REVIEW: Death Wish a little less Die Hard, a lot more Hostel

In his heyday, getting Bruce Willis for your action movie meant everyone was in for a generous helping of genre fare.

These days, he’s more hit-and-miss. And yet, when it was announced he’d headline a remake of the 1970’s genre hit Death Wish, originally starring Charles Bronson, I was excited.

Could this be a return to the bald, badass, no-holds-barred Willis of old? Would this revive his slumping career?

Well, folks, the verdict is in. No amount of sloppy gore sequences from torture porn maestro himself, director Eli Roth, can substitute for a thin plot and lazy writing.

Willis sleepwalks his way through this bloody affair about a men hellbent on finding those who broke into his house and hurt his family.

But the film takes the very real issues of gun violence and vigilantism and sidesteps them in lieu of genre tropes.

It’s not that this film is bad: It’s that it’s talent wasted. Roth can be a good director — Cabin Fever is case-in-point — and stars Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio and Elisabeth Shue are either underutilized or poorly used.

Death Wish is an affair that doesn’t so much offend as it just simply leaves the viewer indifferent.

And that, coming from a Bruce Willis actioner, is the real letdown.

2/5 Stars

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