Bacon Smokes Others
Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) is just a regular guy; a businessman, a husband and a proud father especially of eldest son Brendan (Stuart Lafferty) who has a promising hockey career ahead of him. Then one night after a game Nick and Brendan stop at a gas station in a rough area of town and stumble in on a robbery where the innocent Brendan ends up murdered by one of the gang members with a machete. Despite his son's killer being caught the DA is looking to cut a deal over the length of jail time which frustrates Nick so much that he decides to recant his testimony to allow his son's killer to go free so that he can get some old fashioned eye for an eye justice. But whilst Nick succeeds and kills his son's killer he opens up a whole can of worms as the gang the killer belonged to comes after Nick and the remaining members of his family forcing Nick to once again take matters into his own hands especially when the police are unable to protect them.
So yes "Death Sentence" sees us in that territory of a family man turning vigilante in order to protect his family and getting old fashioned justice for those which are killed, and I will tell you now it is more than just Brendan. But that does make "Death Sentence" quite a familiar movie and some might say little more than an update of the classic "Death Wish" movies. And that would be ironic as "Death Sentence" is based of the novel by Brian Garfield who wrote it as a sequel to "Death Sentence" yet never allowed it to be used for one of the original "Death Wish" movies. But I will say now that "Death Sentence" isn't some belated sequel but a modern vigilante husband movie with different names, modern style and a much more in your face style of action which presents itself early on when we witness a bad guy bouncing off of a car as he is knocked down.
But that does make "Death Sentence" an ultimately simple movie as it boils down to Nick trying to protect his family whilst also getting revenge. There are some twists and turns in what becomes more than just a simple case of an eye for an eye but it never becomes over complicated or too hard to follow. What we do get is as I mentioned a more modern take on this and with the movie directed by James Wan when it comes to the action and violence it is more brutal and in your face, almost black humour at times such as the scene where the bad guy gets knocked into the air by a car.
What we also get in "Death Sentence" is a light weight character study as we get to see how Nick changes. It is shall we say solid with some interesting aspects such as how learning that going to trial may be detrimental shows a much darker side to Nick's character but it isn't a heavy characterisations. And as such what we have from Kevin Bacon is a solid performance, one which interests a main stream audience but does not have a huge amount of depth for those who seek more than just mainstream satisfaction.
What this all boils down to is that "Death Sentence" is nothing more than an update on the classic tale of a family man or woman who turns vigilante when their family end up victims. It is entertaining and much more brutal than you might expect but it doesn't offer a great deal which is new.