Movie Review: Death Wish

“Death Wish” (2018)


The Closet Conservative

Is this a movie that has Liberals squirming in their seats? Absolutely… A movie that is a Conservatives wet dream? Perhaps… A movie that will live in your minds as an all-time classic? Doubtful… A movie that will make you smile, laugh uncomfortably, and sometimes want to stand up and cheer? If you’re right of center, it’s quite possible… if you’re left of center, you may be more inclined to walk out of the theater.

Death Wish, the 2018 remake of the 1974 hit with Charles Bronson updates the theme, and replays the movie with slickness of todays technology making this time Bruce Willis the distraught father, successful surgeon, and folk hero to some, and vigilante monster to others. The radio DJ’s in the movie come on air each time Willis hits back and argue back the typical response to vigilantism, (And often with good merit), that society can’t have vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, for it then puts society on the brink of anarchy. So, Yes, we can acknowledge that in the real world, it would be difficult to accept this kind of response to criminals run-amok, but at the same time, we can “wish” something like this could happen. It indeed will be cathartic to conservatives

I’m not giving anything away when I report that the happy family of Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) and his wife (Elizabeth Shue), and daughter (Camilla Morrone) is thrown into a nightmare as they are horrible attacked at their home, and one of the family members is murdered, while the other suffers injuries that leave her in a coma.

In typical Dirty Harry fashion, the police try their best, but are for reasons quite unsatisfying to Dr. Kersey, not able to “do their job”, and protect the public. The movie then takes a sad and comic journey with his decision to turn to vigilantism. It’s not a wake up one day and go out on a rampage. We see how he is progressively more depressed and frustrated at what Chicago has become, and how little the police or public are doing to protect their citizens.

The first act of revenge is clumsy, but quite effective. The second is more methodical and premeditated, and turns out to be a great movie scene, right with the best that Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry would do. (“Go ahead, make my day…”)

More than randomly taking on the scum of Chicago, Dr. Kersey has a more specific plan of finding and punishing those who were responsible for the attack on his family. (Also a little like Harrison Ford, in The Fugitive) It’s clever and creative to see how he goes about investigating WHO the attackers were, all the while alluding the police who are now looking to capture the “Grim Reaper”. Two scenes where he visits a gun shop are played with effective drama, while bringing laughs as well. The second visit, is simply a quick cut, where he stands in front of the sales woman and says, “I want to buy a gun”. He does this toward the back end of the movie, well after he has taken out a few other scum bags with an illegal gun that stumbled into his hands at the hospital.

My favorite line? Had me smiling and laughing, and cheering. Dr. Kersey is out for his second “kill”, after he learns of a gang member who shot a 10 year old boy in the hand, and then threatened him to stay quite and obey his laws of the street. Willis approaches the gang member, in a hood mixed with kids and criminals. When he asks the Hoodlum, who is posing as an Ice cream man, if HE is in fact the ICE CREAM MAN, The Ice Cream man, pulls out a gun, and is about to shoot Willis when the Ice Cream Man responds, “Who’s asking” Willis without missing a beat, pulls his gun and responds, “Your last customer”! Bang Bang Bang!

You gotta love it…