The trailer for the “Death Wish” remake, starring Bruce Willis, has been released — and it’s not that great.
While director Eli Roth has for months been talking about his down-and-dirty modern take on the ’70s revenge classic, the trailer for the November 22 release looks more like a sales video that might be shown to foreign distributors.
Willis shoots a lot of things — and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” plays for some odd reason.
That said, the poorly composed trailer does display elements of a potentially great movie. While the original Charles Bronson-starring film (which inspired four sequels) was set in New York City, the latest version of the vigilante drama now takes place in modern-day Chicago — a city plagued by an out-of-control crime rate that has unfortunately only recently entered into mainstream public discourse.
The character of Paul Kersey (Willis) has been updated as well. He’s now a surgeon instead of an architect — something that will no doubt come in handy when he takes revenge on the men who attacked his family.
Director Roth has added in other elements, such as actual radio DJs debating Kersey’s vigilante methods and a stellar cast that includes Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”) and Vincent D’Onofrio (“Daredevil”). He’s created something that could be seriously great and as socially and culturally impactful as the original film — which took the country by storm (especially New York City) in 1974.
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Only minutes after the trailer for Roth’s remake dropped, offended liberals were already melting on social media and throwing around words like “racist.”
The complaints have little to do with the actual trailer and more to do with the concept of “Death Wish” itself.
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Director Lexi Alexander (“Punisher: War Zone”) also chimed in, saying both the remake and the original movie were racist works. “Yes, ‘Death Wish’ was always racist … but that’s the f****** point. Are we not going to point out something is racist because it’s always been?” she tweeted.
So, according to these complaints, because a mainstream movie is finally dealing with the epidemic of violence in Chicago, it’s “problematic” — and because “Death Wish” is a vigilante story about a main character who sports firearms, it’s “racist” and “fascist,” too?
The problem with social justice warriors and the internet’s PC police criticizing art is that most art is about individuals and their specific journeys. These angered liberals think only in terms of groups.
“Death Wish” is a revenge fantasy about an everyman who is driven to the edge when confronted head-on by the crime wave that’s terrorizing his city. That’s what the Bronson original was about — and why it connected so deeply with audiences when it was released. It’s not about race or gender or anything else other than how far a person needs to be pushed before he or she pushes back in a big way.
The online outrage is likely not bothering 45-year-old director Roth at all. In fact, he’s long been a critic of the politically correct class and social justice warriors, so he may be enjoying that some people are up in arms about his film.
One of his more recent works, 2013’s “The Green Inferno,” was a cannibal horror movie about young elitist liberal activists who want to get their social causes trending online — and who wind up in a remote foreign village, where a tribe attempts to make lunch out of them.
It was a dark and satirical commentary on much of today’s empty activism and the PC nonsense Roth is so open in interviews about loathing. And it was a film that was attacked as politically incorrect and offensive by many critics on social media — just like “Death Wish.”
Roth told the Los Angeles Times in 2013 about his film and social justice warriors, “I see that a lot of people want to care and want to help, but in general I feel like people don’t really want to inconvenience their own lives. And I saw a lot of people just reacting to things on social media. These social justice warriors … ‘This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.’ And they’re just tweeting and retweeting. They’re not actually doing anything. Or you see people get involved in a cause that they don’t really know a lot about, and they go crazy about it.”