Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Death Sentence: Death Wish for an Emo World

{Author's Note: This is what happens when I'm actually drunk when I write a review.

"Death Sentence" is a good movie. For people who like to watch regular movies, and new TV programs as well, most likely. Its a dark tour of one family's tragedy and one father's search for revenge, and sure to be the most hardcore action movie on the average "Lost" viewer's Netflix cue. (Did I mention that I hate "Lost" and Netflix as well? Support your local independent video store! And stop watching crappy TV!) Well, for a person like me, who has seen tons of revenge films, and loves them, this one is just okay. I want to get that across right now. If you don't own every "Death Wish" movie on DVD (Well except for part 5, but that one doesn't count), this is probably a great and amazing movie to you. To me, its an emo style look at revenge. I am probably the only film critic in the blogosphere that would say that there is such a thing as over developed characters. While all of North America and even some of the outer Aleutian Islands was popping giant wood for "The Dark Knight", I thought it was an over-long, over-blown, over-developed telling of a simple revenge story. You know what was a great movie, and by far the best Batman movie? "Batman" from 19 Eighty FUCKING 9. Because it knew how to tell a great story with enough character development to make you care but not the over-indulgence of the new Bright Eyes version of the bat. The over-developed characters on display seem more like an insult to the audience than so-called underdeveloped characters of the films of old. Do we really need everything this spelled out for us? I say no. You know what was another amazing revenge movie that knew how to portray an amazing battle of good versus evil without extremely emo bullshit that insults the audience's IQ? The original "Dirty Harry". I would completely hate to ruin anybody's viewing experience of "The Dark Knight", a film that I have no particular desire to ever see again, but at its best moments it was a somewhat gay remake of "Dirty Harry" for kids.

That said, "Death Sentence" is definitely a re-telling of "Death Wish" for the tight pants, tight shirt, Bright Eyes listening emo wimp in all of us. No, I'm leveling my extremely manly gaze at this film a little too squarely. I just like my movie vengeance served cold, not with horrible emo music and Kevin Bacon looking like a clown with a crappily shaved head and bright blood lipstick on his face. You know Charles Bronson is truly dead when movies like this are coming out. I have a feeling he would have killed everyone involved before it could have been released. See, why would I write that? Maybe because Bronson is an icon from his revenge movies, and this one merely makes me think that Kevin Bacon is a capable actor. Kevin Bacon will never be feared by anyone, so this film fails at that. I guess it makes him succeed at looking like a heartbroken, insane guy, but seriously, where is the fun in that? A heartbreaking, sad look at revenge yes, but I'll take "Vigilante" any day. A movie that makes the same points without looking like a crappy music video that tries to make me cry.

My final point: You can make hugely emotional revenge movies without wallowing in emo bullshit (like the Kevin Bacon crying in the shower scene, what is this, Stella?), just watch Kill Bill 1 and 2.

This film's target audience:

You know who's way more badass than Kevin Bacon?


jomilkman said...

yeah, i was never big on death wish 5, either. i will say that the lead villain had some notably strange dialogue, however. even his minions were visibly confused by some of the things he had to say

DJ Mike G said...

I gotta re-visit Death Wish 5, as a huge fan of the franchise. Part 3 is definitely the best one.