Movie’s sentenced to failure
September 06, 2007
Death Sentence (18)
Starring - Kevin Bacon, Kelly Preston, John Goodman & Garrett Hedlund
With Kevin Bacon in the lead role and the director’s chair filled by James Wan, the man behind the original Saw film, Death Sentence promises much. Sadly, however, it fails to deliver.
The plot concerns Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon), a successful businessman with an adoring family. One night his world falls apart when his eldest son Brendan (Stuart Lafferty) is killed in a random attack by a gang conducting an initiation ritual with its newest member.
The mild-mannered family man is devastated and when the legal system kicks him while he’s down in its failure to effectively deal with his son’s killer, the angst-ridden father takes matters into his own hands and hunts down the boy responsible for his son’s murder. Little does he realise he’s about to start a war…
Kevin Bacon has such a fine pedigree with acclaimed roles in films such as Mystic River and The Woodsman that you would be forgiven for thinking that Death Sentence would be more of the same. But his decision to star in this appalling film is questionable to say the least. In Bacon’s defence, it’s not his performance that is the problem.
The film cannot decide whether it has a serious message; its roots planted in reality with an indictment of modern society and the justice system; or whether it is an over-the-top, gratuitously violent exploitation flick for the gore-loving, popcorn-munching crowd.
After a fairly serious and sensitively played beginning, the film starts to fall apart as Bacon considers his revenge and finally descends into a gratuitously violent tale of revenge.
It is totally unconvincing and completely ludicrous with implausibilities that would ordinarily be overlooked if it weren’t for the film’s attempts to root itself in reality at the start.
Some of the final sequences will appeal to fans of violent movies but will more likely make you laugh than cry or squirm.
Whether you’re tempted to watch this because of Kevin Bacon, James Wan or both, I would advise you to give Death Sentence a miss. This woefully inferior Death Wish rip-off is actually laughable.