- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2017

Actor Bruce Willis’ upcoming remake of the 1974 classic “Death Wish” has caused film and pop-culture critics to go apoplectic.

Charles Bronson made the character Paul Kersey famous decades ago, but the revenge tale surrounding a murdered wife isn’t sitting well with critics in 2017. The Eli Roth directed film, which is due in theaters Nov. 22, is already being labeled “alt-right” and “dangerous” by established writers.

“Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake is so nakedly fascist that alt-righters will have an erection before the trailer ends,” wrote Alan Zilberman, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post and The Atlantic.

“Maybe it’s the marketing, but seems a strange time to give a high-five to an older angry white dude going vigilante with lots of guns,” added writer Chuck Wendig (“Star Wars: Aftermath”), The Daily Caller reported.

Adam Best, the co-founder of FanSided, lamented, “Angry, old white man becomes an armed vigilante against Chicago civilians. That’s a dangerous message. Is Death Wish alt-right fan fiction?”

Jessica Lachenal at the feminist site The Mary Sue attacked the trailer, under the headline “This ‘Death Wish’ Remake Trailer Is the Most Disgustingly Right Wing, GOP-Ass Thing I’ve Ever Seen.”

The trailer shows Willis as Paul Kersey systematically hunting down men of various races and ethnic backgrounds to avenge the murder of his wife and daughter. The original film took place on the streets of New York, although Mr. Roth’s version is situated in gang-infested parts of Chicago.

“As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media’s attention, the city wonders if this deadly vigilante is a guardian angel or a grim reaper,” a synopsis provided by MGM says on its YouTube page. “Fury and fate collide in the intense, action-thriller.”

The original “Death Wish” took its share of criticism in 1974 (and since) as an endorsement of vigilanteism, and worse.

In the New York Times, critic Vincent Canby called it “a despicable movie, one that raises complex questions in order to offer bigoted, frivolous, oversimplified answers.” And Roger Ebert, albeit in a generally positive review, mused aloud that it was “propaganda for private gun ownership and a call to vigilante justice.”

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