Snowflakes Are Still Melting Over ‘Death Wish’ Remake
A new trailer just out looks fantastic, but many people are accusing the movie of being an exploitative 'Trumpian fantasy'
When the first trailer for the “Death Wish” remake dropped last August, social media users were set ablaze.
The story of a man taking to the streets with a gun after a vicious attack on his family offended snowflakes everywhere.
A new trailer for the film, which will be released March 2, has dropped — and it’s only continuing to ruffle the feathers of the easily offended.
Chicago Reader called the trailer a "Trumpian fantasy," while Collider's coverage of it read in part, "Part of this trailer comes off like a white knight fantasy where a white guy gets to be a famous hero by killing off criminals, and the other part feels like an NRA ad where you get to be the 'good guy with a gun' who's actually nowhere to be found when a violent crime occurs."
This remake of the 1974 classic "Death Wish" has updated the story by changing the setting from New York City to Chicago — which led the Chicago Reader to utter its "Trumpian fantasy" comment. Director Eli Roth has said the move was inspired by the crime rates in Chicago and the national discussions around the issue.
Bruce Willis has taken over the lead role from the late Charles Bronson. His character is a doctor this time around instead of an architect.
The latest trailer suggests the film could be a worthy update to the original, a fun, poppy vigilante movie that also hits on some hot-button issues often ignored by Hollywood films, especially today.
It's the tackling of these issues that likely has some people pulling their hair out after watching the trailer.
To call the film's depiction of Chicago a "Trumpian fantasy" is ridiculous (especially based on a two minute-plus trailer). The fact that the president addressed the violence in Chicago in his campaign speeches does not make it his "fantasy." Chicago has been plagued with a crime rate that would be outrageous for many other cities and regions.
The Chicago Police Department released crime statistics this week for 2017 — and the homicide rate was 650 in the city. That's a drop from 771 in 2016.
There were also 2,785 shootings last year in Chicago. Not so much of a "fantasy" now, is it?
While Chicago officials praised the small declines in homicide rates and shootings, many others pushed back and said the numbers were still out of control.
"You still have to start with the fact that 600 people dead in Chicago is a hell of a lot of people to be dead in one year," Rev. Marshall Hatch told Time magazine. He lives on Chicago's West Side in one of the city's most violent neighborhoods.
With that many shootings and homicides, why would it be unreasonable for a film to show a family's falling victim to such violence (in a Democratic stronghold)?
As for Collider's "white knight fantasy" comments, many have jumped on the film simply because Bruce Willis happens to be white (has been for decades, as far as our research shows); and several of the criminals in the film are African-American.
Oh, and guess what? Victims of violent crime in the movie are also African-American.
Attacking the race of a movie's characters is degrading to that creative work. These days, it seems everyone has to represent some larger group in their opinions and reactions — which is always bad for art. And again, these criticisms are based on a trailer of about two minutes or more — not the full movie.
The Willis character also sports a great many guns (in the trailer) and seems to do so in an unforgiving manner. This is in keeping with the themes of the first film. Bronson's Paul Kersey is shattered when he falls victim to crime. With his family ripped to shreds by criminals, he moves from one extreme to another — he becomes an avowed liberal who detests guns to an extreme vigilante.
His character's actions are debated heavily in the first film; to that, the new movie adds the element of real-life radio DJs asking people for their opinions on vigilante crime. Viewers are supposed to walk away from "Death Wish" with mixed feelings.
Collider also said in its coverage that the trailer "feels like an NRA ad where you get to be the 'good guy with a gun' who's actually nowhere to be found when a violent crime occurs."
This, of course, is pure fantasy. As has been reported before, the "good guy with a gun" theory has been proven to be true time and time again.
In the end, the fact that snowflakes are melting over "Death Wish" and pushing back against its content only makes it that much more entertaining — and will only bring the movie more attention. To the offended, the filmmakers are likely just saying: "Keep melting!"
PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].