The turbulent, mean-spirited socio-political climate of the 1970s gave rise to a lot of dark, gritty revenge flicks. 1974′s “Death Wish” was one of them, and it resonated enough with audiences of the time to spawn four sequels. A large part of its appeal was its unrelenting view that vigilantism was not only acceptable, but necessary. And Charles Bronson was the man dishing out the violent street justice with stony-faced determination.
Fast forward 4 decades, and things have changed so much yet have come full circle to that same grim mindset. Our world is more violent than ever, and society has become so desensitised to violence that we’d think nothing of a man who would take the law into his own hands and mete out punishment on criminals. In fact, we’d probably applaud him, then make him an instant YouTube celebrity.
A remake of “Death Wish” has been in the works since 2007, when Sylvester Stallone first announced his intent to star in and direct for MGM. But those plans have since fallen by the wayside, though the project itself is not dead. Far from it. Today, MGM and Paramount Pictures announced that a completely new version is being planned, and a director has just been signed. According to a report in The LA Times today, “The A-Team” helmer Joe Carnahan will both write and direct a retooled version. The basic story, based on the 1972 novel of the same name, will remain the same: an ordinary New York man seeks revenge on the criminals who murdered his wife.
No star has been attached to the remake just yet, but I expect Carnahan to be savvy enough not to cast an action star. The role calls for someone who can be convincing as an everyman, albeit one with an edgy nature. Who knows, he might just cast Liam Neeson again, with whom he’s worked twice now. The latest being the survival thriller “The Grey” (which premiered last weekend to critical and commercial success).