[Review] Death Wish, the return of Bruce Willis as a bloodthirsty vigilante

Posted under Movies On By D14N

Bruce Willis is just a shadow of himself. At 63, the actor continues Direct-to-DVD, using part of his talent for shadow projects that few know about. But it is high time to see him again in the cinema, and for that, we can count on Eli Roth, the fantastic American director / actor. The one to whom we owe, among others, Hostel and Knock Knock, has therefore decided to make Bruce Willis his headliner for Death Wish, a remake of the feature film “A vigilante in the city” released in 1974 with Charles Bronson. A good idea ?

I will find them, I will kill them (2.0)
Death Wish is the story of Paul Kersey, an illustrious Chicago surgeon who spends his life trying to save lives in the hospital. In his life, everything is going for the best: he is married to a woman he is madly in love with and his only daughter, Jordan, is about to enter a prestigious university. Unfortunately, his life is turned upside down when burglars break into his home during his absence and take the opportunity to kill his wife and leave his daughter in a coma, between life and death. While the Chicago police are slow to find the culprits, Paul Kersey decides to take justice into his own hands.

Yes, the scenario for Eli Roth’s directing is agreed upon and has already been seen. He irremediably makes one think, in his approach, of series B of the past, like the Taken trilogy carried by Liam Neeson. No surprises during the screening therefore: what Death Wish offers is very clear and we already know why we came. What is also certain is that we are having a good time. The various action scenes are of high quality, well interwoven in the film and ingeniously choreographed. It is a real pleasure to find Bruce Willis in a production which gives him more considerable means to direct him.

Moreover, the staging of Eli Roth is more than effective even if we regret its lack of originality. The feature film is centered around Paul Kersey, which results in a camera often close to the character, as if to make us feel at his side.

All of this translates into a strange rhythm. Sometimes the film seems to get carried away, which may appeal to an audience looking for raw action, but it also gives itself time to evolve. The beginning is somewhat slow, but it is quite logical: it allows to lay the foundations of the story. Everything gets carried away in the second part but we still regret the drop in pace which prevents the spectator from fully immersing himself. We still retain a bloody rise in power that should appeal to purists. In this sense, the violence advocated by Death Wish is interesting, almost aesthetic. This is, moreover, a point on which Eli Roth’s achievement focuses: trying to give legitimacy to the violence that lies dormant in every man.

Politically incorrect?
Behind its rather banal synopsis, the film still risks dividing. Blame it on a decidedly political background and tone. Under the guise of telling the story of a father who turns into a bloodthirsty vigilante, Death Wish also wants to reflect on the ease with which we can get weapons in the United States. Eli Roth’s position on the subject is also quite difficult to discern even if one understands, thanks to several sequences used to divide the story, that he does not appreciate the current policy pursued by his country. What to revive, once again, the debate.

The feature film is a kind of guilty pleasure. We know that we should not expect much and yet we have fun following the adventures of a resuscitated Bruce Willis. The performance of the American is noteworthy and we feel that he took pleasure in finding a role close to those who made him an international star. If he does not compete for the Oscar, it is clear that we must continue to play this man in the cinema and we can not wait to find him, in the future, in the suites of Split and Die Hard .

Unfortunately, not all are at the same level. If Élisabeth Shue and Camila Morrone deliver honorable performances, Vincent D’Onofrio disappoints. The one who plays Franck, Paul’s brother, stands still and seems little involved. It is the same for Dean Norris who turns in circles with this new role of detective that he sometimes overplay. Pity.