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Film Review: “Death Wish” (2018) ★★★


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What can push a law-abiding person toward a criminal path? How far can that individual go if his heart is bleeding and wounds are still too fresh to heal? Based on a novel by Brian Garfield. “Death Wish” captures what may happen when the law fails to fulfill its duty – securing our streets from potentially dangerous hazards, preventing gangs from committing robbery or killing innocent people for a few bucks…

Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a talented surgeon. He fights till the end for the lives of his patients. At the same time, when there is no hope to save the life, he is honest and does not give false hopes to the loved ones of the deceased. His teenage daughter has just got accepted to a prestigious college. Being caring and proud parents, Paul and his beautiful wife Lucy celebrate this important milestone in their family’s life. This ideal moment of happiness and serenity vanishes in a blink when armed people severely injure Lucy and their daughter Jordan. Realizing that the law enforcement can’t do much to prevent the already significantly increasing violence in the streets of Chicago, Paul makes a radical, life-altering decision. He switches the career path of a surgeon to that of a vigilante, whose mission is to avenge those who harm the innocent and save those who are too vulnerable to protect themselves.

During a family dinner, Paul’s brother Frank (Vincent D’Onofrio) reminds him of his past when he could knock down anyone if desired. The viewer already knows that the man with an angelic face has a  sleeping beast inside him. When awakened, nothing can stop him until he brings the justice he believes in. At first, it seems only a matter of punishing those who have disturbed the beautiful life of an ordinary man. However, the gang members have no idea that by entering an innocent man’s house, they have unleashed his wrath. He seems like an unpleasant Christmas gift they would have never accepted under any circumstances, if only they knew what was coming.

Bruce Willis as an avenger is superb. His way of holding the gun, his look and the attitude is what we need in a crime drama. Indeed, the film is packed with scenes of violence but those are necessary in order to capture the anger of a man whose mission is to bring peace to people – even to those he has never met in person. Eli Roth, who has previously directed “Hostel” (2005) and “Cabin Fever” (2002), was a perfect choice for this film. We can see that he has used his experience from his previous films to bring the right tone, color, and atmosphere in this film. This all is the right recipe to create and follow a Marvel-type of a hero.

In conclusion, some viewers may find certain scenes very disturbing and violent. But even that won’t make you turn your eyes away from the silver screen. Bruce Willis as Paul is reserved, content and believable. The closing scene gives a hint of a possible continuation of the story. Or maybe, it is only my imagination that gives me that hope that it may happen at some point in the future. Having that said, “Death Wish” is an enjoyable crime movie about the world of constant violence that understands only one language. In that language, Bruce Willis’ character is fluent – no matter how harsh it may appear.

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