Bruce Willis a legend that will live on in the halls of action movies. The stoic face, the rugged muscles, and the ability to wield every type of gun are just some of the qualities that make him stand amongst the heroes of the action world. Tonight, a fellow friend attends the movies with me to help determine what his next film entitled Death Wish holds in store. Does another rogue cop movie hold bar, or is Willis just spinning our wheels? Robbie K and friend are here to provide some info. Let’s get started!
Comedic Timing: Shocker, you aren’t going to see this movie for comedy, but Death Wish has it anyway. While not straight up laughing, slapstick or one-liners, Death Wish’s comedy comes more from the pokes at society this movie portrays. Primarily aimed at the media blowing up articles into the latest entertainment, Death Wish is not afraid to call us out on turning everything into entertainment. In addition, Willis manages to drop some well-timed insults into the mix, often geared toward the unreliability of the law enforcement that plagues our world. Such small nuances aren’t the wettest humor, but it works given the tone of this movie.
Moral Debates: Another movie, another means to provide a medium to have ethical debates. Like so many people these days, people take drastic action to make change happen, and Death Wish is just a series of clips that raise this question. Gun vigilante may seem extreme, but sadly in this day and age it is not, and it makes one wonder how far you are willing to go to bring about the change. Is it preachy? Yes, but that underlying theme acts as the character development in this rather simple plot and works to add a little more meaning to the plot.
Edgy action: If you’ve seen the trailers, you know the movie is meant to be another example of why Bruce Willis is the man with the exciting plan. Death Wish fulfills that promise, giving you a movie that has drops flashy stunts and CGI for down and dirty shoot outs. And while crime shootings are often one dimensional, monotone blowouts, Death Wish manages to add some different angles to the mix that are loaded with a dark tone to really bring out the suspense. What adds even more thrills, is that Death Wish manages to avoid falling into invincible syndrome, giving some more realistic qualities to our hero so you can relate and potentially get hooked into the suspense. With all this edge, it refreshes the action genre that has gotten stale with their ridiculous antics.
Good pace: A final nod, outside of a well reflected soundtrack, is the pace of the movie. A little bit of time is needed at the beginning to get things revved up, but once the first gun blazes, things kick up into gear. Death Wish is a film that is all about pacing, shedding little time on the irrelevant details so you get as much hunting as you could possibly want. It certainly does not feel slow!
Savage, Dark, Suffering: My friend doesn’t mind this aspect, and truth is I can handle it too, but for others this movie has a little more graphic torturing than you might be thinking. Those with weak constitutions, may need to avert their eyes a few times at the bloody fates our extras have in store. If you can’t handle this blood and cringe worthy tactics, you need to think about watching the movie as it’s not all quick finishes and sunshine. In fact, some may be depressed seeing the light fade out of the eyes of a few of the reaper’s victims.
Blunt ends: Death Wish’s writing had plenty of storytelling elements and potential plots contained within, but many of these we felt were bluntly dropped into the mix. The Ice Cream Man for instance held little difference outside of his scene on the trailers, though you thought he might have had a little more sway. There are other examples of this, each one starting to build steam or provide a new dynamic for Willis’ character, but sadly they didn’t quite develop all these elements that could have been something more.
Action in the Trailers: This is one of those movies that if you have seen the trailer a lot, or have a good memory, you’re going to unfortunately see a lot of familiar scenes. Most of the action scenes have been completely shown in the trailer, a testament to how long these scenes are. Therefore, watch the trailer enough time, and you’ve got a little in regards to surprises with the action scenes, and not much from the plot either. A dilution of story, surprise, and suspense, the movie needed a little tweaking to help out break out of the shell.
Unrealistic: Wow, an action movie that leaves the reality and goes to the realm of fiction, not the first time we’ve seen this happen. However, given the more realistic tone of Death Wish, you would think they would work a little harder to keep this going. First there are some plot holes my friend picked out, that came out of left field. Yeah, they worked to transition the scenes, but some of these stretches were farfetched, unable to support the method behind Willis’ hunt. Then comes the lacking brains, skills, or ingenuity that the black-market population follow. How in the world did guards not be posted every single hit target these supposedly elite thieves had? How did Willis find these steps to contact the guys, or vice versa? Small things for some, but for this reviewer that deviation was hard to stomach. Finally, Willis’ character somehow manages to avoid detection with just a hoodie. Batman is able to mask via technology and a legitimate costume, but in this day of media/sharing/and the internet, how in did he avoid detection for so long. If I knew I just had to put a sleeve over my head and look down to be invisible, I would have done this in undergrad. Thus, the realistic action movie loses its realistic edge.
Despite the limitations, Death Wish is the action movie to liven things up and bring those edges the series needs. The realistic tone, with character development is the hard-hitting angle the genre needed, and the morale dilemma is a nice added bonus. If you are looking for that grittier element, this movie is certainly the one for you, lacking restraints to unleash the violence full swing. Yet, the movie still needs to watch its story writing making sure to avoid blunt, rushed ends and big stretches to have us believe. Yet, if you suspend this tie to realism, you will certainly enjoy this thrilling ride. Worth a trip to the theater? I’d say yes in this case if you are a fan of the legend.
MY scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0