“Death Wish, even more than its predecessor (which looks so genteel these 44 years later), is a call to arms,” Chris Knight writes at nationalpost.com, “suggesting that the only thing better than a gun for every law-abiding citizen is two of them.” Wrong!
Death Wish is no more a call to arms than Taken or any of Mel Gibson’s half dozen revenge flicks (including The Passion of the Christ ).
In fact, Death Wish has been almost completely declawed; there’s nothing in the movie that will offend either the pro-gun rights or pro-gun control side. Well, nothing substantial . . .
‘Cause I don’t know ANY firearms-savvy person who won’t groan when Dr. Paul Kersey gets slide bite from his Gen4 GLOCK 17 — firing it one-handed.
And while we’re picking ballistic nits, where did our hero get a full-auto custom AR-15 (F-1 Firearms’ BDR-15-3G) for the coup de grace?
I assume the movie audience assumes that Dr. Kersey bought the machine gun at the [fictional] Chicagoland gun store pimping AR-15-hiding coffee tables.
An LGS fronted by a bouncy flouncy guns-as-sex salesgirl. In a store where all [financial] transactions are videotaped — a sign of things to come in the movie and in real life, when Illinois’ governor signs the gun dealer licensing act.
Gun control advocates watching Death Wish will also be pleasantly outraged from time-to-time.
Like when Dr. K’s father-in-law fires his rifle at fleeing poachers and tells his son-in-law “if a man really wants to protect what’s his, he has to do it himself.” Thanks for the advice, Dad! Maybe we should have had this little talk before the bad guys shot my wife to death.
All that said, the Death Wish remake isn’t a Rorschach test on gun rights.
While the first movie had audiences cheering for Charles Bronson’s unsupervised solution to violent crime, the new Death Wish goes out of its way to avoid portraying Dr. Kersey as a social justice warrior (of any sort).
OK sure, Dr. K intervenes to stop a carjacking, pops a few caps and point-blank executes a thug. And yes, the surgeon goes on to assassinate a drug dealer holding a gold-plated 1911. (Hey, the guy shot a kid!) But that’s it, vigilante-wise.
Mind you, the carjackers and drug dealers’ demise are enough judge, jury and executioner firearms action to put Death Wish into full “both sides of the vigilante debate” mode, complete with Windy City radio talk show hosts hashing out the issue in on-camera cameos.
When one of the commentators mentions the obvious danger of a old white guy killing black people in poor black neighborhoods, it made me wish the new Death Wish had a black protagonist using a firearm to “clean up” black neighborhoods beset by gang violence, with white cops trying to track him down.
How about a black guy shooting white bad guys in white neighborhoods? Now that would have been an interesting movie . . .
Death Wish isn’t that interesting. Well-made, yes. But as I mentioned, it heads down the final firearms furlong in the safest, most predictable way possible, devolving into Payback.
At that point, Death Wish can’t resist the urge to lionize Dr. Kersey’s homicidal impulses. It depicts cold-blooded murder as therapeutic. Dr. K’s therapist: “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” Dr. K. “Oh, I will.”
In the penultimate scene, Dr. Kersey slowly, even gleefully tortures one of his wife’s killers, and then brutally murders the pleading thug, complete with a pun-based catchphrase. Any and all moral questions about vigilante justice are crushed in an explosion of low-life brain matter.
Death Wish ends as a damp squib. Bad guys dispatched, Detective Raines makes Dr. Kersey pinkie swear promise not to shoot anyone else (giving the Doc a Mulligan for the non-family-related murders). A nudge-nudge-wink-wink oath Dr. K definitely will violate with extreme prejudice (so to speak) if there’s a sequel.
If there is a Death Wish 2.0 sequel, you can bet the liberals controlling Hollywood won’t provide any kind of thoughtful exploration of firearms-related morality, psychology, sociology and criminology. Because guns. Because money? Yeah, that too.