Last night we watched...well, let me sum it up for you in a poem. A friend of mine asked everyone to describe their day in a poem (she was bored) and this is what I wrote:
Played softball and my guitar too
Watched the World Cup hullabaloo
Gonna watch Bruce Willis blow some guys away
I’d have to say it was a near-perfect day
Hmmmm. "Gonna watch Bruce Willis blow some guys away". Dang, that could be just about ANY Bruce Willis movie!
This time it was "Death Wish".
Did you see the original? I did! In the movie theater! I am an Old. But I loved it! Charles Bronson blowing guys away! I remember two things about the original movie. One was the line Bronson spoke to a guy who was about to get death-wished:
BRONSON: Do you believe in God, punk?
BRONSON: Good, because you're about to meet Him.
And the other thing I remember is some other punk trying to avod getting death-wished by running away and protecting his face with his boom box. After reading the latest "How Old Are You?" thread, it occurs to me that not everyone here might know what a boom box is/was. Feast your eyes on this. Try to imagine a punk running while holding it in front of his face, and then try to imagine Charles Bronson death-wishing the punk right in the cassette player:
You know what? It has also occurred to me that the Youngs here might not even know who Charles Bronson was! Let's fix that.
Bronson was the first Action Star. He was a true badass who could pull himself out of a pool, or up a mountain, with only one arm (he had two arms, don't worry). Check him out, here he is lifting a much bigger guy - using only one arm! (I promise, he had two arms his whole life.)
Charles Bronson was a REAL tough guy. He came from a family so poor that once, he had to wear his sister's dress to school. It was the only clothes they had. Do you think anyone laughed? I highly doubt it!
Charles Bronson was so tough that he enlisted into the Air Force in 1943 and flew 25 missions on a B-29 bomber into Japan. He received a Purple Heart. They give those for soldiers wounded in the line of duty. Bronson was on an airplane. You do the math. No bone spurs for him!
Charles Bronson was so tough that when some dude named Michael Peterson became the most violent prisoner in Britain, he changed his name to...Charles Bronson! (He has since grown a Salvador Dali mustache and changed his name to "Charles Salvadore". I'm sure he did this because he was afraid the ghost of the real Charles Bronson would come back and death-wish him.)
Those are the shoes that Bruce Willis had to fill. Did he?
Meh. He did OK - I guess - but the real Charles Bronson would have death-wished him in about 15 seconds. So let's talk about the current "Death Wish".
First of all, it takes almsot an hour before Willis begins death-wishing people. An hour! Ugh. HUGE mistake.
Second, Willis plays a doctor. Oh the irony! Doctors save lives, but Dr. Willis TAKES lives. I honestly think I'm the only one that figured that out. Given the upcoming plot holes we will discuss, I am very comfortable this level of thinking escaped the writers, director and producer. And the star.
Speaking of the star, I kind of think "Death Wish" was, for Willis, nothing more than a cash grab. But I give him that right. After all, he's BRUCE WILLIS. He's JOHN McCLANE. He's THE GUY THAT DIED SAVING THE WORLD FROM THAT ASTEROID. And, of course, HE'S GOING TO GET ROASTED ON COMEDY CENTRAL (July 29, check your local listings). So we'll let that slide.
The plot is exactly what you'd expect. Some bad guys sneak into Willis's home while he's at work saving people, kill his wife, and put his daughter into a coma. We then spend 30 minutes watching Willis go to his therapist, and also to the cops. My favorite cop character actor is in it. Hang on while I Google who he is...
...Dean Norris. Man, what a forgettable name. Apologies to any Deans, Norrises, or Dean Norrises on the org. That's just a plain name. I bet you don't know who he is from his name but when you see his picture, you're going to say, "Oh, yeah! THAT guy! I love that guy! He was awesome in 'Breaking Bad' and when he played Rodent in that 'Married...with Children' episode, and all the other stuff I forgot he was in! What's his name again?"
His name is Dean Norris. He plays a pretty much ineffectual detective, with a pretty much ineffectual partner. They figure out who's doing all the death-wishing at the end but by then, they're cool with it - just as long as Willis doesn't death-wish anyone else.
POINT OF PARLIMENTARY PROCEDURE - Have you noticed that I've coined the adjective/adverb "death-wished"? I'm sure you have. It means exactly the same thing as "equalized" or "terminated". I like it. I like "equalized" the best though, but maybe because "Equalizer 2 - Even More Equalizing" hits theaters in less than three weeks. I also just found out that there was a TV show called "The Equalizer". More on that when "Equalizer 2 - Even More Equalizing" hits the screens and I write what will surely be a monumental review.
Willis operates on some street punk who's been shot to ribbons and somehow, everyone missed the Glock in the guy's pocket. But not Willis! He pilfers it, and begins to learn how to shoot it via YouTube videos.
He also goes to a gun store, where he learns that getting a gun legally is very, very easy. But since he has an illegal Glock, all he really does is stare down the bosom of the gun girl, and also take note of a table that has a spring-loaded gun drawer. You can hide a machine gun in it. Gee, I wonder what's going to happen?
Fully armed with his illicit Glock and his signature hoodie, Willis decides to become a vigilante. He comes across a carjacking and death-wishes a dude right in the street. This being the Age of the Cell Phone, someone records it and uploads it. The Grim Reaper is born!
Then he death-wishes some more punks, including the Ice Cream Man. Talk radio is in an uproar! The makers of "Death Wish" clearly had a partnership with SiriusXM because 3 or 4 of their talk radio hosts appear a bunch, debating the merits of a guy who goes around death-wishing people.
