DEATH WISH 2018 opening March 2nd is the remake of the famous 1974 Charles Bronson film (directed by Michael Winner) that spurned two sequels. A vigilante action film, loosely based on the 1972 novel of the same title by Brian Garfield, the film followed Paul Kersey, a man who becomes a vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted during a home invasion.
In the new Eli Roth version, Paul Kersey is now a doctor, a surgeon who has access to drugs and information that enables him to torture the crooks he is after, only because Roth loves this kind of violence, being the director of the two HOSTEL horror films. Dr. Kersey (Bruce Willis) becomes vigilante after being beaten up by two thugs right after his wife his killed and daughter out into a coma after a home invasion. Dr. Kersey hunts down those responsible, brutally torturing and killing them.
DEATH WISH 2018 delivers exactly what is expected – from Willis and director Roth – a no-nonsense vigilante revenge action thriller with predictably all the ends nicely tied together so that Dr. Kersey cannot be held responsible for all the previous vigilant killings.
The script by Joe Carnahan has updated the film with characters using iPads and cell phones that never existed back in 1974. Kersey’s daughter, Jordan (the very pretty Camila Morrone) goes upstairs to get her mother’s iPad before getting attacked by the home invaders. Dr. Kersey calls Knox (Beau Knapp), the main villain of the story on his cell phone to lure him out in the open in a night club. But the script while being manipulative, carefully devotes time to introduce the main characters (so that the audience can identify wi them) before starting on the action.
At the time of release of the original 1974 DEATH WISH, the film was attacked by many film critics due to its support of vigilantism and advocating unlimited punishment of criminals. But the novel denounced vigilantism, whereas the film embraced the notion, same as this 2018 version. The 1974 film was a commercial success and resonated with the public in the United States, which was facing increasing crime rates during the 1970s. But the 2018 version has more obstacles to face with the current events of school shooting, the NRA boycott and anti-gun protests around the United States. Worst still, the 2018 version is totally pro-gun which will make the film an even harder sell. It is not surprising that none of those involved in the making of the film, noticeably Bruce Willis have been absent in any publicity prior to the film’s release. It is also a point to note that Sylvester Stallone wanted to star in this new version as a anti-weapon police officer Kersey, but this never came to fruition. (Another point for discontent between Willis and Stallone after Stallone criticized Willis for wanting too much money to star in his last EXPENDABLES movie.)