by Frank Miniter - Monday, August 14, 2017
When I first saw the trailer for “Death Wish,” a remake of the 1974 movie that starred Charles Bronson but now stars Bruce Willis, I thought: “Wow, looks like a fun movie, and, as it’s set in Chicago, maybe it’ll bring a little more attention to how badly Mayor Rahm Emanuel is handling the city’s gang wars.”
But then the media outlets—you know, the ones that look earnestly away as the Left’s policies fail in Chicago, Baltimore and in other urban areas—started calling the movie “racist,” “fascist,” “an alt-right fantasy” and other things from their list of favorite pejoratives. Now I really can’t wait to see the movie, which will be out this November.
“GQ,” of all places, actually showed the Left’s bias in its rawest, most elitist form:
2017's “Death Wish” comes off as a work of cowardice and opportunism, piggybacking off hard-right fear-mongering and a government that's completely and utterly disingenuous in its rhetoric about violent crime when nationwide, crime rates—despite rises in cities thanks to mass shootings like the Pulse massacre in Orlando—remain historically low. This stands in stark contrast to the state of violent crime in the U.S. during the '70s, a decade that did see rising crime as well as some of the most notorious killers in the nation's history.
So, the rise in the homicide rate in Chicago, which is where this film is set, is due to a rise in “mass shootings like the Pulse massacre in Orlando”? Is this writer (Joshua Rivera) completely nuts? That is so absurd it’s not even worth refuting.
… those on the Left who saw the trailer for “Death Wish” have obviously gotten themselves so worked up they’ve lost what little reason is left in the ideological spectrum.Okay, those on the Left who saw the trailer for “Death Wish” have obviously gotten themselves so worked up they’ve lost what little reason is left in the ideological spectrum. So what’s really eating them?
In the film, Bruce Willis doesn’t play a cop. He is a peaceful, family man who works as a trauma surgeon. He takes justice into his own hands after his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and daughter (Camila Morrone) are attacked in their suburban home, and the police (this is in the trailer) basically shrug as they say they’ll do what they can, which won’t be much.
So Willis gets a gun. He wears a hoodie and starts to hunt for justice. In the trailer AC/DC’s “Back in Black” thumps in the background as Willis, as Dr. Paul Kersey, uses his surgeon skills to identify criminals and to take revenge.
Soon the anonymous slayings of criminals grab the public’s attention. Everyone wonders if this hooded vigilante is the grim reaper or a guardian angel. A radio host asks, “Is he right for taking the law into his own hands?” And, “He’s become a folk hero.”
This is more than the anti-gun Left can take.
“The alt-right like to paint the U.S.’s third largest city [Chicago] as an urban hellscape overrun by predominantly black gangs fighting for turf,” wrote The Guardian. “Purists might point to the fact that the new film’s location is paying tribute to Michael Winner’s 1974 original, which ends with Charles Bronson arriving at Chicago’s Union Station to continue his vigilante campaign. By fully setting their remake in Chicago, however, Roth and his producers are wading into real-life racial tensions.”
Yes, and maybe it’s about time someone did so in popular culture.
This is what the look-the-other-way Left is so worked up about. They can see—those who at least have honest internal dialogues—that their anti-gun policies and blame-the-police reactions have disarmed the good citizens, while empowering criminals. Perhaps, they wish everyone would just get along, but the reality is what it is.
There is something else here. By noting that Bruce Willis is white and that some of his victims are black (the one seen in the trailer who attacked his family appears to be Caucasian, as is a man he kills in a garage), the Left is trying to make this about race.
The thing is, the trailer for “Death Wish” differentiates between criminals (the bad) and the average citizens (the good); it doesn’t give any hint about Willis’ character’s feelings about race.
This movie is about vigilantism in a city so out of control that justice is fleeting. This is the basic premise within all Batman movies; in fact, there is a long history of American books and movies exploring vigilantism. Even the 1996 film “A Time to Kill,” starring Mathew McConaughey (based on a John Grisham novel), is about a vigilante killing; this time by a black Southerner who killed a racist white man who had raped his daughter.
The idea of harm coming to us and then having the justice system fail us is, in some way, horrifying. Such a worst-case scenario might be enough to make us want to take justice into our own hands. We know not to do this, as we love this country and believe in its laws. But it’s still a natural, human thing to wonder what we would do—hence the popularity of these plots.
Those now calling this movie “alt-right fan fiction” are childishly missing the point—we need justice from the system.
Those on the Left who have attacked this film obviously have their own bias to contend with.Maybe they refuse to address this question because such an exploration would cause them to admit, at least to themselves, that the Left’s policies aren’t fixing Chicago, and might be making it worse.
The film’s director isn’t leading them down this political path. To promote the movie, the director, Eli Roth, tweeted: “Cocked, locked, ready to rock! The @DeathWishMovie trailer is HERE! Blasting into theaters 11/22. Watch. Rinse. Retweet. #triggerwarning.”
Roth seems to simply see “Death Wish” as an action film.
Those on the Left who have attacked this film obviously have their own bias to contend with. They see all gun owners as older white guys who fit a certain pre-conceived stereotype. The truth is much more interesting—and frightening to those who want to ban freedom—as gun owners are Americans of every type.
But maybe it’s fitting, as even the original version of “Death Wish” was controversial with the Left. In 1974, The New York Times even said, “‘Death Wish,’ which opened yesterday at Loew’s Astor Plaza and Cine Theaters, is a movie that takes a very dim view of New York City, particularly of its muggers who, according to this film, could be easily eliminated if every upright, middle-class, middle-aged citizen got himself a gun and used it at least three times a week. This is pretty much the plot of ‘Death Wish,’ a bird-brained movie to cheer the hearts of the far-right wing. …”Frank Miniter is the author of Kill Big Brother, a novel that shows how to keep government from infringing on our liberties. Miniter is also the author of the The New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood, This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.
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