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Death Sentence

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Judy Thorburn

Death Sentence

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KEVIN BACON POSSESSES THE REAL 'BALLS OF FURY' IN "DEATH SENTENCE"

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

How far would you go to seek justice if a loved one was needlessly murdered right in front of your eyes? This isn’t the first movie that has tackled that question and it won’t be the last. Jodie Foster stars in yet another vengeance movie, The Brave One, that is soon to be released. But Death Sentence is the best, take the law in your own hands, vigilante movie I have seen since the original Death Wish starring the late Charles Bronson back in 1974. Funny thing is, I didn’t realize until doing my homework before starting this review, that Death Sentence based on Brian Garfield’s 1975 book of the same name, WAS written as the direct sequel to his previous novel, Death Wish that begot four movie sequels.



Kevin Bacon portrays Nicolas Hume, a man overcome with grief and inner rage, when his entire life is turned upside down. Nick is an insurance executive, way familiar with risk management, but with no idea how much it will actually play a part in his personal life. He is also a loving family man, devoted husband to his beautiful wife (Kelly Preston) and father of two teenage sons. The eldest boy Brendan (Stuart Lafferty) is a hockey player whose dreams of going to college in Canada after high school and pursuing that sport ends tragically one night after driving home with his father and stopping for gas.

While dad is busy filling up the tank, Brendan goes inside the convenience store to buy a drink. Suddenly a bunch of armed bad ass dudes looking for trouble pull up with their car and enter the store. One of the thugs is told by their leader to “do it” and he proceeds to make Brendan the target of a senseless and brutal slaying by slicing his throat with a machete. Nick sees it all going down but is helpless to do anything until its aftermath when the killer tries to flee. Nick tackles him to the ground, pulls off his mask, and gets a good look at his face before he gets away.

What at first appears to be a robbery attempt comes to light as a gang initiation killing, according to the female detective on the case (Aisha Tyler). An arrest is made, but the D.A. informs Nick that the best he can do is get the punk, Joe (Matt O’Leary) put away for only three to five years because of lack of evidence and there was no surveillance camera on the premises. Nick decides not to testify and instead goes home seeking his own brand of justice but not before watching the freed kid being picked up by his older bother, heavily tattooed Billy (Garrett Hedlund) and following them home.

Unfortunately for the tormented Nick, payback in the form of an eye for an eye doesn’t end there. He soon finds out that the “equation is never going to balance”. The initial act of revenge only works to open the door to a full fledged war between Nick and the killer’s seething older brother and his gang of thugs who are now hell bent on fulfilling their deadly agenda which is going after Nick’s wife Helen and remaining younger son Lucas who are oblivious to what Nick has been doing secretly behind their back.

The film works in every way as a suspenseful thriller and as a character study of mild mannered man transformed into blood thirsty revenge seeking murderer who doesn’t realize the heavy price he is about to pay. As the central focus, Bacon is excellent in this role, conveying a wide range of emotions from sorrow, rage, trepidation, fear, to overwhelming guilt. His gripping performance is one that anyone could identify with, God forbid, if put in the same situation. I certainly felt sympathetic to his cause. When Nick shaves his head, it is the ultimate moment when you know he has come to the end of his rope, means business, and has nothing else to lose. Look for a very creepy and effective John Goodman, in scenes that employ dark humor, as a ruthless weapons dealer who is more than meets the eye.

Director James Wan (Saw) keeps the tension at a pumped up level that continually had me on the edge of my seat. There’s plenty of bloodshed, but hardly the gratuitous gore I have come to expect from this genre. One act of violence leads to another allowing the director to choreograph some high voltage action sequences, the most riveting being the breathtaking chase through streets and alleys that culminates in a multi level parking garage. One can’t help but get inside Nick’s skin and feel his fear, shear helplessness and frantic need to escape/and or fight back with all the force his body and mind can endure.

Death Sentence doesn’t condone taking the law into your own hands. On the contrary, it shows the possible consequences of such acts that can happen anywhere. To prove that point, although shot in South Carolina, cars’ license plates are purposely shown with only numbers and no state.

Like every other good versus evil plotline, you will be rooting for the good guy knowing that eventually the villains will get their just dessert. But in this case, revenge isn’t always sweet as the distraught father tragically learns. In its place is an intense, nail biter that takes you to the edge. And that’s what makes Death Sentence a ‘killer’ thriller.