Sunday, March 11, 2018

Movie Review: Death Wish

A violent remake from Eli Roth may come off as insensitive though it tries to not appear too pro-gun. Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a calm surgeon who is celebrating his happy family life with his daughter Jordan (Camila Monroe) who is graduating from high school and his wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue). A valet snaps a picture of their address on their GPS as they schedule another celebratory dinner with Dr. Kersey's brother Frank (Vincent D'Onofrio). When Paul gets an unexpected call from the hospital, the dinner is canceled and he leaves his wife and daughter alone. They plan to make a cake for him when three robbers invade their home. Jordan and Lucy fight back and are shot. Dr. Kersey learns of his family's tragedy when their bodies arrived at the hospital. His wife dies and his daughter is left in a coma.

Detectives Kevin Raines (Dean Norris) and Leonore Jackson (Kimberly Elise) were aware of a string of robberies but currently don't have any leads. They tell Paul to have faith that the investigation will break at some point but the doctor is impatient with their slow progress. He continues to get an up-close look at the violence in Chicago as it is his job to help shooting victims. He decides to learn about purchasing a gun but doesn't buy one from the eager store clerk Bethany (Kirby Bliss Blanton) when he learns that the bullets can be traced back to his purchase. A gunshot victim comes into the ER and Dr. Kersey takes his gun that dropped unnoticed in the operating room. He stalks the streets looking for trouble and ends up stopping a car accident though he split open his hand when the slide shoots back. A viral video earns him the name Grim Reaper.

Another gunshot victims come in and Paul learns it is the same valet. He takes Miguel's phone from the evidence bag. Using the dead man's thumb, he unlocks the phone and finds his address being sent out. He tracks the messages to a pawnshop with a bar in the back. The pawnshop owner warns his friend The Fish (Jack Kesy) and tries to attack Paul, but Dr. Kersey turns the table with a dart and his weapon. The owner is shot by the Fish in the head and Paul shoots The Fish in the leg. He learns of Joe (Ronnie Gene Blevins) who owns an auto shop. The Fish almost kills Paul but a bowling ball falls and saves Dr. Kersey's life. Paul heads to the auto shop and uses his surgeon skills to torture information out of Joe to learn about Knox (Beau Knapp), a mysterious murderer.

The detectives are actively investigating the Grim Reaper murder and are starting to think it is Frank who is responsible for the murders. Jordan wakes up from her coma to the distressing news of her mother's death. A mysterious phone call warns Dr. Kersey and tells him to meet at a nightclub. Paul goes to the club and starts a shootout wounding Knox who goes to the hospital. Frank confronts Paul about the collection of guns but can't convince him to give up his crazed path. Knox is discharged at the same time as Jordan and threatens the Kerseys on their way out. Paul prepares for invasion when Knox and two thugs show up at the house. Dr. Kersey uses his collection including a new gun to take out the robbers. Detective Raines decides to not look too closely into the strange story that Dr. Kersey tells.

Death Wish has a lot of problems and is a mediocre film at best. The film has some decent action and tries to avoid controversy by showing the complicated nature of guns. Bruce Willis has always been one of my favorite actors but his quality of films has not always been great. Eli Roth has not made many good movies and I only caught this one in theaters due to seeing most of the other films. I went in with very low expectations so that the film being only partially good was a pleasant enough surprise for me. Supporting actors like D'Onofrio and Norris make the surrounding scenes a little better but the films has more flaws than it can make up for. 

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