Bruce Willis, the sleepyeyed, highly bankable actor who frequently plays wisecracking action hero roles, has said (in 1997, 2001 and 2013) that he will no longer be doing violent action or “save-the-world” movies.
Now he’s starring in Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson vigilante movie of the same name. The twist in the new version of Death Wish is that Willis’ character is an ER surgeon. He sees the carnage of his city’s violence as one victim after another is rushed into his emergency room. When his wife (played by Elisabeth Shue) and college-aged daughter (Camila Morrone) are brutally attacked in their suburban home, Paul takes it upon himself to dispense justice.
Challenging an overwhelmed police force, the good doctor finds himself pulling bullets out of one suspect and firing them into another. His character may not save the entire world, but he is certainly adept at ridding the streets of Chicago of some bad guys.
As the anonymous killings of known criminals grab the media’s attention,
the citizens take note and ponder whether
the deadly avenger is a demon or a godsend.
Willis is 62, but these days 62 is the
new 32 (at least in terms of action heroes).
Sure, there is a plethora of Next-Gen Talent, but nothing that can truly light up the marquee like the old guard. Think
Liam Neeson, 65, Harrison Ford, 75, and Tom Cruise, 55. Admittedly Willis is not doing as many of his own stunts these days, but he still looks good in a sleeveless T-shirt.
Vincent D’Onofrio, 58, plays Paul’s brother Jack,who tries to reign in his sib’s anger. The supporting cast also includes Dean Norris, 54 (Breaking Bad), along
with actors Mike Epps, Jack Kesy, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise and Ronnie Gene Blevins.
Joe Carnahan’s screenplay, adapted from Brian Garfield’s 1972 novel Death
Wish, gives the movie a sharp and chilling edge that will challenge assumptions and push buttons with director Eli Roth assembling all the pieces.
Death Wish is rated R for violence. It’s slated release date is March 2.
As for Bruce Willis, who may be nearing the end of his action hero career, a sixth Die Hard – a prequel/sequel hybrid – is in active development. Some say the
films could mean a career renaissance for the guy who can play a smart-alecky macho man quite like no other.
Mark Higley is an Emmy award-winning screenwriter who
has written for many soap operas including One Life to
Live and Days of our Lives.