The latest trailer for Bruce Willis’ upcoming Death Wish remake has arrived and, on first glance, it’s a movie that really couldn’t be more poorly timed and woefully misguided if it tried.
Riffing on the 1974 Charles Bronson original of the same name, this update sees Willis star as Dr. Paul Kersey, a man who decides to become a violent vigilante after his wife and daughter are the victims of a home invasion.
Before long, he’s engaging in any number of violent crimes, taking the law into his own hands while the police sit on their thumbs, playing things by the book.
Death Wish’s release was actually pushed back four months in the wake of last year’s Las Vegas shootings and it’s not difficult to see why.
This must feel like something akin to gun porn for National Rifle Association enthusiasts and those who believe the only way to combat a man with a gun is to ensure everyone else is armed to the teeth.
It’s not necessarily a new concept either – Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington and Kevin Costner are just some of the names to have popped up in these types of film of late.
Yet there’s something particularly off-putting about this latest effort, especially in the current climate. It hardly helps that Willis is depicted as something of a white knight in the trailer, riding in to the rescue of an inner city black child caught in the crossfire at one point.
Because white people in positions of authority are the solution to inner city poverty and violence. A solution that apparently involves them shooting more black people.
Endorsing revenge fantasies of this kind is common enough but this feels about two years too late and in poor taste given what’s happened of late.
There’s also the weird dynamic of having Willis as a upper middle class doctor putting down lower class street thugs with wild abandon – and appearing to take a lot of enjoyment in it.
This feels like the kind of movie Donald Trump would endorse – the statistics quoted at the start of the trailer wouldn’t have looked out of place in his campaign – and that’s a crying shame when you consider some of the talent involved.
Not only is Eli Roth directing this right-wing fantasy, but he’s enlisted a pretty strong cast that includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris and Elizabeth Shue.
Perhaps this is all a bit too serious for what is essentially another by-the-numbers revenge thriller featuring an ageing actor in a series of unrealistic action set pieces. Then again, maybe not.
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