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


Eli Roth

Running Time:

97 minutes


R16 (Graphic violence and offensive language)


The most staggeringly bad – and badly-timed – release of the year.