It's cartoonish that in the current social climate someone thought a remake of the cult 70s Charles Bronson thriller Death Wish was a good idea. Yet here it is.
Directed by Eli Roth (Hostel), Death Wish is a film so remarkably bad in essentially every aspect that I genuinely wonder if this is some elaborate joke and I'm simply missing the point.
How else could a film like this exist in 2018? Even if you set aside its brain-melting lack of logic and repugnant moralising it remains lazily directed and poorly written.
This Death Wish stars Bruce Willis (in the worst performance of his career) as a surgeon who starts dishing out his own vigilante street justice after his wife and daughter are brutally assaulted in their suburban mansion.
Willis' Paul Kersey, dressed in a hood and mercilessly killing gangsters and hoodlums (almost entirely people of colour, naturally) in an effort to take back the crime-ridden streets of Chicago, becomes a sort of violent folk hero. It is a nasty, deeply offensive, hard-right, wish-fulfilment fantasy, replete with tired cliches about the inner city -
evidently written by someone who has neither been to a city nor heard of one outside of bad 80s cop movies - and the occasional flickers of casual fascism.
Aimed squarely at drunk uncles and alt-right fanboys across America, Death Wish is a film with truly toxic understandings of masculinity, justice and gun rights in America – landing at an astonishingly bad time considering the seemingly never-ending epidemic of gun violence that plagues the US.
Sometimes, watching an awful film can be almost surprising, refreshing even. And then sometimes you come across a film so truly beyond redeeming that you can only watch with your jaw on the floor. Death Wish is the latter.
Bruce Willis, Elisabeth Shue
R16 (Graphic violence and offensive language)
The most staggeringly bad – and badly-timed – release of the year.