Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, The Death You'll Sentence!

I'm not going to even tell you my choices at the LaGrange tonight. I knew what I wanted to see and I saw it.

I was quite excited about tonight's movie. It had all the components of a perfect two-buck movie:

1. A white-collar revenge drama bringing unholy punishment on a bunch of dirty gangbangers
2. The avenger is Kevin Bacon.
3. The director is James Wan, the writer/director of the completely ridiculous Saw franchise.

Of course, I speak of the magnificent Death Sentence.

Wow, check that poster out! That's something. I don't know what that something is, but it's definitely something.

What we have in this film is a white suburban male revenge boner fantasy. Wait, that's really not fair. What we have here is a hacky writer/director's silly notion of a white suburban male revenge boner fantasy.

This movie was so darned silly and implausible, I heartily enjoyed it.

Kevin Bacon is a well-to-do risk analyst with a loving wife and two kids he adores (well, he loves one of the kids at least - he's really good at hockey). As he and the loved son head home from a hockey game, Bacon makes the biggest mistake a white person can make when driving a car at night -- flashing his headlights as a friendly reminder to another driver that their headlights are not on. BIG MISTAKE, MR. BACON. The next thing you know, he's watching his #1 Son get his neck sliced open by a gangbanger wielding a machete.

Wait, don't feel sad! It's clear that the filmmakers don't want you to feel any sense of loss. What you need to feel is the white suburban rage coursing through Kevin Bacon's thetans.

Through a series of incredibly silly plot twists, Bacon goes to machete dude's place of residence and kills him with a rusty knife. But wouldn't you know, he was spotted by the sister of a gang member, who fingers Bacon as the rusty knife-wielder.

Bacon gets home and informs his family that the gang member that killed #1 Son was killed, perhaps by some sort of rival gang violence. And please ignore his rumpled clothes and the deep, bleeding slice on his hand! He fell on the driveway!

Meanwhile, the gang members are stewing at their favorite bar, trying to determine whether pouring your drinks on the floor or drinking them constitutes more respect to the departed. What they do agree on is that they are going to kill Mr. Bacon.

So, the following day, as Bacon is walking out of work, the gang members attempt to ambush him. A reasonably exciting foot chase ensues. One thing I found amusing was the chase was the flipside of something you would find in a Friday the 13th movie. In the Friday the 13th films, Jason walks at a steady but unhurried pace after some dimwitted victim. The victim is invariably hauling ass, but it makes no difference. No one can escape the plodding of Jason, despite how close to the speed of light they are traveling. In the chase scene in this film, seven or eight guys in their physical prime are sprinting after the middle-aged Bacon, but they just can't seem to gain on the fellah.

Bacon manages to get away to his home. Now, you'd think that now that he realizes the gang members are aware that he killed their buddy, and are out for his blood, that he might warn his family, or at least say, "Hey, let's go on a ROAD TRIP!" Well, you would be wrong. What does he do, the day after he was ambushed at his place of work? HE GOES BACK TO WORK.

A gang member delivers Bacon's briefcase (he had dropped it in the prior day's chase) to him, with a picture of Bacon's family with their faces crossed out. Holy cow! I didn't take the previous day's ambush seriously, but they have crossed my family's faces off! That's a red flag! My family and me are in DANGER!

Bacon finally calls the cops, who put a car outside his home. No, the detective that keeps on popping up throughout the film doesn't ask him any hard-hitting questions about why his hand is sliced up, etc. What, is that a detective's job? Figuring shit out?

There is a brief interlude between Bacon and his wife. She doesn't give him ANY crap for putting their entire family in jeopardy, and doesn't give him ANY crap for killing a guy. She says, "No matter what happens, you're a good father." HOLY SHIT. What a gal.

Of course, the next thing you know the gang members have slit the throats of the patrolmen parked out front and have entered Bacon's house. Shortly after they shoot Bacon, his wife and their son. Just remember, no matter what happens, Bacon is a good father.

I have already recounted much of the plot, but I must really stop, to give you something to look forward to. How about John Goodman as a body shop owner and gun dealer? How about a police force that feels no need to arrest anyone in relation to the throat-slitting of a couple patrolmen? You'll have to wait and see for yourself Bacon's heartfelt confession to his comatose Son #2 that he really didn't like him as much as hockey-playing Son #1.

Oh my God this was a cheap movie to warm the heart and soul.


dguzman said...

That has to be the best movie review/synopsis I've EVER read. My hat's off to you, man.

I love this part:
What does he do, the day after he was ambushed at his place of work? HE GOES BACK TO WORK.
What a boner, indeed. But of course he goes back to work. He's a privileged white guy with overwhelming Puritan work ethic! He has to go back to his oh-so-important white-collar job, or we'd lose respect for him and think he lived in a trailer park, spongin' off the govt. Not this guy, though. He's a hard-working repub type! And THIS. IS. PERSONAL!

So--tell us true--can we add this to the canon of classic white-guy-revenge movies, including "Falling Down" and "Walking Tall" (the gold standard)?

Splotchy said...

can we add this to the canon of classic white-guy-revenge movies


Diamond Dave Diggler said...

I have got to see this. Kevin Bacon is such a freaking chameleon! Dancing doofus in Footloose, Entirely too believable pedophile in The Woodsman, and now this! I'm in, man. I'm so in...