Remakes, in general, are frowned upon. Why attempt to improve on a classic, beloved film when an original works so well in the first place? And yet, occasionally, we land on a remake that attracts the right talents, and arrives at a time where the message speaks loudly to a contemporary society. I think that's what's happening with Death Wish, an Eli Roth film that stars Bruce Willis and just dropped its first trailer. And it doesn't suck:
The concept of Death Wish -- which first starred the late Charles Bronson in a series of vengeance thrillers in the 1970s and '80s -- is relatively simple. A man loses his loved ones to street-level thugs, then wages his own war on crime as a well-armed vigilante. Comic fans will recognize it as the story of The Punisher. Really, it's not wildly original, but it satisfies audiences on a primal level.
Is this all a little on the nose? Yes. The use of AC/DC's Back in Black is, always, too cliché for a trailer. And Bruce Willis has made a career of playing blue-collar dudes who are fed up with the ways of evil men, who steps up to the plate to clean up proverbial messes, usually with his fists. And guns. Lots of guns. When he puts his hoodie up, it actually looks like this is the sequel to Unbreakable that we never got. Which we will get soon (thanks to M. Night Shyamalan). But which won't be attached to this Death Wish remake. Confused yet?
Giving Death Wish over to director Eli Roth is intriguing. The filmmaker has been known for some torturous horror exercises -- and by that, I mean that he's not afraid to torture characters on screen in an effort to make his audience squirm, in the best ways possible. You need a strong stomach to survive an Eli Roth joint, and some of the kills hinted at in this Death Wish trailer look like they could push several envelopes of what's allowed in an R-rated movie.
Want to hear the funny part? MGM is releasing Death Wish on November 22 of this year. Just in time for Thanksgiving. That sounds like clever counterprogramming to the family drama Wonder, or the world-saving antics of DC's Justice League movie. But how many families are going to push back from the table on Thanksgiving evening and decide to digest their turkey with a bone-crunching screening of a new Death Wish movie? Come to think of it, that's a clan I want to hang out with.
We'll bring you more on Bruce Willis and Eli Roth's Death Wish as we get closer to the release date. And head over here for a complete rundown of all 2017 movies reaching theaters.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.