Death Wish (2018) Review

Eli Roth, the director of The Green Inferno and Knock Knock, returns with a new take on the classic action/drama starring Charles Bronson. Does this modern version hold up with the original or is it just another cheap cash grab at a previously successful franchise?

Dr. Paul Kersey lives a great life as a happy father, brother and husband, but that all changes when a group of criminals invade his home and kill his wife. Now, with a thirst for revenge and a mission for justice, Paul roams the streets of Chicago as the hooded vigilante, “The Grim Reaper” and shoots down any criminal that stands in his way.

You can’t watch a reboot without compairing it to the original. While Bruce Willis did a perfectly fine job in his new role, he just didn’t give off the same personality that Charles Bronson brought to the role of Paul Kersey. The reboot did a better job at presenting the side characters though. Paul’s daughter is now a bigger part in his development and Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as Paul’s brother helps in keeping the audience away from only focusing on Bruce Willis.

Another thing that the rebooted Death Wish does better than the original is the action. Unlike the original film, Death Wish has plenty of shootouts that all feel unique and different. Also, each action sequence gets more and more intense as the film progresses, which makes the whole experience feel very well paced. The gore doesn’t go too over the top, but there are a few scenes that have great shock value.

The writing of Death Wish attempts to blend older and newer styles, but it doesn’t pay off that much. The setup of the plot tries to come off as a classic revenge story, but it just feels packed with cliches and bland dialogue. As the film approaches its third act, it adds a villain for Paul to pursue, but the villain is so underdeveloped that he comes off as lame instead of intimidating. The last problem is the conflicting tones. It seems like Eli Roth couldn’t decide if the movie should have been dark and dramatic or humorous and campy.

In the end, Death Wish has quite a few problems, but the numerous fun qualities make it worth the watch if you don’t take it too seriously.


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