A few weeks ago I came across a review of Death Wish (2018). Its author was highly displeased with the “toxic masculinity” on display and the message it sends. In short, Bruce Willis plays a doctor who had his wife killed by lowlives, and his daughter ends up in a coma. Afterwards, he goes on a rampage, taking law into his own hands. Of course, to be more effective, he’s got to get a gun and learn how to shoot. The review I read dropped words like “Trump”, “Alt-Right” and “NRA”. That simp thought this would discredit the movie. I thought this sounded awesome, so I watched it. In short, it was really entertaining. You basically end up cheering on the main protagonist as he goes on a rampage.
What I particularly liked is the messaging of the movie. In the opening scene, two guys are rushed to a hospital, a cop and a criminal. The cop’s life can’t be saved. Bruce Willis’ character throws in the towel. Upon hearing that, another cop says to him something along the lines of, “And now you’re going to save the bad guy or what?” That line made me perk up because I really hadn’t expected it. When do you ever see the point discussed that resources are disproportionally awarded to the dregs of society? That’s right, basically never. You also see how much of a change happens in the main protagonist because his response is, “If I can.” Only once he personally suffers from the crime does he change his mind.
Indeed, the main protagonist is very sheltered. He lives with his perfect family with an attractive wife and super-hot daughter in a luxury mansion in the countryside. Well, he’s a surgeon, so what do you expect? Unfortunately for him, a gang wants to have a piece of the pie, so they come by at a time when they thought nobody would be home. The wife and daughter are, unfortunately, which leads to a bit of a kerfuffle in which the wife dies and the daughter gets badly hit. What I liked about this is that it sent the message that women are completely defenseless against even just a moderately strong attacker. In other words, it depicts a level of realism you don’t see much anymore. In an earlier scene, the daughter is seen showing off Krav Maga to her uncle. When she tries taking out the attackers with her Krav Maga skills (lol), she gets her ass handed to her in a second. Compare that to movies where skinny chicks beat up well-trained guys without breaking a sweat!
In the end, the main protagonist turns into the “Grim Reaper”, becomes a YouTube celebrity and kills one baddie after another. It’s great stuff! The message is that since the police won’t help you, you’ve got to help yourself. This message is repeated several times, in sometimes a very blunt manner.
After I had finished watching Death Wish (2018), I thought about the context. We live in a time in which lowlives are being protected while the hard-working law-abiding members of society get shafted. Black Pigeon Speaks recently had a video about this problem, pointing out to the concept of “Anarcho-Tyranny”. That was a bit too intellectual an approach in my opinion as the scum automatically gets the upper hand once the government no longer upholds law and order, or only goes after non-threatening members of society, think of cases like locking up people for “hate speech”, while Abdul gets to rape women and knife men and gets off with a slap on his wrist.
We have been witnessing the beginning of a pushback, however: Brexit, Trump, the rise of conservative parties in the West. The message is that conservatism is a reaction to societal and cultural decay. Just look into communist terror in Weimar Germany in the 1920s and 1930s! Hitler’s NSDAP cleaned up that mess. Had the communists, with their Jewish leadership, not overplayed their hand so much, history would have played out much differently. (Oh, if you’re an uneducated leftist dipshit who wants to shout “Nazi” or “Anti-Semite”, then read up on Jewish involvement in Bolshevism and communism.) On the other hand, the Nazis eventually also overplayed their hand.
I was aware that Death Wish (2018) is a remake of a much older movie, also titled Death Wish (1974), and starring Charles Bronson. That one is also worth watching. You get basically the same kind of messaging. I’d say it’s even stronger as the wife and daughter of the main protagonist are depicted as completely helpless. The daughter gets raped and, obviously, isn’t going to be able to hold back five attackers. (Death Wish II is even more brutal, as it shows a maid getting gang-raped.) Similarly, the once law-abiding protagonist quickly changes his mind, gets a gun, and starts killing baddies left and right. The leftist police commissioner doesn’t like it, but the main protagonist has wide support in the population and the police department!
