I include this movie as the final entry in the Death Wish review series because in a sense it is kind of a reboot of said series.
Once again a white collar business man witnesses an unspeakable tragedy with his family, and fed up with how the law fails to act, decides to take matters into his own hands. There were a few things I definitely felt were strengths with this movie compared to the old Bronson movies.
For one thing, Kevin Bacon is certainly no Charles Bronson, which helps as far as believing him as just a regular guy at the start. Charles Bronson’s action movie reputation preceded to such an extent that even in the best installment of this series, it took a little suspension of disbelief to buy him as regular old Joe Schmoe.
Having that for a movie like this ups the drama as our hero is never seen as a superman, and it also makes his transformation that much more striking. I loved the nod to Taxi Driver at the end with the new haircut, and action pieces here are all very well directed and effective.
Bacon hits all the right notes and is sympathetic when he needs to be, and also can pull out the crazy when need be as well. John Goodman has an important supporting role as a gun salesman, and also the father of the thug that committed the aforementioned unspeakable act, who supplies Bacon’s character with the weapons he will use to wreak vengeance.
I’m not going to lie and say that this is a deep movie, but it’s got just enough depth to make for a really good revenge drama. While it ain’t “Man on Fire” or “Law Abiding Citizen” levels of good, it’s certainly worth a watch if you’re into the genre.
Death Sentence gets a three out of five: GOOD.