Right off the bat, I’ll state I’ve never seen the original ‘Death Wish’ so I had nothing to compare this too. My opinion is based solely on this film and this film alone. Eli Roth isn’t a director who’s work appeals to me. My favourite film of his is ‘Knock, Knock’ and even that is pretty mediocre. ‘Death Wish’ is a poor film, but what’s worse is it actually started pretty well and just deteriorated as it went on.
From the offset, I accepted Bruce Willis was only there for the paycheck and that his wooden acting wasn’t going to add anything to the film. After the film powered through cliché after cliché, the break in that causes everything to happened appears and I was, surprisingly, rather impressed. It was pretty tense and, unlike Eli Roth’s other work, not exploitative for the sake of it. The scene actually came off as more brutal because of it.
A totally unnecessary remake, wasting screen time in cinemas all over the UK.
The problem is that after this, it falls into the tropes Roth’s work has become known for. My biggest issue though was how uncomfortable the film made me feel in relation to gun control issues being at boiling point in America right now. At times, the film seemed to glorify gun ownership and the idea of taking the law into your own hands. The film will claim it balanced the moral ambiguity of it all by having radio shows discuss both sides of the argument but the truth is these were filler scenes and nothing more. The film could’ve played with the morality of Paul’s (Willis) actions but never do. In the end, the film boils down to riffing off of other films, like ‘Unbreakable’ at times, but feeling more like a cheap knock-off.
Coming out weeks after the Florida shooting, this is one of the biggest cases of poor timing in recent memory. Poor taste aside, the film is just not very good. A totally unnecessary remake, wasting screen time in cinemas all over the UK.