One talk show guy is Mancow. His show was on the radio in Houston back in the 90's. I remember when he hit the airwaves. "Mancow? Is he a man? A cow? A man who has a love for cows? And if so, is it an unhealthy love? Who calls their self 'Mancow' anyway?" He's a shock-jock and I have no use for shock-jocks but I will say this - after saying waterboarding wasn't torture, he got himself waterboarded. And completely changed his tune. So he has that going, which is nice.
A shot-up dude ends up in Willis's hospital. Willis recognizes guy as a valet at Willis's favorite restaurant. Willis also sees that the dude is wearing his stolen watch, so he snags the dude's phone and, using the dude's dead thumb, opens the phone and finds some relevant information. Namely, that the dude had taken a picture of Willis's home address on Willis's car's GPS, and that the dude apparently fenced stuff at a liquor store. Willis goes to the liquor store.
Mayhem ensues, and ends in a way that would make Rube Goldberg proud. The liquor store owner texts one of the three dudes who killed Willis's wife. He shows up and there's a gunfight. The liquor store owner gets death-wished, although it's on accident by the other bad guy and not by Willis. Willis gets injured, and is laying down - an easy target for the bad guy. But wait! Apparently the liquor store owner was a pretty good bowler, because there are bowling trophies on the shelf above. And also a bowling ball! Which, in the melee, got knocked off its pedestal and is rolling down the shelf. It's going to fall! Where is it going to land?!?!?
Yep - right on the bad dude's head! It doesn't kill him but it stuns him enough for Willis to get the drop and get some info out of him concerning the next bad guy on the list. After thanking the bad guy for the information, Willis death-wishes him.
Now comes the best scene in the movie. Bad guy #2 is a mechanic and is working after-hours on an old car. He's got it jacked up and is underneath it. Willis shows up, disables the bad guy via a giant crescent wrench to the nads, and then ties him up on a car dolly. Then he proceeds to use his surgical skills to maximum effect.
He cuts into the guy's sciatic nerve. OUCH! I've had three bulging disc episodes in which each time, a disk touched the sciatic nerve. Willis says, "This is the most pain a person can have without going into cardiac arrest". TRUE. At one point, I would have agreed to have my leg cut off if it would have stopped the pain. I am not joking.
So when Willis cuts into the guy's sciatic nerve and pours brake fluid on it, here is the transcript of what I said:
"OUUUUUUUCH!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHH! POUR MORE BRAKE FLUID ON IT!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
While this is the best scene in the movie, it's also where the movie takes a turn for the worse. Willis gets the name of the third and main bad guy - Knox - but the dude about to get death-wished says there is no way to contact Knox. HE contacts YOU. So Willis death-wishes the sciatic-nerve-damaged bad guy via close contact with a 1965 Chevelle. Close enough contact that the bad guy's brains get squished out of his head. But the main takeaway is that there is no way to contact Knox. So what happens next?
Knox calls Willis. On Willis's cell phone. First question - how did Knox know Willis was the guy death-wishing everyone? Willis death-wished a lot of other people besides the guys who killed his wife. And according to sciatic-nerve guy, the gang that killed Willis's wife was a one-time-only gang. There was nothing to indicate to Knox that his one-time-only gang was getting death-wished by Willis.
Next question - how did Knox get Willis's cell phone number? Is Knox some kind of Super Villain? Is his first name "Fort"?
Anyway, Knox tells Willis to meet him at Da Club. "It's public. Nothing will happen there. I want to tell you what your wife's last words were". That's cold! But Willis, donned in his hoodie, goes to Da Club. For some unexplained reason, he goes into the restroom where he Star 69's Knox. A phone rings in a closed stall so naturally Willis fires into it. What if someone else had been receiving a call at the same time? No one thought of that except Yours Truly.
Well, it's a ruse. Knox's phone is in the stall but Knox is not. Oh, but he's in the restroom. Why? Who knows? All I know is that there is a shoot-out and both Knox and Willis wound each other but not fatally. Willis leaves Da Club, goes home, and performs surgery on himself.
Then he gets a phone call from the hospital. His daughter is out of the coma! He goes to pick her up and as they enter the elevator to leave the hospital, guess who's in the elevator? Knox!
Knox and Willis's daughter have a pleasant conversation about getting shot, etc. Why Willis doesn't death-wish the guy with his bare hands right there in the elevator is a total mystery. But he doesn't. As Willis and his daughter exit the elevator Knox says, "See you later, alligator!" Or something like that.
Willis and his daughter go home and of course that very night, Knox and two of his buddies pay a visit. Willis hides his daughter under the stairs and proceeds to death wish the two henchmen. Then he repairs to his basement/armory, where Knox gets the drop on him. Willis is wounded, laying on his couch. Knox laughs but guess what Willis has? That's right -
A machine gun coffee table!
Knox gets death-wished to the max.
And then, of course, the cops show up. Do you remember the name of the actor who played the main cop? I bet you don't! No peeking above!
The cops ask about the machine-gun table, but Willis had purchased it legally. Then they ask him if he has a Glock. "I used to, but I don't any more" says Willis. That's good enough for the cops. They leave.
Willis doesn't death-wish anyone else, but he does pretend to death-wish a guy who is stealing luggage. You get the ideas that: (A) Willis misses death-wishing; and (B) death-wshing is actually acceptable.
"Death Wish" is not bad. It would probably go well with some classy Pinot Noir, but I didn't have any for my viewing. Therefore, my stone cold sober rating of "Death Wish" is
2 1/2 Dean Norris Sciatic Nerves out of 5 Dean Norris Sciatic Nerves.
I bet right now you are thinking, "Who is Dean Norris?"
[Edited 7/2/18 11:03am]