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Parents' Guide to

Death Wish

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Pointless, thoughtless, extremely violent vigilante remake.

Movie R 2018 108 minutes
Death Wish Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 17+

Very intense and suspenseful and worth a watch!

1 star?! Ignore the Common Sense Media star rating and headline. This movie was a very good remake. I just saw it yesterday and it was well-thought-out and there was so much great acting from Bruce Willis. It is about a doctor named Paul Kersey who loses his wife and almost loses his daughter due to robbers invading his home. When his daughter is put into a coma, he then goes out to fight crime and take the law into his own hands. He usually disguises himself by putting on a hoodie and therefore cannot be recognized on iPhone and surveillance cameras. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and it is worth a watch to anyone who likes crime movies. The most disturbing scene, though, was when Kersey tortures one of the villains at a car repair shop by cutting his leg open with a scalpel, pulls out a nerve, and pours brake fluid on it, declaring that it is the most painful experience someone can go through without going into cardiac arrest. In a nutshell, he is very smart and figures out how to find his enemies in ways which most people wouldn’t know. The language is also not good and something to watch out for. The year 2018 was a very different year for Eli Roth (who is mostly affiliated with the horror genre) when it comes to directing movies, since he directed two movies that year, one that is not a horror movie, which is this one, and a horror movie that is kid-friendly, which is “The House with a Clock in Its Walls”, since he usually makes hardcore torture movies like “Cabin Fever”, the first two “Hostel” movies, and “The Green Inferno”. Positive messages include Kersey wanting his daughter back so much, that he does everything he can to find the people guilty of his wife’s murder and his daughters injuries, as well as the people guilty of hurting the other patients of whom he takes care, but since he takes the law into his own hands and does some disturbing stuff to the enemies he encounters, he is not a positive role model. Overall, it was entertaining and worth your while.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 18+

Common Sense Review is Rude and Innacurate

Death Wish is distinct from modern action movies in a number of ways. The acting is raw and authentic with a strong performance from Bruce Willis, and the story is personal and close to home. The film makes a more serious commentary on the classic vigilante character asking whether they are justified or if they're actions are criminal. This is not Batman in Gothem city, but a real man defending his family as many have done in reality. The action is nicely grounded in reality, free from the silly stunt work and exaggerated effects that tend to pervade and destroy so many action movies in recent years. The film is not without flaws but at its heart tells a very simple relatable story of a man standing up against his crime infested community to defend his family and the innocent people living there. Anti gun people and those adverse to cinematic violence will surely find a lot to complain about, but whatever is said, this is a refreshingly realistic story in the action genera and is highly enjoyable film with a good message. "If a man really wants to protect what's his, he has to do it for himself."

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (7 ):

Director Eli Roth's remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson movie (both based on Brian Garfields' novel) is not only awful, it's also incredibly thoughtless, with a brutish, simpleminded argument. The Bronson version was troublesome, but it worked, and it was the '70s. Now we're in a vastly different time, and the entire idea is insensitive and foolish. This Death Wish does offer a few arguments against vigilante violence, but for the most part, it wants us to root for its "hero" and hope he'll get away with his crimes. Perhaps worse, Roth's career full of excessive violence and torture -- including another exploitation remake, The Green Inferno -- indicates that he was probably more interested in blood splatters than in actual ideas.

The screenplay starts awkwardly, showing just how cozily perfect life is at the Kersey home, which supposedly heightens the "shock" when things go south. And it doesn't quite make sense that Kersey is now a surgeon rather than an architect (as in the original); a man sworn to protect life shouldn't resort to killing so quickly. In some scenes, he's as efficient as a streetwise action hero, while in others, he's ridiculously clumsy and careless. Willis can't help but play him with a sheepish look much of the time, and Beau Knapp is flat-out bad as a sneering, cunning killer. It's an unwelcome movie no matter what, but the argument between "taking the law into your own hands" and "letting the ineffectual police do nothing" is an insult in a time when conversation has moved on to more pressing topics.

Movie Details

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