The first Death Wish played in New York City, which was back then a failing city. It was eventually cleaned up, due to “racist” stop-and-frisk laws and other measures. Back then, though, crime was completely out of bounds. That was not an uncommon theme in movies either. Just think of “Escape from New York” or “The Warriors”. Interestingly, Death Wish (2018) is set in Chicago, which is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the US these days. Death With (1974) is set in NYC and at the end, the protagonist movies to Chicago. In Death Wish (2018) the opposite movement takes place as the protagonist moves from Chicago to New York City together with (spoiler alert!) his daughter, who magically recovered.
New York City was on the brink of chaos. Only once the mess had gotten too big was it possible to tackle the problem. Then the place got cleaned up — and now it’s sliding back into chaos again. Similarly, Chicago is currently a mess. There is even the sometimes used moniker “Chiraq” to allude to the war-like environment. Their mayor doesn’t have the balls to fix the mess, so Trump, some months ago, threatened to send in the National Guard. Thus, you have a cycle of chaos and order. I think the issue is that chaos can’t sustain itself. Once things get too bad, the dregs of society have nobody to leech off anymore and the situation almost fixes itself. Who is Tyrone going to mug if everybody with a job has left the state? Who is paying for Shaqueesha’s Section 8 housing and EBT card if the country is bankrupt? Of course, those are extreme outcomes. On a less extreme scale, you have a guy like Duterte rising to power who simply has drug dealers shot.
I think that we are at the very beginning of a new conservative backlash. This change in public perception, albeit it is far from becoming the mainstream opinion, lead to the funding of Death Wish (2018), just like it made the original Death Wish (1974) possible.
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10 thoughts on “Death Wish (1974) and Death Wish (2018) as timely critical social commentary”
Speaking of Duterte, you just gotta love this guy:
I see that ‘Death Wish’ was directed by Eli Roth. He’s been the target of many sjw type critics. His last film ‘The Green Inferno’ received a similar backlash. The plot revolves around a group of students who travel to a Southern American forest to protest a redevelopment project. The virtue signaling students want to show their support. However, once they arrive they are eaten by the native tribe members!
It’s mindless fun but entertaining none the less.
That’s very interesting!
I like the symbolism of the do-gooders getting eaten by savages. It’s essentially mirroring what is happening in the West where Middle Easterners are raping and killing the natives. The women who once waved teddy bears and screamed, “Refugees Welcome!” are now found dead at the bottom of the river.
Never seen Death Wish (or the one with Charles Bronson). Will check it out!
Speaking of Bronson…the only film I saw with him is Once Upon a Time in The West. Another difference of movies today (i.e. 2010-2018) to movies from the 60’s and 70’s is that the latter classic ones don’t rely on lazy story-telling and rapid flashy scene cuts. I wonder if today’s attention-deficit young adult can even sit through these classic films.
I think they’d have a hard enough time with actual dialogue in movies. It’s not just that scenes were longer, they also relied more on language.
What I noticed that not only scenes are longer, but less cameras are used. A dialogue would be filmed by one camera, maximum two and without close-ups. This places much more demand on the quality of the actors, as they have to also play with body language, not merely facial expressions. And yes, as mentioned, much less cuts.
Finally saw Death Wish (the 1970s) one. Pretty gritty. Interesting how most of the street thugs are blacks. You won’t see that in today’s films…or ever have them portrayed like that!
If black people loiter around, you shouldn’t arrest them. Just ask Starbucks! (Example: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/04/19/black-men-arrested-at-starbucks-in-philadelphia-say-they-feared-for-their-lives.html
I mean, if people are gonna come into a store/cafe and sit at a table and not be a customer…is it wrong to think they are casing the joint??
I agree that the nazis were massive idiots but I dont like how you paint jews as monolithic. Only idiots attack the jews who have divine protection as not a single enemy has survived no matter how “great”. You dont want to paint a target on your back for the creator to aim at. Thus we should admire the jews especially cuz their so amazingly smart and rich and to be rich is glorious! I sometimes wish I was a jew, but maybe I can racemix and become a jew that way.
And its incorrect to assume jews are monolithic.
There are both pro lgbt and anti lgbt jews. They dont have interests aligned.
Their are both jewish right wing billionaires supporting fascism and leftwing doing the opposite.
Have you ever seen Falling Down with Michael Douglas?
I watched it about a decade ago, but I think it’s about time I rewatch it as this movie is arguably also getting quite relevant again.