Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On DEATH WISH
MGM's action thriller DEATH WISH, starring Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise, will hit theaters on March 2, 2018. Directed by Eli Roth, with a screenplay by Hoe Carnahan, the film is based on a novel by Brian Garfield.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presents director Eli Roth's reimagining of the classic 1974 revenge thriller Death Wish. Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of Chicago violence when it is rushed into his ER - until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts his family's assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media's attention, the city wonders if this deadlyvigilante is a guardian angel or a grim reaper. Fury and fate collide in the intense, action-thriller
The film hits theaters today, so lets see what the critics are saying:
David Fear, Rolling Stone: "The one light at the end of this long, slogged-through tunnel is, surprisingly, Willis. It's easy to forget that, amidst an ever-growing IMDb page of action fllms whose names you do not recognize and the occasional well-placed cameo, that this man is a genuine movie star. As in, the kind of star who can fill a big screen with charm, charisma and the sense of watching someone crack, a quality that feels increasingly rare these days. Subtlety may not be a necessity in a film called Death Wish, but there are a half dozen moments where he throws a glance or makes a gesture that feels genuine, all the more noticeable in a movie that feels listless between shoot-outs. It's a thrill to see Willis engaged like he is here, and even his version of the original's final finger-gun shot feels like an old-school moment. Bronson would be proud of Bruce's tough-guy-with-a-heart. As for everything else about this failed exploitation flick, you wish his vintage Kersey would return from the grave and just blow it all away. "
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: ""Death Wish," make no mistake, is a movie that has its heart in the wrong place. It's an advertisement for gun fetishism, for taking the law into your own hands, for homicide as justice, for thinking of assault weapons as the world's coolest toys. Given that the eternal debate about gun control has now been heightened, post-Parkland massacre, to a new state of urgency, the film, depending on your point of view, is either horribly timed or spectacularly well-timed. An N.R.A. cultist might see the new "Death Wish" and think, "Hollywood finally made one for our side.""
Corey Chichizola, Cinema Blend: "Once Death Wish settles into its action heavy thrill ride, there are certainly spots of sporadic movie magic. The violence is shocking and quick, and Eli Roth's creative way of killing off the bad guys will remind horror fans why he became such a smash with the Hostel franchise and other horror movies. The man knows how to make gore work, and he selectively uses it in Death Wish in some effective sequences."
Glen Weldon, NPR: "That eager limpness is why this shoddy, formulaic and lightly repellent film fails as utterly is it does. It's useful, perhaps,to compare it to Michael Haneke's Funny Gamesand Bryan Bertino's The Strangers. Those films are similarly engineered to produce a powerful reaction in audiences - but that reaction is a nuanced and stubbornly difficult one. Their onscreen violence is luridly graphic, and it works on us in a purely visceral way - we find ourselves longing for the victims to turn the tables, to strike back, to exact bloody, painful vengeance. Those films want us to both indulge a thirst for blood and question it at the same time. They implicate us, discomfit us - and they leave us shattered."
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: "Eli Roth's Death Wish isn't a bad movie as far as super-violent exploitation flicks go. But it is a deeply problematic one. And that problem boils down to this: It's the absolute wrong movie at the absolute wrong time. With our country currently reeling from the latest in what seems like an endless cycle of sickening school shootings, there couldn't be a worse moment for a film that not only fetishizes gun violence, but also seems to get off on it. I'm sure there must have been long hand-wringing debates about whether to shelve the film for a couple of months and let the still-fresh wounds heal. At least I hope so. But whatever the case, the louder and more irresponsible voices in THE ROOM seem to have won out."
Amy Nicholson, The Guardian: "Early on, Willis's Paul makes the choice to withhold evidence from detectives Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise. His trigger finger's so itchy he sabotages the police's ability to solve his wife's case. Instead, the cops pursue the Grim Reaper, a script choice that has the side-effect of making the cops look so good at their jobs that Willis could have just stuck to scrubs. Do the math and Death Wish shows that every act of good guy movie violence just makes things worse, starting with his daughter's attempt to use her krav maga training against three burglars who only intended to steal some watches. It's an interesting equation if Roth actually wanted us to calculate it, but I suspect he'd rather erase all the bits that don't get rowdy hoots. (And in my screening, Death Wish got plenty of applause.)"