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February 25, 2021
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Death Sentence
(2007-09-07)
(wgvu) - Death Sentence is the latest film from James Wan, the Australian director who gifted us with the original Saw movie, that began the spate of torture porn horror flicks that Hollywood keeps churning out. Death Sentence is based on a novel by Brian Garfield, who wrote Death Wish which was made into a very successful movie in 1974 starring Charles Bronson. It made Bronson an A-list movie star, and he continued with a string of sequels that ended in 1994. The formula is now clich : a good, decent family man watches his wife and children beaten, or raped, and killed by evil thugs, and he's transformed into an engine of vengeance, going out into the dark night to kill the bad guys. In this version of the story, the family man is Kevin Bacon, playing Nick Hume. Nick has a bright, beautiful wife named Helen, who is played by Kelly Preston, and two sons, Brendan and Lucas. Brendan is a high school hockey star, and Lucas is the sensitive younger sibling. One night after a hockey match, Nick and Brendan stop at a gas station in a particularly bad part of town, and while the father is pumping gas the son gets in the middle of gang initiation disguised as a bank robbery. Brendan is killed, his throat cut by Joe, a tattooed skinhead sociopath, who gets caught by police after his brother Bones and his gang buddies leave him behind. This devastates the Hume family, and when Nick realizes that the longest sentence the killer will receive is five years in a plea deal, he changes his testimony, saying it was too dark for identification. (clip) Nick decides to take justice in his own hands, but he's spotted by one of the gang members. Bones is the leader, and Joe's brother and he immediately sends Nick a threatening message with a phone number attached. (clip) At this point Nick contacts police for help, but to no avail. Again, he's forced to take matters into his own hands, and he seeks out a seedy gun dealer played by John Goodman, to arm himself. (clip) Mayhem follows, a lot of mayhem, it's the 70s Death Wish played like present day torture porn. Death Sentence oozes with blood, severed limbs, and plenty of gun shots and machete cuts. The one redeeming quality of this movie is Kevin Bacon, who plays happy-successful, desperate-frightened, and ultimately coldly murderous very convincingly. He makes a tired formula look better than it is. © Copyright 2021, wgvu