Vault Movie Review: “Death Wish”

Updated on September 9, 2019
Movie Beasts profile image

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Death Wish

Theatrical Release: 3/2/2018
Theatrical Release: 3/2/2018 | Source

Synopsis

Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a respected surgeon. He has a loving wife and daughter who both mean the world to him. However, one evening when he is at work, a couple of burglars break into his house. They expected to find the house empty, an easy job, but things go haywire when the burglars find Paul Kersey’s wife and daughter in the house. During the chaos, Paul Kersey’s wife is killed and his daughter is severely injured. She will survive, but she is in a coma and it is unclear if or when she will wake up.

Paul Kersey is devastated, and he is angry. He wants to see the men responsible brought to justice, but it seems that the police do not have any leads regarding who did this. Paul Kersey cannot sit idly by as his wife’s murder (and his daughters near fatal injury) ends up as just another open case that the police cannot solve. He decides to take matters into his own hands, so he gets a gun with the intent of getting some vigilante justice. The only problem is that he has no idea where to start.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
Bruce Willis (+4pts)
Predictable (-5pts)
Vengeance (+6pts)
The Training (-3pts)
Frank (+2pts)
Detective Raines (-3pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.
Source

Pro: Bruce Willis (+4pts)

To be clear, Bruce Willis did not exactly deliver a riveting performance. However, unsurprisingly, he played the badass character really well. How many times has he played a character just like this? He has done it a lot, but he plays these types of characters effectively, and this role was no exception.

I would have liked to see this character have more emotion or have more heart, but that is not what you get when you get Bruce Willis. With Bruce Willis, you get an action hero and an actor that plays badass characters effectively. Despite his characters almost non-existent training (which I will get into later), you believe that the character is capable of doing what he is doing because Bruce Willis is believable in the role. Plus, it does not hurt that it is just entertaining to see him play characters like this.

Source

Con: Predictable (-5pts)

There was absolutely nothing special or unexpected that happened in this movie. If you have seen this trailer, than you will know exactly how this movie will play out. This is not because the trailer gives everything away, but rather, the filmmakers did absolutely everything you would expect them to, given the premise. I could give examples, but I want to to avoid spoilers. We have seen this story before, and we have seen many similar stories as well. The filmmakers of this movie did not seem to want to do anything different, and delivered a very predictable movie as a result.

Source

Pro: Vengeance (+6pts)

We have seen a number of similar stories before, from the original Death Wish to the Netflix series about The Punisher, as well as countless other similar action stories. The major thing that all of these have in common is vengeance. Sure, the plots themselves have some similarities as well, but these are stories that are about vengeance at their core. The filmmakers of this movie were able to capture that sense of vengeance.

Paul Kersey is angry, and he has every right to be. He is angry with those responsible with what happened, and he is angry with the law for being unable to bring those responsible justice. This is a movie about vigilante justice, and vengeance, and it was definitely satisfying. It was satisfying to see Paul Kersey taking the law into his own hands because, on some level, we can all relate to feeling helpless about something. This makes it so satisfying to see Paul Kersey exacting his vengeance. Does he catch those responsible for what happened? You will need to see the movie to find out, but what I will tell you is that he crosses paths with a number of criminals (unrelated to the crime against his family) who had been on the streets for way too long, and this was satisfying to watch.

Source

Con: The Training (-3pts)

Okay, so Paul Kersey is a respected surgeon. Before the events of this movie, he had no experience with guns or fighting crime (not that many people have experience with that last one). They try to cover this through a quick training sequence, in which Paul Kersey tries some things. He is no prodigy, but the filmmakers definitely breezed him through his training to a very unrealistic degree. I get that the movie is only so long, but the filmmakers should have shown more time passing within the training sequence. This would tell the audience that he has been working at it for a longer period of time without taking up much screen time, which would make the whole premise feel more plausible. Fortunately, it was easy to get past this issue within a few scenes.

Source

Pro: Frank (+2pts)

I liked the relationship between Frank and Paul, and I liked the actor playing the role of Frank. Frank was a relatively minor character in this story, but he was Paul’s brother, so he served as Paul’s only real human connection during what he was doing after the attack on his house. Vincent D‘Onofrio is a talented actor that gave this character the depth that made him much more interesting than the character could have been, had another actor taken the part. He was at times the comedic relief of the movie, and was at other times the loving brother that Paul needed. This was a simple, yet effective character that did not get much screen time, but was compelling during the screen time that he got, due to the actor in the role. As a result, this character left an impression.

Source

Con: Detective Raines (-3pts)

I do not understand why this character got so much focus and so much screen time, compared to other characters. The police in this story do not accomplish anything, that is why Paul Kersey has to take matters into his own hands in the first place. Even by the end of the movie, the police have not done anything. They are just there, pulling focus away from the main character and the main antagonist.

Dean Norris is a good actor. I thought he was great in Breaking Bad, so was temporarily excited to see him pop up in this movie, because this could have been a similarly compelling character as Hank from Breaking Bad. I say “temporarily”, because as the story progressed, it became more and more obvious that the filmmakers were not going to do anything with the character. The character had potential to be more than he was, but if the filmmakers were unwilling to use the character better, I do not understand why they gave the character so much focus. At the end of the day, this character was a waste of screen time, and was a waste of a talented actor.

Grading Scale

Grade
Category
Points
A+
Amazing
95-100
A-
Great
90-94
B+
Good
85-89
B-
Decent
80-84
C+
Average
75-79
C-
Watchable
70-74
D+
Bad
65-69
D-
Terrible
60-64
F
Garbage
45-59
Source

Grade: C+ (76pts)

With Death Wish, we have seen this story (or stories like it) done a number of times before. We have also seen Bruce Willis in action roles like this one a number of times before, but the premise is as simple as it is effective, so I was ready to see this story play out. Bruce Willis played the badass well, and the vengeance was satisfying to watch, but I had a few issues with the movie. The premise was simple and effective, but we have seen many stories just like this one, so the filmmakers needed to try to bring something different to the table. Instead, they delivered a movie that plays out exactly as you would expect it to, beat by beat, after having only read the premise.

The filmmakers also glossed over Paul’s training sequence which made the whole movie feel too easy for Paul. Despite the movie’s issues, I was able to somewhat enjoy the movie for what it was. It was a lazily made action movie, with a simple, yet effective premise, and was filled with satisfying vengeance. Was the movie great? No, I would not even say it was exactly “good”, but I was able to enjoy it for what it was, an average action flick.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)