Review: 12 Strong

Quickie Review: Death Wish

Talk about bad timing. I’m not sure I would have liked this movie on any particular day in any particular year, but this week especially, it feels so… wrong. It’s a brutal remake of the 1974 brutal action crime drama Death Wish, with Bruce Willis taking on the role made famous by Charles Bronson. Heaven forbid there was hope to reignite the franchise. That would be a disaster. Please, Bruce, just stick to Die Hard(s) – or how about a Moonlighting reboot? I’m sure the NRA and vigilante groups will love this movie. That’s exactly why I hate it.

Willis stars as Dr. Paul Kersey, an ER surgeon who gets ‘woke’ to the scope of violence overtaking his city of Chicago only after his wife (Elisabeth Shue) is killed and daughter (Camila Morrone) brutally injured in a robbery gone bad in their upscale suburban home. With homicide detectives overwhelmed, Dr. Kersey decides to take it upon himself to load up on firepower, put on a dark hoodie, and roam the streets in search of his family’s attackers – and any other bad guys who happen to get in his way. His doctor-by-day persona provides him unconventional access to gangbangers, their weapons and their cellphones. And yes, even their hoodies. He learns how to fire a gun and bash heads in a most horrific way. As a surgeon, he already knows how to ‘cut’ to exert maximum pain. Those skills come in handy as well.

Kersey’s alter-ego captures the media’s attention as the criminal body count continues to rise, triggering talk-radio and tv show debates over whether he is some sort of guardian angel, or grim reaper, or both. I realize the good doc is burning for revenge, but whatever happened to “do no harm”? Beyond the obvious moral indiscretions, he’s pilfering valuable clues that could potentially help the cops solve additional crimes. Seriously, the whole thing is just uncomfortable to watch, especially in the midst of a gun-control debate that finally, slowly appears to be moving in the right direction. This film is counter-productive. My only ‘wish’ is that it dies a quick ‘death’ at the box office.

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