A friend of mine has a way of judging how good a Bruce Willis film can be in the modern era. Your answer to “How many days you think he spent on set?” can determine how good you think the film will be (and whether or not it can get into theaters). Lately Willis has been a staple of the direct to DVD action film community, joining contemporaries like Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal as churning out multiple films a quarter where you wonder just how long he spent on set based on the amount of time you see a stand in or a stunt double.
Death Wish, a remake of the 1970s revenge classic, seems to have had Willis for about as much time as he would on a film franchise like Die Hard.
Simple premise: Bruce Willis plays an emergency room doctor whose family is brutally attacked by thugs. When the detective assigned to the case (Dean Norris) doesn’t seem to care or find leads, he takes it upon himself to track the case down. Coincidentally he winds up becoming a street vigilante nicknamed “The Reaper,” killing a handful of criminals. It all leads to a violent, bloody finale that gives us the requisite happy ending a Bruce Willis action film of note is supposed to provide.
The problem is that the film is a remake without adding anything new or original besides updated technology and actors, et al. If it didn’t have the “Death Wish” moniker it would just be “Generic revenge thriller” and join its place among the direct to video thrillers Willis makes on a regular basis. There’s nothing special in anything; even the action set pieces, which should be something special, miss the sort of gravitas the original had.
The original is a classic for a lot of wrong reasons but the one thing it got right is that it made us care about revenge. This one doesn’t.
A commentary from Eli Roth and a handful of deleted and extended scenes are the most prominent extras.
MGM presents Death Wish (2018). Directed by Eli Roth. Written by Joe Carnahan, based on the novel by Brian Garfield and the 1974 screenplay by Wendell Mayes Starring Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp. Run Time: 107 minutes. Rated R. Released on: 6.5.18
Tags: Bruce Willis, Death Wish, Eli Roth, Joe Carnahan