The first trailer for the reboot of Death Wish has arrived. Pop culture has always been a bit obsessed with vigilantes out for revenge, and it’s not hard to understand why. As much as films and TV shows can often act as a form of wish fulfillment for the audience, it’s hard to deny the appeal of watching a wronged person throw off the shackles of society’s laws and get harsh vengeance of their own accord. (At least in fiction, as real life attempts at vigilantism usually don’t end very happily.)
In the annals of vigilante-based cinema, there are few films as iconic as Death Wish, the tale of Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), a New York City architect whose life is shattered when a violent home invasion sees his wife murdered and daughter brutally raped. Death Wish would spawn an unlikely franchise, featuring Kersey returning to dispose of criminal scum in four more films, the last of which came out way back in 1994. Soon, director Eli Roth is set to reboot the franchise, with action legend Bruce Willis taking over the lead role.
Yesterday brought with it a set of first look images of Willis in Roth’s Death Wish, and today sees the arrival of the reboot’s first trailer. Check it out above. Roth said in the interview that accompanied yesterday’s photos that he hoped to “bring back that great, classic Bruce Willis we all know and love.” Based on the above trailer, it seems like he might just manage to accomplish exactly that.
It’s no secret that Willis’ career as an action star isn’t exactly at the heights it once was, when the actor was arguably the biggest star in the world. To that end, the choice of AC/DC’s classic rock song Back in Black to accompany Death Wish’s trailer could easily be seen as a declaration from both director Roth and star Willis that the once and probably future John McClane still has some good old-fashioned ass-kicking left in the tank.
One surprising element of the trailer is the occasional bits of sly humor, as Bronson’s Death Wish films were hardly known for making viewers laugh. One assumes that the jokes may have been added to appeal to Willis’ fans from his ’80s and ’90s action heyday, in which stars like Willis, Schwarzenegger, and Stallone rarely failed to dispatch thugs without unleashing a one-liner or two. That said, perhaps a return to that old style is exactly what Willis needs.
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