Death Wish (2018) Preview

As Jamie and Patrick eat some mega ice cream cones and take in the wonderful doggies at the Premier Dog Show they just feel thankful that they don’t have to deal with any vampires or interdimensional cops for a moment. Just time to relax to the max and wear some rad sunglasses while taking in all that Nashville,TN has to offer. As the show is wrapping up and the world famous Arf Collector Von Schnauzer is about to win again (duh), the #1 dog in the world is snatched up by a bunch of thieves who parkour their way out of the arena. Jamie and Patrick shake their heads at each other as if to say “Here we go again.” Hot on the trail of the parkour fiends they eventually corner them in a darkened alleyway. “Let him go, scumbags, and we might not have to use our twin powers on you.” Laughing, the head thief grabs Von Schnauzer and makes the tiniest nick in his ear. “Bwahaha, he shall never win another show again,” and they grab his diamond studded dog collar and parkour out of the alley. Concerned only for the safety of Von Schnauzer, Jamie and Patrick rush over. He’s fine, but his economic livelihood had taken a serious hit. With tears streaming down their faces both Jamie and Patrick lift the hoods of their sweatshirts simultaneously to declare, “you just created some twin vigilantes, mother…” That’s right! We’re watching Death Wish, the Bruce Willis remake of a Charles Bronson classic. It’s supposed to be terrible and offensive and more or less a walking advertisement for guns. Great! Let’s go!

Death Wish (2018) – BMeTric: 20.0

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(I probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised that this film is basically “above average”, but I still, somehow, am. It is pretty interesting that what I would call “average” gets a 20 BMeTric. I think this does, ultimately, make sense. The way we do it currently kind of suggests a 20 is very borderline, and could either be a good or bad movie. I tend to specifically hunt for 50+, with 25+ kind of representing a minor cutoff. The rating will tumble as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Eli Roth’s remake of “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis as a surgeon tracking the criminals who murdered his wife and put his daughter in a coma, is either the film we need right now or the film we absolutely don’t need. It depends on whether you think the movie’s self-aware take on vigilante daydreams speak deep and eternal truths about manhood, or reheat macho white guy fantasies of urban badassery that were questionable when Charles Bronson first incarnated them back in 1974.

(Yeah … that is basically what it seems like. The author of the book was pretty upset about the original somewhat glorifying vigilante justice. To bring it back during what could be described as a mass shooting epidemic seemed to require a delicate hand. Which doesn’t exactly describe Eli Roth.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsPLw7I06eY

(Poor music choice I think. Definitely comes across as very pro-vigilante. I’m glad they tipped the shock jock part as that is quite a large part of the film in general, and also probably its worst aspect for me. I think you have to be ready to buy into morning zoo nonsense to really “accept” the film as it is presented.)

Directors – Eli Roth – (Known For: The House with a Clock in Its Walls; Inglourious Basterds; Hostel; Cabin Fever; Hostel: Part II; Grindhouse; Future BMT: Knock Knock; The Green Inferno; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Arguably ushered in an era of torture porn in horror films. Played The Bear Jew in Inglourious Basterds.)

Writers – Joe Carnahan (screenplay by) – (Known For: The A-Team; The Grey; Stretch; Narc; Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane; Future BMT: Smokin’ Aces; Pride and Glory; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: One of the writers for Bad Boys for Lif3 … you didn’t read that wrong, the third Bad Boys film has the number three instead of an “e” in the word “life”. Is the brother of Matthew Michael Carnahan.)

Brian Garfield (from the novel by) – (Known For: Death Wish; The Stepfather; Hopscotch; Future BMT: Death Wish V: The Face of Death; The Stepfather; Death Wish 4: The Crackdown; Death Wish 3; Death Wish II; Stepfather II; Death Sentence; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Grisham credits him for helping him write The Firm via his Ten Rules For Suspense Fiction.)

