Movie Review: Death Sentence – Starring Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Preston, Aisha Tyler & John Goodman

by Jason of New Movie Friday on August 31, 2007

in Movie Reviews

Watch Death Sentence via Amazon Instant VideoMovie: Death Sentence (R)
Released: August 31st, 2007
Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.
Ticket Price: $7.50 Matinee
Refreshments: Starburst
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Preston, Aisha Tyler & John Goodman
Director: James Wan

Rating: Worth a Matinee –

Synopsis: Nick Hume, played by Kevin Bacon (Mystic River, Hollow Man), is a husband and father of two. His oldest boy is a star hockey player and all around golden boy. On the way home from a game in the city, they stop off for gas. The son goes inside for a drink and a gang of thugs shows up. One of them kills the son as part of his gang initiation. The father sees him and picks him out of lineup. Upon hearing that the just system may be able to get three years, on a plea bargain, for the guy who killed his son, he tells the judge he is unsure and they let him go. He follows him home and later returns to exact his own justice that takes the life of the gang member. The gang figures out that it was probably Nick and attempts to retaliate. After and unsuccessful attempt, they go after the rest of his family and it becomes a last man standing war.

Review: Death Sentence doesn’t break any new ground that hasn’t been thoroughly covered by Charles Bronson in Death Wish and its sequels, as well as other movies in this genre. The familiarity comes from Death Sentence being based on the Brian Garfield book of the same name, which is the sequel to his book Death Wish that the Bronson movies were based on. But, it covers this well tread ground quite adeptly.

The director, James Wan (Saw), has put together a very good action thriller. The movie has a really good flow to it. It takes its time in the beginning setting up the family dynamic. Many movies of this type spend five minutes setting up story and the next hour and a half blowing through the action sequences. You don’t care. You don’t have time. With Death Sentence, the story is setup over the course of the first 10 to 15 minutes. It is slow, but when the son is killed, you have been given enough time to care about it.

The actors all give great performances. Bacon’s transformation from family man to killer, who is out for revenge, is just what you would expect from him. Kelly Preston (Sky High, For Love of the Game), as the mother, is fantastic. Her reaction to the death of her son at the hospital is hearth wrenching. Garrett Hedlund (Georgia Rule, Friday Night Lights), as the head of the gang Nick does battle with, portrays the psycho drug dealer in a non-stereotypical way. He doesn’t seem like they just plucked a bad guy out of central casting and plopped him down in the role of bad guy.

Death Sentence was a lot better than it looked like it was going to be. It has a few elements thrown in to keep you off guard and make you jump in your seat, a couple of twists that you probably won’t see coming and an all around great look to it.

If you are looking for a good option at your local theater this Labor Day weekend, then check out, the matinee worthy, Death Sentence.

Have you seen it? What did you think of Death Sentence?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole September 6, 2007 at 11:36 am

Well well, this movie did not peak my interest aside from the fact that Kevin Bacon is in it. He is a good actor. However, the movie trailer does not seem to be interesting at all. Your review gives this movie hope, in that it deserves a second consideration instead of just skipping it altogether. So, maybe I will rent it or something.

2 Becky September 6, 2007 at 11:56 am

THis I think by far was one of the best movies I have seen in awhile. The friends I went with almost didn’t see and we decided to anyway. I’m glade we did.

3 Jason of New Movie Friday September 7, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Nicole, I didn’t go in expecting much out of this vigilante film, but found that once things got going, it kept me interested all the way to the end. Sometimes you just can’t ask for more from a movie.

Becky, this isn’t the best film I have seen recently, but it was a lot better than it looked going in.

4 Penny May 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm

This is a fast-paced, exciting movie with great acting. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long, long time. Kevin Bacon is a fabulous actor as far as I am concerned. He was terrific in ‘Death Sentence’ and I loved John Goodman’s role as well.

5 Jason of New Movie Friday June 6, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Penny, The acting was great all around, but it’s worth watching just for Bacon’s character’s transformation over the course of the movie.

6 Hayley March 15, 2009 at 6:45 am

This was a really good movie action packed, fast, cool and Kevin Bacon was in it i thought he was tough didnt want to die it was crazy good id watch it a few more times. 8^]

7 Laura February 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I saw this movie on TV tonight (2/1/10) and was glued from the beginning to the end. The movie was heart wrenching in the way it portrays such a happy loving family and then seeing the family destroyed and struggling to come to grips with their son’s murder. And then, of course, to watch Kevin Bacon’s transformation from a well to do corporate VP to a out for revenge murderer just kept me glued every second. I really just started screaming “kill him” every time Kevin Bacon was stalking one of the gang members. He is a fantastic actor and really has the ability to involve his audience into the plot. This is a movie, one of the very few, that I highly recommend for everyone to rent. Better than any of the Death Wish movies.

8 Katrina February 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Never heard of this movie before last night…not a huge Kevin Bacon fan…but thumbs up to this movie. I thought he did a great job in this role…I would definitely recommend it!

9 Sherri Knapp July 14, 2010 at 8:27 am

Never heard of this movie before seeing it yesterday. Awesome movie. Loved it.

10 Margaret February 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Great movie. The cast was unexpected for this type of movie BUT the characters merged with each other and their roles perfectly.

11 Gwen February 3, 2012 at 12:47 am

This is one great movie – I watched it from my friends laptop at first and being moved by it – bought a DVD copy to share with my family. Each and everyone have a tear in our eyes when the movie is finished – especially at the end when Kevin Bacon came home. His expression in that last scene as if he was saying “we did it” – damn it felt good and it was Fantastic – not just any other revenge movie I’ve seen so far – this is Priceless!

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