Movie: Death Sentence (R)
Released: August 31st, 2007
Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.
Ticket Price: $7.50 Matinee
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?