Wendell Mayes (based on the 1974 motion picture by) – (Known For: The Poseidon Adventure; Death Wish; Anatomy of a Murder; In Harm’s Way; The Spirit of St. Louis; North to Alaska; Von Ryan’s Express; The Enemy Below; Advise & Consent; Future BMT: Monsignor; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Died in 1992 and hadn’t written anything of consequence since the early 80s. Interesting that he would get a credit here as it is arguably just a re-adaptation of the book.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Split; The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Die Hard; Sin City; Le cinquième élément; Moonrise Kingdom; Twelve Monkeys; Looper; Death Becomes Her; Die Hard 4.0; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Ocean’s Twelve; RED; The Expendables; Grindhouse; Planet Terror; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Alpha Dog; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Breakfast of Champions; Precious Cargo; Cop Out; First Kill; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Marauders; Acts of Violence; Striking Distance; Reprisal; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Mercury Rising; Loaded Weapon 1; Billy Bathgate; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Armageddon; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Four Rooms; Grand Champion; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Death Wish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; and in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; Notes: Y’all know Bruce Willis. Most of the recent news is about him selling a home in Idaho for $5+ million, and his vintage hot rod just went up for auction. It doesn’t look like he is having financial issues, although his recent film choices suggest otherwise perhaps. He has five daughters from his two marriages.)

Vincent D’Onofrio – (Known For: Full Metal Jacket; Jurassic World; The Magnificent Seven; Sinister; Men in Black; The Cell; Mystic Pizza; Escape Plan; Ed Wood; JFK; The Judge; Adventures in Babysitting; Brooklyn’s Finest; Strange Days; Kill the Irishman; Run All Night; The Player; El Camino Christmas; Cadillac Records; Chained; Future BMT: Fire with Fire; The Break-Up; Feeling Minnesota; Ass Backwards; Hustlers; Dying Young; Impostor; Chelsea Walls; The Velocity of Gary; Don’t Go in the Woods; Staten Island; The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman; Broken Horses; In Dubious Battle; The Winner; The Salute of the Jugger; BMT: Rings; CHIPS; Stuart Saves His Family; Death Wish; Notes: Can’t get enough of the D’Onofrio. Best known for his early role in Full Metal Jacket and then later for his long running lead role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It’s been a veritable D’Onfrissance lately with CHIPS, Rings, and Death Wish in the last year or so.)

Elisabeth Shue – (Known For: Battle of the Sexes; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future Part II; Piranha 3D; Leaving Las Vegas; Back to the Future Part III; Adventures in Babysitting; Mysterious Skin; City of Angels; Tuck Everlasting; Soapdish; Hope Springs; Heart and Souls; Deconstructing Harry; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; The Trigger Effect; Gracie; Hamlet 2; Twenty Bucks; Underneath; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; House at the End of the Street; Hollow Man; Hide and Seek; The Saint; Palmetto; Molly; Link; Don McKay; BMT: Cocktail; The Marrying Man; Death Wish; Notes: The always beautiful Elisabeth Shue actually graduated from Harvard with a degree in Government. Nominated for an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $34,017,028 (Worldwide: $34,017,028)

(Wait … the budget was $30 million? Why? What a disaster. Who decided that was a good idea?)

#15 for the Action Remake genre

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(Rollerball, Get Carter, Point Break, and Red Dawn are the big four. And we’ve seen three of those already! Action remakes are in a lull, probably because most action films are either franchises or adaptations at the moment, so there isn’t much room to remake the classic action films of … the 90s I guess? All of the remakes on this list are 70s and 80s, and the list is also surprisingly short, so maybe there just is no need to remake action films or something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (24/141): Death Wish is little more than a rote retelling that lacks the grit and conviction of the original — and also suffers from spectacularly bad timing.

(You know, I think this nails it (against all odds). It really is the conviction that manages to win you over a bit with the original. Here it seems like it is trying to play both sides. Winking when trying to convince itself it isn’t gross, and being gross when it wants its target audience to cheer. Reviewer Highlight: Vigilante dad rock. – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com)

Poster – Gun Porn: The Movie (A)

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(This font is perfection. It’s exactly the type of creativity that I’m looking for. I also like the staging and artistry of the poster with a hit of red as the dominant color. Still needed a small bit more for the A+, but this is very good.)

