Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 16 News List

An eye for an eye

Kevin Bacon plays a mild-mannered insurance adjuster who turns blood-thirsty vigilante after he witnesses his son's murder

By MATT ZOLLER SEITZNY  /  Times News Service , New York

Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence.

Photo: courtesy of ARM

In the latest flashy, pretentious exploitation movie from James Wan (Saw and Dead Silence), Kevin Bacon plays Nick Hume, an insurance adjuster who sees his oldest son die at the hands of a machete-wielding young punk during a street gang's robbery of a gas station.

Nick later kills the perpetrator, setting off a police investigation and a cycle of violence that draws in the punk's older brother, Billy Darley (Garrett Hedlund), the gang's leader; his racially mixed crew; and his father, Bones (John Goodman).

Based on Brian Garfield's novel - a sequel to the book that spawned the 1974 film Death Wish - Wan's film is a middle-class white man's payback fantasy, leavened with phony references to class difference. Nick goes from pencil pusher to vigilante superhero in record time, racking up killings and personal tragedies en route to a climactic shootout that imitates elements of the Taxi Driver finale, right down to the shaved head, blown-off fingers and gushing neck wound.

Aside from a stunning three-minute tracking shot as the gang pursues Nick through a parking garage, and Bacon's hauntingly pale, dark-eyed visage, Wan's film is a tedious, pandering time-waster. It keeps telling us that an eye-for-an-eye philosophy makes the world blind, but its heart is attuned to a quote from Bones: "Go with God and a bag full of guns."




STARRING: Kevin Bacon (Nick Hume), Garrett Hedlund (Billy Darley), Kelly Preston (Helen Hume), Aisha Tyler (Detective Wallis), John Goodman (Bones Darley)



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