I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Death Wish remake trailer

There are a million reasons why Eli Roth’s DEATH WISH remake could be horrible. The trailer definitely leaves open the worry that it’s gonna be mainly about a white dude going around murdering black criminals for fun. In an interview I read somewhere, Roth was definitely conscious of that problem and wanted to be sure not to make a movie like that, so we’ll see how he handles it.

I can say that I have a friend who saw a test screening (I’m not sure if he’d want me to name him, so I won’t) and he was surprised to really like it. He assured me that Bruce is very good in it, it’s not one of his sleepwalking roles. So hopefully we’ll agree with him.

Either way, I hope they skip straight to a DEATH WISH 3 remake after this.

my DEATH WISH related reviews:

DEATH WISH
DEATH WISH II
DEATH WISH 3
DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN
DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH

DEATH SENTENCE

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
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89 Responses to “Death Wish remake trailer”

  1. I have no idea from that trailer how this is one is gonna fall (it’s absolutely all over the place).

    But if it turns out the only thing it’s good for is giving us a Bruce that gives a shit again then I’m just glad it exists.

  2. The more I think about it, the more I can see what attracted Roth to this project. Roth likes to think of himself as a wiseass centrist who’s all for liberal causes but is afraid of the all-purpose boogeyman of political correctness, this story gives him the chance to have his cake and eat it too. He can mock both the bleeding heart liberals who talk a good game but never get anything done, and he can mock the tough-on-crime right-wingers who think all of society’s problems can be solved with a bullet. If done right, he could fulfill his life’s goal of a movie that offends people on both sides of the aisle equally.

    Unfortunately, gun violence is way more cinematic than liberal handwringing so the odds are good that Kersey will come out looking like a hero to many. It’s as difficult to make a truly anti-vigilante picture as it is to make an anti-war film.

  3. When it comes to action cinema I’m comfortable setting aside morality and politics, for the most part. I’d still prefer to see more female characters doing more in these movies — looks like here they’re sidelined pretty early on (which, while faithful to the original, annoys me). And more characters of color all around in heroic rather than bad guy roles.

    But if all DEATH WISH 2017 is, is an action revenge flick with an awake Bruce Willis murdering criminals, I think I’m on board? Certainly I’ll watch it. Would I prefer a FALLING DOWN or 187 style tale about the dangers of taking matters into your own hands? Probably… but honestly as long as the action is good I’m probably gonna be okay with it.

    That said, if it’s just Bruce shooting people that’s gonna get tiresome real quick. Let’s all hope for at least one big hand-to-hand action setpiece that is at least a 3.5 on the Action Comprehensibility Scale.

  4. Crushinator Jones

    August 3rd, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    If this movie has any guts at all it will end up with Willis killing a bunch of innocent minorities for looking “thug” and having his nightly outings publicly sanctioned by a good chunk of cops on the force. And he’ll get away with it.

  5. I understand it’s just a trailer, but it already seems like it’s going the Death Wish 3 route of celebrating ridiculous action. Playing “Back in Black” as a rocking anthem to white vigilantism is… problematic. Glad to hear the test screening review is positive. Roth doesn’t make superficial movies and it wouldn’t be the first time marketing clashes with filmmaker intentions.

  6. I thought this was a Death Wish 3 remake. This kinda looks like George Zimmerman’s wet dream. I hope there is some commentary under the surface, and as much as I like the Punisher, this vigilantifilms really need some commentary, and not just make it feel like it’s okay to kill criminals. Even Gary Daniel’s Recoil showed that revenge was bad, and it just ends up with more death and grief. I actually kinda liked Death Sentence (which supposedly had nothing to do with the book, except for the title), it had some great action scene, but still showed the dark hole that revenge lead you to.

    I saw someone comment on BMD that this would be better if it would star a more normal guy, than action star Bruce Willis, like someone like Steve Carrell, and I kinda think I agree with that. That would be interesting.

  7. I don’t mind outing myself here in the comments: I enjoyed the film much more than I expected. I’ve never been a fan of Roth, but after the screening I went over to him and told him he did a great job. Look, I know Willis doesn’t really deserve a comeback. He’s been lazy and greedy, but this is the first time in a long while where I felt like he was completely engaged and likable in every scene he’s in. The movie has some great moments. It’s a crowd pleaser too, which was startling. It felt like something that would have been made 15 years ago. Obviously, I’m a big fan of the original, and I have no real problem with this remake. It did everything it set out to do. I plan on paying to see it again. It’s really, really strange, though, to consider that this movie is a risk because Willis is starring in it. I might have preferred Stallone in the role, but Willis earns my respect with this one.

