the Orginal

Death Wish

Starring:  Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Elizabeth Shue

Rating:  R

Runtime:  1hr. 46mins.

Have you ever loved something or someone so much, but there is something about them that makes them or it not as tantalizing or attractive?  You know, “I like it, but…”  Maybe it is a brand-new car, but it had a small, scratch above the right door handle.  Or maybe a new pair of shoes that when you took it out of the box there was a scuff staring back at you.  Or maybe it is, like Eddie Murphy in Boomerang who had a love for goregous intelligent women with bodies that will make any head turn.

But there is only one problem, she has hammer feet.


Very disappointing, right?  Well, Bruce Willis’ mundane performance and the bad editing are the hammer feet to this otherwise nice remake of 1974 original, Death Wish.

Willis stars as Dr. Paul Kersey who tries to find justice for the attack on his family and murder of his wife (Elizbeth Shue).  After dedicating his life to saving lives, ironically, he now finds himself trying to end those lives that has brought hurt to his family and injustices to others.

Willis appears to “telephone his performance in”.  Dispassionate and lacking ambition, his nine to five punch the time clock in and out work ethic put a dark stain on this remake to the 1974 original starring, Charles Bronson.  At times, Willis reads his line like he was reading the instructions on the back of a medicine bottle.

The editing is lacking, as well.  Scenes ended abruptly; not flowing together seemlessly (ie.e trying to fit a square peg into a round hole).  Were the filmmakers trying to meet a deadline? Was there a rush to get the film done by a certain time?

But, like its predecessor, there is an abundance of violence.  The violence that at times is uncomfortable, such as a torture scene where Willis uses his knowledge as a surgeon to force information out of one of his victims.  The way in which Willis kills his victim is supposed to be symbolic of the pain and hurt he felt when they hurt his family.  Unfortunately, the way in which his family was victimized does not fit Willis’s rage of how he kills his victims.  In the original, his family suffered the brutality of rape and death that pushed Bronson to the edge.  In this version, although he loses a loved one, the brutality of the attack was far less.

If you like violence and action, then this is still a movie you can appreciate for what it brings to the table.  Also, if you are a fan of the first film and wonder how this version will hold up 44 years later, then you will enjoy the film as well.  It is interesting, seeing how that unlike the 70’s it is hard to keep the identity of a vigilante secret.  With cell phones and social media, that person will become famous or infamous overnight, making him or her much easier to identify; but not neccessarily catch.  On paper, Willis is the right person to cast for this role, but maybe father time has caught up with him.  Perhaps the wish should be the death of his acting in future films.



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