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Death Wish

Death Wish: Debatable Morality?

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  • Bruce WillisElisabeth Shue...
  • Action & AdventureCrime...
  • Eli Roth
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Cairo 360
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Death Wish: Debatable Morality?

The film tells the story of Surgeon Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis): a model, and mild-tempered, citizen with a loving wife (Elisabeth Shue) and daughter (Camila Morrone). Kersey’s life is pretty stable, until his wife and daughter are brutally attacked. From then on, Kersey decides to take justice into his own hands. Kersey eventually transforms into a gruesome serial killer, who kills criminals: The Grim Reaper. 

Seen it before? Yup, about a million times actually. While Death Wish is actually a remake of a 70’s Charles Bronson film, with the same title, Death Wish‘s plot line has been used so many times before the release of this official re-make. 

The film attempts to debate the concept of vigilante justice. The film, however, proceeds to settle this debate quite swiftly. The film not only celebrates Kersey’s actions, it also does not provide room for any sort of catharsis; yes, the police catch Kersey, but he hints at continuing his revenge on criminals, without showing an ounce of regret. 

Another major issue is the timing of it all: the man’s wife just died, and his immediate reaction to her death is to self-medicate by becoming some sort of murderous Robin Hood. While Kersey does attend several therapy sessions, he only shows signs of improvement after embarking on his murderous spree. This is a clear statement that he is NOT okay because killing people, even if he numbs his conscious into believing everyone of his victims deserved death, is not a solution to a mental health issue. 

Moreover, the film does not provide enough context for Kersey’s professionalism as a killer. The first person that Kersey kills is a carjacker. Kersey shoots at the carjacker, stands over him, and then proceeds to shoot him in the head. Despite all these gruesome details, the audience is somehow supposed to believe that this is Kersey’s first kill ever. The incidents that followed largely possess the same pattern: criminals who have committed minor offenses being professionally and creatively killed by Kersey in cold-blood. It was if the minor nature of their offences did not matter; all that mattered was Kersey using murderer as a channel for releasing his anger. 

Despite these flaws with the plot line, the film boasts great action sequences and wonderful acting. Bruce Willis’s on-screen persona as an action star surely added to the film. Willis’ performance is his usual ‘tough good guy’, mixed with a less hot-headed version of John Mclane, and a milder version of David Dunn. We have to say here that Willis’ performance helped uplift the film. 

All in all, if you are a fan of action films, Death Wish is surely for you. If you are, however, looking for an original and strong plot line, well let’s just say that you may want to miss out on this film. 

360 Tip

Eli Roth has directed several horror films. This is the first time he has directed a film that does not belong to the horror genre.

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