Tagline(s) – How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Family? (F)

(I give this an F for the fact that it is terrible and has nothing to do with the film. Bruce Willis’ family is killed/seriously injured in a botched robbery while he is at work. So… how does becoming a vigilante after the fact “protect his family?” Also, even if he had a shitload of guns at the time, he wasn’t home, so… Oh, and also if the night had went as planned then he and his family would have been out to eat together when the robbery occurred, so guns would have played no factor other than being something that might have been stolen in the robbery… I need to stop because this is nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – remake; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.9 Left Behind (I) (2014); 86.1 The Avengers (1998); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.1 The Fog (2005); 84.5 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 83.7 Rollerball (2002); 82.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.2 Prom Night (I) (2008);

(Well … Super Mario Bros. isn’t a remake … and neither is Inspector Gadget really. So Prom Night is the only one we are missing. Hooray? This keyword is a mess and makes me wonder why I even bother.)

Notes – During a torture scene, Bruce Willis comments saying it’s “the most pain a human can endure before going into cardiac arrest”. This was discovered by scientists of Unit 731 (a covert biological and chemical warfare R&D; unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during WW II) who experimented with various ways to torture someone without killing them by actually torturing prisoners of war. (ugh)

Eli Roth spent a lot of time with Chicago detectives to get the details of the police district (station) correct. In the film in the corner of an open murder case board appears a card that says “We’re gonna need a bigger board,” a reference to the famous Jaws (1975) line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This was something Roth actually saw on a board in the police captain’s office. (ugh)

Eli Roth wanted the film to be a modern, contemporary take on the story and used morning radio DJs Sway in the Morning and Mancow Muller as a Greek chorus to comment on the violence and function as the film’s moral compass. Roth wanted the scenes to feel totally authentic, and sent them the situations and let the DJs film and direct themselves and comment how they would naturally as if it was happening. Roth also used viral videos, memes, and the urban gossip site mediatakeout, which director Roth is a fan of. Roth wanted to show the reactions the way they would really happen, making the point that tragic violence becomes a internet meme within hours. (Oh god, I’m going to hate this film)

Originally set to star Sylvester Stallone, however Stallone backed out after “creative differences” and to work on other projects. (Honestly would have made a whole lot more sense with him)

Although not credited, Dean Georgaris re-wrote the screenplay from page one with director Eli Roth. There were nine writers on the screenplay by the final shooting draft, and the Writer’s Guild ultimately decided to give Joe Carnahan sole credit despite the fact almost none of his dialogue remained in the final version of the film. (The mystery of the writer’s guild)

In the original Death Wish (1974), Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey character’s profession was an architect. In this remake, Bruce Willis’ Paul Kersey character’s profession is now a surgeon. (Which I believe is in the original book? Although I could be wrong)

Eli Roth cast Camila Morrone in the lead role of Jordan Kersey despite her never having acted in a feature film before. Roth met Morrone with her mother Lucila Solá in 2011 at the Ischia Global Film Festival, and Roth thought she would be perfect for the role. After shooting the movie, Morrone signed with agency WME and booked two other films. (Wait … who is this person? No seriously … who is this person?)

Eli Roth met with Chicago musician Chance the Rapper before shooting to discuss violence in Chicago and talk about possibly collaborating on the film musically. Although the collaboration did not happen, Chance’s brother Taylor Benett’s appears in the opening montage of radio calls, talking with Sway in the Morning about violence in Chicago. (coooool)

Eli Roth and actress Camila Morrone did the “snowball challenge” all throughout shooting during the cold, snowy winter. The challenge was to ask a serious question during a scene but then suddenly throw a snowball in the other’s face and post it on social media. Roth was nearly always the recipient of said snowball, posted to Morrone’s 1 million fans on social media. (Jesus, these notes are nuts? And why are there so many of them? Because it is a Roth film?)

After the debut of the film’s first theatrical trailer, it sparked criticism from left-wing journalists and film critics, with many criticizing the film as “alt-right” and “racist”, due to the film’s premise and setting. (Which is probably is though? Like … even the original film is pretty much exactly that?)

This is a remake of Death Wish (1974) which was widely considered to be star Charles Bronson’s breakout role as a major action hero.

When the original was made in 1974 New York was the murder capital of the United States and had one of the highest crime rates. When this version was made murders and in New York their murder rate and crime rate had significantly dropped and Chicago had become the city with the highest murder and crime rate in the country setting records in 2016 and 2017 and a record over a three year span from 2016-2018.

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