It’s a Patriotic Duty to See the New ‘Death Wish’

When the original “Death Wish” was unleashed across cinema screens in 1974, liberal critics clutched their pearl necklaces and openly gasped at the unforgiving vigilante film.

Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a nonviolent and sheltered man whose world is destroyed when his wife is murdered and his daughter is raped. Despite his peaceful and bleeding-heart background, Kersey loses it —and realizes he cannot stand by while crime runs rampant in his city.

Starting with a sock full of quarters, he soon graduates to a gun and begins doling out unrelenting justice, handing down death sentences to anyone who dares stand in his way.

Pauline Kael called the film “fascist” at the time. Roger Ebert rejected the movie and said it was “propaganda for private gun ownership.” Other reviews contained similar language.

Paying moviegoers had a very different response. In New York City (where the film is set), people famously packed sold-out movie theaters week after week and cheered the film’s populist take on the growing violence within cities.

The miniscule-budgeted movie ended up bringing in $22 million at the domestic box office — and it was followed by a whopping four sequels.

“Death Wish” has now been updated for the modern era, and “Die Hard” star Bruce Willis has become our new Paul Kersey. In these “woke” times, leftists were already ripping their hair out just from the film’s trailers, calling the work a “Trumpian fantasy” before it was even close to hitting screens.

The film is out in theaters now, and the reviews from mainstream outlets are just as bad as the reactions to the trailers.

"If the NRA made a feature film, it would be this," wrote Collider's Matt Goldberg.

While he's obviously trying to be insulting, that headline is likely to inspire a great many gun owners sick of misinformation and outright lies in the media to head to a local theater.

A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club called "Death Wish" a "fascist" work and a "gun-nut" remake.

"An old man's movie, made for even older men — impotent, angry ones," wrote Movie Nation's Roger Moore.

On and on it goes. Considering the timing of the film's release (which, yes, is rated R), we can expect the outrage and the heated conversations to continue.

We will, however, see no apologies from the filmmakers. Willis has never been one to bow to social pressure, and director Eli Roth has long soaked his stories in well-timed political incorrectness.

His 2013 horror film "The Green Inferno" followed a group of college social justice warriors as they jetted off to the Amazon to save the rainforest. They are shown as empty and shallow people only looking for social media attention.

Their plane eventually crashes in a cutoff society of cannibals and ... well, you can guess the rest. Roth's trolling of modern activism received a similar response to "Death Wish," but the director didn't seem to mind. He also doesn't mind the controversy around "Death Wish." He's already thanked his critics for the attention in an interview with TMZ.

Taking into account the over-the-top responses to "Death Wish," it's not too much to say that it is a patriotic duty to see this film. Films like this simply aren't made enough today.

Related: Kimmel Has Already Promised a Political Academy Awards Show

How many movies do we see out of Hollywood these days that receive wild praise from critics simply because they push the right social agenda or lambaste conservatives in a safe way?

"Death Wish" is the movie we need right now. Art is needed in the modern culture that pushes back against the heavy PC mindset in our society.

Just as with the first film, this movie takes on violence against everyday Americans in a real way. People cheered Paul Kersey back in 1974 because his grief was something they could recognize and empathize with, and his actions were, while fictitious and extreme, a fantasy many people have had (and still have) when the government, the media, and every other institution seems to turn their backs on everyday, law-abiding Americans.

Paul Kersey's story is needed for the discussions it will inspire — and for the humorous whining it is already eliciting from the country's politically correct.

PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter.

Last Modified: March 2, 2018, 12:20 pm

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