Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a trauma surgeon at a Chicago hospital and he has a great wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) and
a daughter Jordon about to go to college. His life is torn apart when his wife and daughter are victims of a home invasion
gone wrong on the night when Paul was supposed to have a birthday dinner with his family (but he gets called in to work).
His wife dies from a gunshot wound while Jordon falls into a coma. When the case to find the home invasion gang goes nowhere,
Paul takes it upon himself to begin a quest for revenge when he comes across a dropped gun at the hospital. He becomes a
hooded vigilante which is dubbed as Chicago’s Grim Reaper. By chance, he if offered his first clue to the crew
who robbed his house which leads to higher danger for Paul as he gets closer and closer.
Eli Roth does a slick job of directing this second adaptation of the DEATH WISH novel by Brian Garfield, but Charles Bronson
nails the character of Paul Kersey with more emotional pathos in the 1974 film compared to Bruce Willis’s performance
which seems to try to dial down his tough guy too much (I’m sorry to say Bruce Willis doesn’t have the
dynamic range of the late Charles Bronson). The 1974 film version has more going on in the plot as the 2018 version seems
to have some unneeded padding like Paul’s brother (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) who seems to be just spinning
his wheels in a very thankless supporting role. Then this new adaptation tries to provide a commentary on vigilante justice
which just comes off a little forced plus I think the ending for the 1974 version fits the story better. The 1974 version
is more like e neo western where Eli Roth fails to make the new DEATH WISH into what it should be which a grindhouse movie
for the 21st century.
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