  8. I recall Stallone’s idea was to make it not a regular guy, but someone with training (perhaps special ops but I don’t think he was that specific), who now left to his own devices uses those skills privately. That sounds more political.

  9. david: How disparate would you say the tone of the trailer is against what you saw?

  10. Pleased to scroll the comments before posting my own and see that I’m not the only one who did a WFT?! double-take at the use of AC/DC’s BACK IN BLACK as soundtrack music for this trailer. I love AC/DC, and this is arguably their greatest of many great songs, and it’s tonally completely inappropriate for a trailer that can’t decide whether it’s heartbreaking gritty nihilism (first half of trailer) or wise-ass action comedy (second-half). Trailer suggests a movie that doesn’t know what the hell it wants to be. Hopefully a 90-minute movie is able to finesse Bruce’s grieving process way better than the few minutes of this trailer did. Good to see him back on the big screen in a starring vehicle, though. Wistful.

  11. As usual with modern trailers, this one shows way too much and pumps up the song, which makes the whole thing feel kitschy. I don’t recall if the song was in the temp version I saw. The tone of the movie is a little “lighter” than DEATH SENTENCE, which was pretty grim on the whole, but fairly realistic. This new Death Wish, like I said, is a crowd pleaser. They calculated the beats and made sure that Willis emerges even more of a hero than Bronson did. Willis’s version has him a surgeon rather than an architect, so they play with that a little bit. It’s Roth’s most “accessible” and “entertaining” movie to date. I also just saw THE FOREIGNER with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, and that one is remarkably similar to this, but more downbeat. Jackie plays an ex-special forces soldier who endures a terrible tragedy and goes on the warpath for revenge. That film gives Jackie a sort of RAMBO-esque role with the utmost conviction. So if you’re a fan of Jackie, he’s great in it.

  12. I’ve had similar thoughts to Crushinator’s. As much of a fan as I am of the original and many of its ripoffs, I don’t think I can accept one made post-George-Zimmerman that doesn’t seriously address race. Not just a throw away reference either.

    I do think we have a great modern version of this type of story in DEATH SENTENCE. It achieves a great have-and-eat-cake balance of showing Kevin Bacon’s life destroyed by his vengeful obsession while also being an over-the-top, enjoyable genre movie. But they side-step any racial issues by having the bad guys be cartoonish white biker bros.

  13. Yeah, that sounds pretty all right.

  14. I think Asian killing white bad guys goes down easier than white guy killing minorities. I will be ok with the film if it goes all Live and Die on LA on the Bruce character.

  15. david: Great to hear about THE FOREIGNER as I’m, and I’m sure Stern, is looking forward to it. I’ve been digging the dramatic Jackie of late.

    I want to second Crush’s pitch for NEW DEATH WISH. I also read a good one a while back where someone suggested instead of going after the killer, Kersey goes after the senator/politician/whoever whose laws allowed them to get the gun in the first place.

    I have not watched the trailer as I’m sure I’ll be bombarded with it over the next months.

  16. I’m not even a Jackie Chan fan at all and I was absolutely hooked into that trailer. It’s directed by Martin Campbell, so hopefully this gets him out of movie prison after the GREEN LANTERN mess.

  17. BTW…fucking Mancow? I watched it again and got severe douchechills recognizing his voice as one of the radio guys. That might be enough to put me off it for good.

  18. Mancow is still a radio figure in chicago, believe it or not.

  19. I haven’t watched the trailer for THE FOREIGNER. Would rather just wait for the actual movie. Jackie Chan with a darker and harder edge vs. Pierce Fucking Brosnan is appealing enough in itself.

  20. Oh and I’ll be checking for DEATH WISH irregardless of how awkward “now the armed white guy is wearing the hoodie” comes across. Last 3 Bruce movies I watched stunk so law of probability tells me the next one I watch (this one) should be watchable. If not well I always have GLASS.

  21. Glass… who gives a shit about glass?

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  22. Twitter is probably going to absolutely eviscerate this movie though regardless of it’s actual intentions.

