Charles Bronson (dod: 2003) lives in the form of Bruce Willis (still alive) in this film titled “Death Wish” but is strangely not billed as a sequel. From Bronson’s original “Death Wish” in 1974, here is the cut and paste quick version (with the 2018 Bruce Willis film differences in parenthesis):
“A New York City (Chicago) architect (surgeon) becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers (carjackers) on the mean streets after dark (sometimes daytime).”
And I’m okay with these copy-cat plots. In 1974, Charles Bronson, as Paul Kersey the architect, was the quiet, tough guy and was even a bigger star after his first “Death Wish.” There were also Death Wish II (1982) and Death Wish 3 (1985). All four of these movies from the Death Wish genre are credited to the 1974 Novel by Brian Garfield.
Ever since “Die Hard,” (1988), Bruce Willis, as Officer John McClane, became the modern-day Charles Bronson. Hollywood needs a Charles Bronson and Bruce Willis has worn the mantle well.
The surgeon (Willis) version of the vigilante who gets to shoot the bad guys and take the law into his own hands resonates with a public who believes that bad guys too often win the battles because law enforcement is overworked and restrained by civil liberties.
This screenplay is aptly updated by Joe Carnahan who is also known for his script for “The A-Team” and some episodes of “The Blacklist.” Once the money-boys had a good script, then hiring Bruce Willis to play Paul Kersey, was a no-brainer. This movie will be a success at the box office, but it’s still just an early March, pre-Oscars movie that has a simple goal to entertain and make money. Not there’s anything wrong with that.
The rest of the cast of Vincent D’Onofrio, an actor’s actor, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, age 20, and Dean “Breaking Bad” Norris made the plot workable and almost believable.
If someone asks about the plot to this “Death Wish,” simply explain that Bruce Willis’ wife gets murdered by bad guys and he is really upset, so he goes to his local Carter’s Country and buys some Second Amendment weapons and shoots the bad guys where it hurts. Rock ‘n Roll.
Grade 87. Larry H.