Se­date Wil­lis on life sup­port

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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