Death Wish

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Swanner: Bruce Willis plays Paul Kersey, an ER doctor, who gets the worst call a husband and father can get when his wife and daughter are brought in to his ER after being shot during a home invasion robbery. After weeks of nothing from the police, Kersey decides he’s going to find the men that broke into his house and destroyed his life. Even if it means killing them in the process. Based on the 1974 motion picture which was based on Brian Garfield’s novel, director Eli Roth steps out of his horror shoes to make this very enjoyable action remake.

I was wondering how they were going to make this work; after all, what made it work originally was that this vigilante stayed anonymous. Now in the day of cameras everywhere how can he stay a mystery man on the streets of Chicago? I think they did the best they could do: at one point he does say he avoided the cameras by looking down. The fact is this story-line always works because there is always something awful happening in the world, so when Kersey kills a drug dealer or a car jacker the audience cheers.

As the news and the talk radio folks start to talk about the Vigilante, the audience also gets to decide on how they feel about Kersey’s way of giving back to the community. If you take away the obvious commentary from this story you do get a fun revenge film. Thankfully Roth and screenwriter Joe Carnahan add humor where they can to keep the film from going really dark. They also take full advantage of Willis, who adds his own swagger in bringing Kersey to life.

Swanner: 3 stars

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