Death Wish first look

With the Death Wish remake, director Eli Roth wants to bring back the Bruce Willis we love. The Bruce Willis we want to pay to see on a Friday night in a theater, not catch in a new straight-to-VOD crime movie. Nothing against those movies or jobs for Willis, but not often enough do we see Willis in an action movie or thriller that lets his talents shine. Roth sounds confident his remake of Michael Winner‘s 1974 film will “bring back that great, classic Bruce Willis.”

Below, check out the Death Wish first look.

Willis is taking on the role of Paul Kersey, which was made famous by Charles Bronson in the four-part Death Wish series. In the remake, based on Brian Garfield‘s novel, Paul is a surgeon – which was established in a fantastic, bloody, and attention-grabbing opening in co-writer Joe Carnahan‘s (The Grey) original script. After his wife (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter (Camila Morrone) are murdered during a home invasion, the surgeon turns to vigilantism to find their killers.

Here’s our first look at Death Wish from Yahoo! Movies, which features Vincent D’Onofrio as Paul’s brother, Frank. Their relationship is pivotal in Carnahan’s script and helps bring a little more emotion to the story. This is more than just a standard revenge thriller.

Roth listed UnforgivenSicarioTaken, and Man on Fire as some of the movies he watched for inspiration for his remake, which is his biggest movie to date. With his first major studio film, he thinks he has another great Willis performance:

We wanted to bring back that great, classic Bruce Willis we all know and love and just do a fun, badass update of a revered classic. I wanted to bring Bruce back to that Fifth Element, Unbreakable, Die Hard glory and have him craft another iconic performance, and I really think he did it. I mean I really think this can be his Taken. The fun is watching him go crazy and watching someone slowly move the moral goal post.

As for how Willis transforms as Paul throughout the story, Roth said:

And with each kill as he gets closer to finding the people that did this to his family, he gains a new skill. He gets better and better and better. So by the end of the film he’s really much closer to John McClane… The very things that make him a good surgeon are what eventually make him a great killer.

Two of Roth’s biggest influences for the remake are two David Cronenberg films, Eastern Promises and A History of Violence, which have the sort of hard-hitting, unflinching violence we don’t tend to see in modern studio movies. He specifically looked at their set pieces and how Cronenberg masterfully built tension and dread, which I would also say was on the page in Carnahan’s script. The filmmaker behind Narc and The Grey was originally going to direct the remake but split ways with the MGM project following some creative differences. He hopes to one day rework his script – which Roth rewrote – into another movie.

Death Wish opens in theaters November 22.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: