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Kevin Bacon's revenge flick DEATH SENTENCE also opens this weekend! Here are a few reviews!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Things have been pretty quiet on this film. I remember we got a lot of test screening reviews a while back, but then nothing. Now the flick opens today and a couple reviews come in. Both contain spoilers and neither are unapologetically positive. In fact, this first reviewer really, really didn't like the flick. I always knew Wierzbowski escaped those aliens... now he's here to give you his thoughts!

I just got back from a preview screening of DEATH SENTENCE. I don’t normally have cinematic experiences that spark me to write reviews, good or bad. Tonight is an exception - This. Film. Is. Dogshit. For those who wish to continue reading, DEATH SENTENCE is the junior effort by SAW director James Wan. It stars Kevin Bacon in a roll about crying, killing, more crying and buzzing your head. The setup is simple: a good-hearted family man loves his “golden boy” son. A gang member murders his son. Dad kills said gang member and in doing so starts a war with the rest of the gang. It’s a revenge movie of sorts, and I like revenge movies. Dare I say that I LOVE revenge movies. That is why I agreed to see this in the first place. However, this is not a good movie, revenge or otherwise. I must tell you about the most striking thing though – the thing that really set me off and made me sit my ass down to write this review. The end of this movie is a huge rip-off of TAXI DRIVER. It pains me to even mention that film in the same context, because it lends a false sense of credibility to this film. Make no mistake; there is no comparison other than cinematic plagiarism. You see, Kevin Bacon’s character goes through so much pain, costing his family members their lives, that he looses all his morals and becomes hell-bent on revenge. We know this because he *shaves his head. Then he goes into the lions den so to speak, and begins graphically taking out the bad guys, shooting *the fingers off of the main baddie in the same exact fashion Travis Bickle does in the climax of TAXI DRIVER. Then Kevin Bacon gets *shot in the neck, which only grazes him, and he falls to a couch holding his bleeding wound. The similarities end there. Has James Wan ever even seen TAXI DRIVER? If so, this is not homage, it’s stealing. If not, don’t pat yourself on the back Wan, these same things were done 31 years ago, a thousand times better. I don’t blame the writer. Things could have been changed or shot in a fashion that didn’t scream plagiarism. But it really makes me wonder. It actually really saddens me. I doubt hardly anybody will notice the concerning similarities, because I would bet that this films target audience hasn’t seen TAXI DRIVER either. I have read online comments from people about how this movie “rocks so hard” and “Kevin Bacon is so raw, he kicks major a$$” – I guess I wanted more. In the hands of a more talented director this could have been an eerie and fascinating portrait of the downward spiral caused by revenge – while still keeping the hard edges. Instead we get “hardcore killz, yo,” and that’s fine I guess, but its not good filmmaking. There is no grace. There can be grace in destruction. There can even be grace in pulp action. That’s the power of movies. This movie lacks anything resembling grace. For example: One of the most obvious, heavy-handed, on-the-nose scenes I have witnessed in quite some time happens at the end of this film. The main baddie sits down with Kevin Bacon, both men badly injured after Bacon goes all Travis Bickle on everybody, and says, “Look at you. Look at what I’ve made you. I made you one of us.” Talk about hitting the audience over the head. In case it wasn’t made painfully clear already, our antagonist actually gets to tell the audience the moral of the story. People in my screening were actually laughing during this scene. Mind you, not laughing AT this scene, but DURING it as if they were meant to laugh. As if the director actually wanted them to. It lacks grace. I also have to mention the horrible score and soundtrack. Both were laughably heavy handed and out of place (although THE BLACK ANGELS are an awesome band, and their music deserves better). All that said, Kevin Bacon does deliver a solid performance as the tormented father. He can’t save the film, but he gives it his all. The other standout is of course John Goodman, who effortlessly steals every scene he’s in. Hell, I could have sat through an entire movie about his character – if it was directed by someone with vision. So, for those of you in Junior High who like “hardcore, bad a$$ killz yo” – this film is for you. You’ll love it. You’ll cheer and laugh and want a gun. For anybody else who likes good movies, see THE KING OF KONG. Enough said. Weirzbowski out.

This next one is more apologetic. All I know is I love John Goodman and I'm glad even Weirzbowski gave him some good words. Here's the second of two!

Hey Harry, how's it going. Just caught a screener of Death Sentence. This review might have a few spoilers. Death Sentence is about Kevin Bacon, whose son is killed right in front of him. He's understandably pissed and goes after the pricks who did it. Alright, so let me start out by saying that James Wan is a shitty director. Looking at the torture scenes from first Saw, complete with rotating cameras, hardcore headbanging rock, and flashy lights, that much is evident. If you know someone who thinks this guy's a decent director, he might be thinking of James Caan, who isn't really a director, so either way they're a fucking stooge. Anyway. Wan can't seem to coax a decent performance out any performer he's worked with. Pretty much everything has ranged from shit (Danny Glover) to horseshit (Cary Ewles), and this flick isn't any different. His direction of scenes is off, chock full of lame dialog, stock characters, and lame symbolism. Example: at one point, a gang member, complete with tattoos and ghetto dialect, approaches his gang leader. They're both in an abandoned church, which for some reason has red lighting, I guess to symbolize the bloodshed they drench their lives in. He asks him, in a serious tone: "Yo, dog. You ready fo dis." And then some tacky, off-brand Enya music comes in, I guess to add extra impact to what just happened. Watching the movie, I couldn't help but think Wan wanted to make his Oldboy. It's a revenge story, complete a single-take longshot scene, with an asinine ending. It felt half rate, and wanted to be more than it was. I guess the flick had spunk. With all these negatives, though, I've got to admit that I enjoyed the hell out of the movie. It's shit, yeah, but it's that rare enjoyable tripe that you can just turn your brain off and watch. This was one of the few movies I've seen that the entire audience was laughing, out loud, at the serious scenes in the movie. It's all camp, and even though Wan can't realize it, at least the audience can and enjoy it. Kevin Bacon is fair. He doesn't do anything outstanding, save for a few gloriously over the top moments where he looks directly into the camera with a bad ass face. It was hammy, but I'm not sure if he was in on the joke. One guy who was in on it was John Goodman. He's only in it for a few scenes, but he does a pretty good job. Something that stuck out is that he looks like the fat tea lady from the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, which I always thought was a subtle pun for fatty. Anyway, he provides both the guns for Bacon and the comic relief for the movie, and does a decent job at both. Some folks who didn't do a decent job were Jennifer L. Smith and Mary Tricia Wood. These two were the casting directors who OK'd Kelly Preston to be in this flick. She has one of the worst performances of the year, and no in the audience could help but laugh when she finally got shot. It's honestly a site to behold to see this woman try and act. God help me. So overall, this movie is indeed shit. But it's one of those turds that, as you look down, ready to flush, you see that it about a foot long. You can't help but smile, even admire it for it is. That's how you should go into seeing this flick, but, like that abnormally long piece of shit, it will be flushed from your memory as you move onto bigger and better things. If you decide to use this, call me DrAndonuts.

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