Plot: Nick (Kevin Bacon) is a normal man with a good life, a job as an executive, a beautiful wife, and two sons. But when a gas station fuel up turns violent and his son is murdered by gang members, his entire world turns upside down. He is able to help get the killer arrested and put on trial, but the politics of the justice system offer no kind of justice whatsoever. But Nick refuses to just let the gang members walk away unscathed and he decides to take the law into his own hands. This leads to him hunting down the men involved in the murder and soon, Nick has blood on his hands, but it just sparks even more violence. Now the rest of his family is in danger, but can he let this go or will push even deeper into the darkness?
Entertainment Value: This movie was based on the book that was a direct sequel to Death Wish, so that should tell you about what to expect here. Kevin Bacon is no Charles Bronson, but it is a dark, solid vigilante justice narrative. The premise is familiar, as a normal man turns to a more violent side of himself when his son is killed, but he succumbs too deeply and in the process, brings the danger right to his family’s front door. Death Sentence doesn’t do much to defy the usual vigilante conventions, in truth it follows the established formula to the letter, but for fans of the genre, it is still well made and executed. In the case of a vigilante justice flick, sometimes fan just want a capable, competent take and that is what this movie offers. Bacon is fine in the lead and starts to embrace the chaos eventually, but he just doesn’t have the bad ass presence or killer instinct the role needs. This could be the point of the movie, but I doubt it, since he kills in cold blood and becomes a walking weapon of destruction. The family and thugs aren’t given much development however, so it is basically the Kevin Bacon on a rampage show and little else. But I did appreciate John Goodman’s slimy turn as an arms dealing father of some of the gang members. Death Sentence is formulaic, but well crafted and for fans of vigilante justice cinema, worth a look.
No nakedness. A lot of violence, but no sleaze this time around. This one has a lot of nasty, blood soaked violence however, with an emphasis on shoot outs and gun duels throughout. A couple of nice, splashy throat slashes crop up, but mostly this is all about those bullet wounds. I really like the gun battles in this one, as they’re rough, nasty, and raw. These aren’t elegant, well choreographed shoot outs, but in the moment, pull the trigger and hope you hit, desperate kind of scenarios. The violence is mean, grim, and impactful, this is ugly violence, not glorified bullet ballet. A good amount of blood flows as well, especially in the finale and there we have splashy, gaping wounds, shot off fingers, and mid-gun fight street wisdom. Most of the blood work looks good and suitably nasty, as the material demands. The tone here is serious and never dips into camp or one liners, so while well written, it scores no points here. While the violence and such are pretty wild, it follows in the usual vigilante justice formulaic paths, so not much out of the box in this one.
Overall Insanity: 1/10