Death Wish (2018)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Fox;
Action;
Box Office $34.02 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.
Stars Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp, Camila Morrone.

A knee-jerk reaction to director Eli Roth’s new version of Death Wish in these politically charged times is that it’s some sort of glorification of gun culture and a celebration of vigilante justice. This would be an oversimplification of any intent the film actually has, which would be the psychological examination of what it would take to push a reasonable person to the point of wanting to take the law into their own hands. If anything, the pro-gun crowd is portrayed a bit satirically and even a bit buffoonish.

A remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson film that was based on a 1972 novel by Brian Garfield, the new Death Wish is methodical in its set-up and leans more toward character drama than the kind of intense action one might expect by the casting of Bruce Willis in the vigilante role. It’s an unexpected approach given Roth’s horror credentials, though when the action comes, Roth knows how to ramp it up, even if the middle section of the film turns into a bit of a cartoon.

The psychological elements are pretty straightforward as well. Willis plays Dr. Paul Kersey, whose wife is murdered and daughter left in a coma after an interrupted burglary at their upper-crust residence in the suburbs of Chicago. With the police seemingly unable to make any headway on the case, Paul finds himself heavily weighing the words of his father-in-law, a Texas rancher who tells him that people have to protect what’s theirs and not rely on anyone else.

At one point, Paul discovers an unregistered gun among the possessions of a shot-up thug brought into his hospital, and he uses it to train himself to shoot. Inspired, he begins to patrol the streets to take out criminals, inspiring a wave of less-than-effective copycats and prompting the city’s media, including real-life radio personalities Mancow and Sway to debate the morality of vigilante justice.

Eventually Paul uncovers clues to discovering the gang that murdered his wife, giving him a measure of revenge that was largely missing from the story of the original film.

It also, to a degree, negates Paul’s reasoning for taking the law into his own hands, given that he has to withhold the evidence the police are looking for to crack the case. But that’s a debate for another day.

Roth in his audio commentary points out many clues he subtly layered into the film to hint at what in Paul’s backstory could have led to his decision to take drastic action in dispensing his own brand of justice.

It’s a very good conversational commentary between Roth and producer Roger Birnbaum, two guys who enjoy making movies and have no shortage of things to talk about with this film, from casting to staging to influences and all the themes they were trying to explore.

The Blu-ray also includes six minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary from the pair. The scenes offer some nice bits of additional emotional context to the main story of the film. The disc also includes six-and-a-half minutes of extended footage from the Mancow and Sway segments filmed for the movie.

There’s also a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. But the most fun extra is a version of the film’s trailer presented in the style of a 1970s grindhouse movie.

‘Die Hard’ 30th Anniversary Edition Disc Coming in May

A 30th anniversary edition of the classic action film Die Hard is on the way from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The studio on May 15 will release an all-new 4K Ultra HD remaster as well as a regular Blu-ray Disc.

The 1988 film, which launched a five-film franchise, stars Bruce Willis as a New York City police officer who flies to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to visit his wife at a party in her company’s elegant high-rise (the same Century City building that is now headquarters for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). A group of terrorists seize the building and take everyone hostage except for Willis, who must single-handedly save the day.

Fox also has partnered with Walmart to issue the Die Hard 5-Film Box Set, a steelbook-encased collection of all five “Die Hard” movies: the 1988 original, Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). The five-film set is also due May 15 and will be available only at Walmart stores.

The Blu-ray Disc reissue features no new bonus content, just the same extras as on a previous release:

  • Commentary by director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia
  • Scene-specific commentary by special effects supervisor Richard Edlund
  • Subtitle commentary by various cast and crew members
  • “The News Casts” featurette
  • Interactive style gallery
  • Interactive articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer
  • Full-length screenplay
  • Trailers and TV spots

‘Death Wish’ Debuts May 22 on Digital, June 5 on Disc

Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, will come out digitally on 4K Ultra HD and HD May 22 and Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand 4K Ultra HD and HD services June 5 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM.

The film earned $33.9 million in U.S. theaters.

In director Eli Roth’s reimagining of the 1974 revenge thriller, Dr. Paul Kersey (Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as it’s rushed into his ER – until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Kersey hunts for his family’s assailants to deliver justice.

Updated from the original novel by Brian Garfield, the film also stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise.

Special features include  commentary with Eli Roth and producer Roger Birnbaum; deleted scenes with optional commentary with Roth and Birnbaum; “Mancow Morning Show” extended scenes; “Sway in the Morning” extended scene; “Vengeance and Vision: Directing Death Wish”; and Grindhouse trailer.

Lionsgate Releasing ‘Acts of Violence’ on Disc March 27

Lionsgate has slated the action-thriller Acts of Violence for a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release March 27. The film is currently available through on-demand channels.

The film stars Cole Hauser, Bruce Willis, Sophia Bush, Ashton Holmes, Shawn Ashmore and Mike Epps in the story of a man who recruits a team to rescue his fiancée from human traffickers.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include a director’s commentary, making-of featurette, and cast and crew interviews.