Well, this is an interesting turn of events. A while back, the news hit that the duo behind Big Bad Wolves, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, were going to direct a remake of DeathWish starring Bruce Willis. Citing the ubiquitious “creative differences,” those two dropped out, but now it’s being reported that Eli Roth will direct Bruce Willis in a remake of Death Wish. That’s…intriguing.
I have a dog named Bronson, frequently sport a t-shirt with the grizzled actor’s mug shot emblazoned across the front, and one of my life goals is a get a Mr. Majestyck tattoo. (Seriously, Charles Bronson as the world’s most badass melon farmer, watch it if you haven’t.) Needless to say, I have some mixed feelings on the prospect of a Death Wish remake.
I also adore Bruce Willis (Willis was in the running for dog names), and with Keshales and Papushado at the helm, I at least maintained hope for the Death Wish remake. At least then it might have the complex characters, grim tension, and pitch-black gallows humor they’re so good at. With Eli Roth at the helm, as reported by Deadline, the outlook has changed quite a bit, as I have a troubled relationship with the director.
I always want to like Eli Roth more than I do. He has an obvious affection and enthusiasm for horror that’s easy to like and appreciate, and he is one of the few celebrities who is obviously having a total blast and enjoying his fame, which is endearing. But I simply do no like any of his movies. Not a one. The best thing he’s ever done as a director is the fake trailer from Grindhouse, and the idea of him helming Death Wish is problematic.
Michael Winner’s 1974 original is, admittedly, a mean-spirited, reactionary bit of vigilante violence (which ran further and further off the rails with each subsequent installment). Following on the heels of his cannibalistic attempt to skewer social justice warriors with The Green Inferno, it’s easy to envision Roth infusing Death Wish with a similar vibe, though with a more bro-tastic, ham-fistedly anti-PC stripe. That sounds more annoying than anything else.
I guess this is still better than Bruce Willis working on another atrocious Die Hard sequel. Maybe? Let’s hope, if it has to happen, Death Wish isn’t totally shitty.