Forbes‘ Scott Mendelson on Twitter (posted early this morning): “Fair or not, I can’t think of a more tone-deaf and thematically pointless idea in this political/social environment than white male filmmakers remaking Death Wish.”
Jeffrey Wells reply: What you’re saying is that a movie about a middle-aged vigilante shooting ethnic gang members in 1974 was a crude Nixon-era exploitation piece about lawlessness and racial tensions in a city that was succumbing to urban rot and going downhill fast. But a movie telling more or less the same tale in 2017 or ’18 will be a flat-out racist screed trying to appeal to angry Trump voters and other thoughtful types who believe that black lives might matter in a certain sense (i.e., not too specifically or militantly) but that blue lives matter also, and that young men of color had better not cause any trouble or pull out guns or argue or run away when a cop pulls them over.
Mendelson replies: “Regardless of what the movie is, I have a lot less faith in moviegoers’ ability to successfully read a challenging text than I once did.”
For the record: The screenplay of the original Death Wish was written by Wendell Mayes, but it was directed by Michael Winner (his most successful film ever) and based on Brian Garfield’s 1972 novel, and the quietly malevolent spirit of the thing was brought to life by weathered, craggy-faced Charles Bronson.