DEATH WISH BLU RAY REVIEW (20TH CENTURY FOX/MGM)

Death Wish is a 2018 crime film directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel 1/2, Green Inferno, & Knock Knock). It’s based off the 1972 novel by Brian Garfield. Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, Pride and Glory, Smokin’ Aces, & Narc) is credited as the sole screenwriter for the final cut but there’s speculation that 8 other writers got involved before it was actually shot. It’s a remake of the 1974 film & the 6th installment in the series. It’s been developed many times since 2006 before it finally got made. Various high profile directors & actors were linked to this project at some point. It’s the first film to be distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer since 2010. This is Bruce Willis’s first major theatrical release since 2014 after doing countless direct to video movies over the years.

Paul Kersey (played by: Bruce Willis from Die Hard franchise, Pulp Fiction, Unbreakable, & Sin City 1/2) is a trauma surgeon at a Chicago hospital. He is married to Lucy (played by: Elisabeth Shue from Adventures in Babysitting, Leaving Las Vegas, Back to the Future Part II/III, & The Karate Kid) & they have a daughter named Jordan (played by: Camila Morrone from Never Goin’ Back) together. It’s his birthday & Miguel (played by: Luis Oliva from Mother!) is a valet that overhears their plans for the night. He sees it as an opportunity to make some quick cash. He takes a screenshot of their address & sends it to his criminal associates Unfortunately, Paul gets called away for work so their plans get cancelled & the girls end up with plans of making a cake at home instead. Leader Knox (played by: Beau Knapp from The Nice Guys, The Finest Hours, Southpaw, & Run All Night) with The Fish (played by: Jack Kesy from Deadpool 2, Baywatch, & The Strain) & Joe (played by: Ronnie Gene Blevins from Suburban Gothic, The Hatred, & Joe) under masks go into the Kersey home expecting it to be empty but they get a surprise!

The thieves just wanted cash & valuable items but it turns into something completely unexpected. After the tragedy, Paul tries to get help from Detective Kevin Raines (played by: Dean Norris from Breaking Bad, Under the Dome, Lethal Weapon 2, & Total Recall) to find out who’s responsible for this life changing event. After no results & seeing so much crime happen in the city Paul decides to take matters in his own hands. He saves a woman & brutally kills two scumbags during the process. He starts helping others & the outcome is dangerous. The local media call him Chicago’s “Grim Reaper”. Detective Raines & his partner Detective Leonore Jackson (played by: Kimberly Elise from Set it Off & John Q) investigate these mysterious crimes. The detectives suspect Paul’s brother Frank (played by: Vincent D’Onofrio from Full Metal Jacket, Daredevil, Ed Wood, & Jurassic World) at one point. Miguel comes into the hospital & ends up dying there. Paul notices he’s wearing his stolen watch so he takes his phone. This leads him to a deadly confrontation with the men who caused him all this recent pain & suffering. What happens when a normal man goes too far & can’t come back? Is revenge worth losing what’s left in his life?

Is it better than the original? NO! Is it better than some of the sequels? YES! Death Wish manages to create it’s own universe & give it’s own unique spin rather than being a complete copycat of the classic. Bruce Willis has been doing lots of low budget & direct to video releases for some reason lately. I am a huge fan of his but a decent amount of those features he doesn’t even try or has a small cameo in them. This is his best performance in a very long time! It’s good to see him back doing something like this. I know he seems to be a love it or hate it type of film maker but I’ve enjoyed every Eli Roth film so far & this remake didn’t disappoint. The known horror director put his own stamp on the beloved franchise. He proved he can shoot other genres if given the chance with this production. The supporting cast was top notch & it increased the quality of the overall feature. The script was way better than expected & it really tailored to Bruce’s style. You can see some of the influence of his previous characters in Death Wish. It delivered in the violence & gore department with some gruesome kills. I am hoping they make more of these films in the future. It was a fun & entertaining ride with one of all time great action stars. I highly recommend this, give it a shot!!!!

Let’s talk about the high definition presentation on this blu ray! This 1080p (2.40:1) transfer looks real clean & it’s shot very polished. I was expecting something for dark & gritty but visually it looks fantastic. It features 4 different audio options English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & English: Dolby Digital 5.1 on here. Considering this has lots of action, the track really booms & sounds amazing in your home system. It also includes English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.

Let’s discuss the special features on this release! “Audio Commentary” by Director Eli Roth & Producer Roger Birnbaum. They mention they are recording this on the day of the theatrical release. Roger says he had this remake developed for 7 years now. They talk about setting it in Chicago. They mention they actually only shot one day in Chicago & the rest of the film was shot in Canada. They bring up several cast members & talk about casting them for this production. Eli brings up the DP & says that he wanted a more polished look to this remake compared to something gritty. They chat about rehearsing the home invasion scene & the look of the burglars.They say most of the doctors & nurses in this are actually real not actors. Eli gets real specific during key scenes & gives great detail about the situations. They highlight the character development during the film. They bring up the quality special effects & using medical knowledge to their advantage. They mention that the dark humor of the original Death Wish 2 was a influence on this.

Eli talks about the scenery change & different vibes for every major action scene. Eli points out a Dario Argento inspired Giallo shot in the feature. They bringing paying homage to the original at the end. 4 “Deleted Scenes” with Optional Commentary by Eli Roth & Roger Birnbaum & it’s a little over 6 minutes. On the audio track they explain & go into why each scene was cut from the final film. “Mancow Morning Show Extended Scenes” is almost 4 minutes & features more of the real life Chicago radio host. “Sway in the Morning Extended Scene” is almost 3 minutes & it has more of the popular hip hop DJ. “Vengeance & Vision: Directing Death Wish” is almost 12 minutes & it has interviews with director Eli Roth, actor Bruce Willis, & producer Roger Birnbaum. They bring up the experience of making the remake. Eli brings up how each death scene was at a different location plus done various ways & didn’t want them to be all the same. He jokes about Willis at the end resembling John Mcclane. “Grindhouse Trailer” is my favorite extra on this disc! This should have been the main trailer promoted everywhere for Death Wish! Last but not least, you get the standard Theatrical Trailer for the feature. It also comes with a DVD copy, digital code, & a slipcover. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!!!!