We don’t get many R-rated mainstream movies that glorify gun pornography. John Wick is a rare unicorn in Hollywood’s PG-13 love-fest for action flicks where there are a lot of bodies dropped by “good guys” but the violence is about as tame as a Nerf tournament. Eli Roth apparently wanted to subvert this trend in action movies by making a movie that hearkens back to the days of the 1980s and 1990s where gun porn was both a celebrated and necessary feature in action films to guarantee that it wasn’t going to hold back on the machismo or the ultra-violence. In this day and age, critics, nu-males, and the Intersectional Inquisition absolutely abhor macho ultra-violence, and so it’s no surprise that Roth’s Death Wish stepped into the crosshairs of criticism from today’s critics with nothing short of a review-score death wish.
The film is currently in theaters right now. It stars Bruce Willis as Dr. Paul Kersey, a surgeon whose home is broken into by thugs. He decides to take matters into his own hands by exacting revenge against petty and not-so-petty criminals.
The movie received some uncompromisingly harsh reviews from traditional movie critics who went into the film holding firm to their Leftist politics while projecting their disdain for the movie’s depiction of what they called “torture porn”.
At the moment Eli Roth’s Death Wish holds a 15% out of 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Average movie goers already have it scored at an 86% out of 100%.
Rolling Stone’s review from the apropos named author, David Fear, drums up the anti-Right rhetoric by talking about how the film takes certain cues from modern day American fears and plays them up for spice and schlock. However, the review reveals that in this iteration of the film the villains don’t rape the daughter of Willis’ character like they did in the original Charles Bronson version, thus already affirming that Roth’s remake is still a softer punt than Michael Winner’s 1974 classic.
Fear laments Roth’s lack of commitment to politicizing this reincarnation of Death Wish, calling the director’s efforts “amateurish” and “brutish”…
“Roth applies a blunt-force-trauma style to everything; it’s like he directed this movie while still in character as Inglourious Basterds’ “Bear Jew.” Which makes sense, given that all he really cares about here is the chance to stage some, like, bitchin’ kills! Ask him to have some sort of ideology about the world outside of the theater, and he comes up blank or brutish.”
Splice Today’s Stephen Silver doesn’t even try hide a sliver of disdain for what he believes to be a pro-Trump, NRA fantasy movie designed for gun-totting Right-wingers.
Silver unashamedly writes out his review with the kind of angst and vigor one would find from a pubescent girl furiously jotting down her scorn-seared emotions in a diary after her heartthrob breaks up with her just before the school dance….
“The new Death Wish is a NRA jerkoff fantasy, a love letter to guns, torture, extrajudicial murder, and the joys of self-actualizing as a real man through the commitment of wanton violence. In the works for years, the remake was clearly conceived as an attempt to cash in on the 60-year-old-guy-kicking-ass-to-protect-his-daughter ethos of the Taken films, before finding new meaning in the Trump era. If you nodded along enthusiastically to the president’s “American Carnage” inaugural address, you’re the clear target audience here.”
On a school grading system from an ‘A’ to an ‘F’, Silver happily trotted out an ‘F’ for Roth’s Death Wish.
Santa Maria Times’ Katie Walsh believes that the movie has “nothing good” to say about America’s gun culture, rounding out her piece by explaining that the film glorifies violence instead of providing political commentary on it…
“The film tries to have it both ways on the gun issue — Roth nails the perverse nature of gun culture in America, and includes commentary from radio hosts like Sway and Mancow who argue against lionizing the Grim Reaper, but that feels reverse-engineered after the fact. Ultimately, the audience doesn’t cheer when Sway passionately voices opposition to this normalization of violence. They cheer when Kersey, “a good guy with a gun” we’re told, blasts a bad guy with no recourse or consequence. What does that say about us? More importantly, what does that say about our movies? Nothing good in either case.”
Matt Zoller Seitz from RogertEbert.com stops just short of calling Roth’s film “racist” – instead he takes an opportunity to frame the door of the narrative but never musters the intestinal fortitude to step through it. Seitz makes it clear in his 1.5 out of 4 star review that this is a film aimed at a very specific audience, and he wasn’t it…
“The primary audience for this movie would appear to be viewers of Fox News Channel or CBS crime shows, both of which depict the inner city as a drug-addled outdoor charnel house where unmarked white vans kidnap young girls into Arab sex rings, serial killers install art-directed torture-dungeons in their basements, every other block hosts a black or Latin drug cartel or an Islamic terrorist cell, and the “American carnage” spoken of in Trump’s inauguration speech is a daily reality from sea to shining sea.”
Glen Weldon invokes the mockery of the SWM: the straight, white, male. In a review for NPR the film critic proceeds to avoid directly castigating the film as “racist” or “sexist” – a tactic most film critics have been seemingly using as a tactic to avoid directly being called members of the Intersectional Inquisition.
Nevertheless, Weldon can’t help but pull the ingredients from the shelf of SocJus, cooking up inquisitive propositions for readers regarding their intent to see the film, and essentially painting a good portion of readers as the kind of targets that the Regressive Left have been pelting with relentless force the last few years, writing…
“ Perhaps you’re idly wondering how this remake of a 1974 vigilante-justice Charles Bronson flick engages with its subject, and interrogates the original film’s assumptions and, perhaps, recontextualizes its central ethos of “we white straight men are under attack and thus are so completely justified in slaughtering — ah, defending ourselves — with extreme (and literal) prejudice”? […]
“[…] What do you reasonably expect to find in a review of a film that has been so ruthlessly engineered to target the pleasure-centers of the most fearful and fragile cohort of American maleness? To deliver unto them an elaborately contrived series of events meant to prove that their view of the world is both only correct — and the only correct one?”
AVClub’s A.A. Dowd praises the film for something many on the Right will likely disagree with, and it’s that the film’s villains’ ranks are filled with fewer minorities than the original Death Wish from 1974. Beyond that Dowd spends a great deal breaking the film apart for essentially being more pro-Second Amendment than against it, writing…
“Death Wish has all but devolved into a scare-tactics advertisement for locked-and-loaded home protection. Which is to say, this is very much a movie that believes that more guns, not less, will make us all safe. With any luck, that’s a philosophy that will soon look as outdated as Bronson’s facial hair.”
Not every reviewer takes the bleeding-heart Liberal approach to critiquing the film. Some of the reviewers at Forbes, The Fright File and Monsters & Critics gave Roth’s remake decent scores, which seems to resonate with how actual moviegoers feel about the action flick.
god i cannot wait to see this movie pic.twitter.com/iE0fMqy4F1
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) March 2, 2018
However, the vast majority of film critics were not the handful of reviewers willing to rank the movie’s entertainment values based on how entertaining it actually is, and instead focus a majority of their attention on how it doesn’t justify a concrete political stance nor does it provide enough social commentary aplomb.
However, Jeffrey Lyles from the Lyles Movie Files managed to squeeze social commentary out of Death Wish where no other reviewer could, like some kind of sorcerer excising blood from a stone. Lyles attributes certain imagery in the film to a knock against Black Lives Matter, writing…
“[…] the irony seems completely lost of a white guy wearing a hoodie gunning down minorities in Chicago being a terrible look. Maybe Willis was going with an Unbreakable shout out, but the hoodie has in a lot of ways come to be symbolic of Black Lives Matter and to see it so dismissively used in this context is uncomfortable.”
Basically, the gist from many of the reviews is that if you want to see a real man exact revenge against thugs in Chicago using the Second Amendment in ways many Americans wish they could, then Death Wish might be your kind of film.