Sedate Willis on life support
surgeon to shoot-first killing machine is jarring and far-fetched and I wish I was kidding when I say he learns everything he needs to know to become a vigilante through TV adverts and YouTube videos.
There’s a weird undercurrent of humour in Carnahan’s screenplay – with Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris’ comedic detective feeling like he’s been parachuted in from a different film and a clumsy Kearney kill evoking thoughts of a more extreme Home Alone – that really undermines the serious subject matter.
The first half of the story also meanders with Kearney’s pointless counselling sessions and a visit to his trigger-happy father-in-law Ben (Len Cariou) holding us back from the real meat of the plot.
Considering Hostel helmer Roth also grossed audiences out with grisly horror debut Cabin Fever, there’s a lack of true bloody violence and gore; bar one uncomfortable scene that sees Kearney carry out impromptu surgery in a garage.
One of the most interesting things about Roth’s latest is the differing stances taken by the media and members of the public on whether Kearney’s violent actions are justified.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Roth is turning philosophical, though; the director is still most comfortable arming his leading man with weaponry and the latter shoot-outs play out well.
But while the original Death Wish spawned four sequels, this clichéd, unimaginative remake is likely to be a one-anddone attempt at a series resurrection.