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Death Sentence


Stars: Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman, Kelly Preston, Aisha Tyler, Jordan Garrett, Suart Lafferty, Edi Gathegi, Matthew O'Leary, Leigh Whannell, Hector Atreyu Ruiz

Director: James Wan

Nobody, least of all those involved on both sides of the camera, is likely to claim this fast-moving orgy of assorted mayhem, bloody violence and world-war level gunplay is anything other than an easy-to-forget actioner designed to make its money fast at the multiplex before word of mouth and/or the next release of a blockbuster wipes it out of the public consciousness and into the ‘coming soon on DVD’ category.

The simple plot finds mild-mannered middle class insurance executive Bacon understandably starting to sizzle when his perfect life with his all-American family is shattered by the murder of his eldest son by a bunch of local hoodlums as part of the gang’s vicious ‘initiation’ rites. Bacon loses it in spectacular manner, turns vigilante and sets out to exact bloody revenge. And bloody certainly is the word for what follows – sizzling chases, shootouts and dirty death, hand to hand fighting and, for good measure, some splendidly sententious dialogue. Logic and credibility aren’t involved.

Does the plot sound strangely familiar? Could this be ‘Death Wish 2007’? It could, since Ian Mackenzie Jeffers’ serviceable screenplay is based on a novel by Brian Garfield, whose book was the basis for 1974’s Death Wish. Bacon lacks Charles Bronson’s monolithic impassivity but, stirred on by Wan’s breathlessly paced everything-and-anything-goes direction, is just what the movie ordered: strongest performance is by Goodman in a memorably nasty turn.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour by FotoKem.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Sep 2007