Friday, August 08, 2008

Movies: Death Sentence

"Death Sentence" bombed at the theaters, mostly because it's not a very good movie, and partly because Jodie Foster's vigilante vehicle, "The Brave One," was released two weeks later. "Death Sentence" is loosely based on the book of the same name (a sequel to the book "Death Wish"); Kevin Bacon stars as a father whose son is brutally murdered in a gang initiation. This being a vigilante film, Bacon's character soon gets revenge on his son's killer, and the resulting gang war threatens to engulf both him and his family.

There are really only two bright spots in the whole thing - Bacon's decent performance and the often-gory fight scenes (the movie was directed by James Wan of "Saw" fame). Otherwise, the story is even more patently absurd than the "Death Wish" movies. It's one thing to have Hollywood tough guy Charles Bronson mowing down criminals with abandon; it's quite another to have weepy Kevin Bacon doing it while still having reservations.

The movie never seems to know when to go over-the-top or play it straight. Kevin Bacon's character sobs in the shower after a vigilante kill. In another scene, Bacon acquires a bag full of guns and goes from complete novice to shooting it out with a gang of violent career criminals in a few hours (I guess reading the instruction manuals is mroe helpful than I'd realized). If they had picked one approach and stuck with it, the movie might have went somewhere.

Rating: 4/10

In a side note - does anyone know a movie that features lawful concealed carry by a nonmilitary, non-LEO citizen in a positive light? I'd wager they'd be as rare as hen's teeth. In "Death Sentence," an aware and armed Kevin Bacon at the start of the film would've just about voided the entire movie.


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