  23. Another example of terrible trailer music selection, but otherwise this FOREIGNER trailer looks great. Frankly seems like another very unlikely domestic theatrical release (and Jackie Chan billed against Pierce Brosnan seems pretty unlikely in any decade), but I’ll take it. Pierce Brosnan is clearly getting his Gerry Adams on.

  24. I don’t know if it’ll come off this way in the final movie. But the trailer gives the impression that the filmmakers are going to deal with the racial dynamics by portraying Willis partially as a white savior as well as an avenger…. I don’t know if that’s going to go over well….

  25. If only real life was as black and white as these wish-fulfillment stories. That’s not a put-down for the film because who doesn’t want to vicariously see Bruce bring street justice to a bunch of lowlife rednecks, drug dealers and gang-bangers. I am hoping that not all of them are guilty in the way Bronson assumed they were all scum who deserved to die, and the fact that it’s Bruce in the lead means there might be more character nuance. And I love what Carnahan did with THE GREY by exploring themes of wounded masculinity, fear of death, grief and isolation. So I was pleasantly surprised and hopeful when I saw he did the screenplay.

    And if this doesn’t deliver the vigilante grit that some of us might want, there is always the awesome PUNISHER: WAR ZONE to revisit.

  26. Jack …

    Schieß dem Fenster!

  27. Jack won the day.

    David J Moore, out of curiosity, what does the budget of a Boyka, Savage Dog or Triple Threat look like. Are we talking one million, 5 million etc? Are these movies ever able to be profitable in this market of Netflix and VOD?

  28. Sternshein: I can tell you that the budgets for these movies are getting smaller and smaller. It’s almost ridiculous. Well under a million on most of them. I can’t tell you exact numbers, but compared to the close to 10 million they were getting on things like Isaac’s THE SHEPHERD just ten or so years ago, the budgets are tiny, tiny. I was on set for 5 days of Savage Dog, and to see the dedication of guys like Jesse and Scott is inspiring. They forge on because THEY MUST if these movies are going to survive. The ONLY way these movies are going to be made is if we pay money to see them and support them financially in any way we can. There’s no other way. These movies are literally an endangered species, and Scott is virtually the last action hero we’re likely to get in this downloadable era. I completely understand why most people turn their noses up at these movies. The budgets are SO low. Sometimes it shows. The fact that movies like BOYKA are finally getting noticed and praised is like praising an ant carrying 100x its weight going up a mountain. I’m glad to see that Vern is rallying a small army of supporters for these films.

  29. … and if anyone cares, I produced a couple of “making of” features for SAVAGE DOG, one of which is on YouTube. Take a look at it and pass it along, if you would. Thanks, guys.

    Savage Dog - Behind The Scenes

    Here we have an exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of the action film Savage Dog. Starring: Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Cung Lee, Juju Chan, Keith...

  30. How did your two books do sales wise?

  31. Sales could always be better, my friend. That said, I’m working on three others – not including a revamped and updated World Gone Wild – all simultaneously. If I don’t write these, no one will.

  32. I’m in the very very early stages of getting a book together and I’m always interested in the business behind niche titles. You know what I mean?

  33. On top of that, Universal didn’t even send out review copies of Boyka. I happily bought one using Vern’s Amazon link but if they’re not even sending promo screeners to press willing to promote it, how do they expect people to find it?

    And they sent out Cop and a Half 2.

  34. THERE IS A COP & A HALF 2?!?!?!?

  35. Ha ha ha ha Jack, brilliant!

    Oh and WTF @ COP AND A HALF 2? who the hell did they get to replace Burt and my fellow 80s baby?

  36. Lou Diamond Phillips.

    Has anybody seen Kindergarten Cop 2? That one has the most confusing timeline.

  37. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 4th, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Damn I feel bad now for being so down on SAVAGE DOG. I do greatly respect these guys for soldiering on in a genre I love and trying to keep it alive under ridiculous circumstances. Doesn’t help me or anyone else going online and shitting on it.

    On the other hand I am afraid that we’re already too far down the cycle of “lower budgets = lower quality action = less profit = even lower budgets” to ever escape from it. Fans on here will make a conscious effort to still buy even the lesser films but in general it’s probably gonna be hard to make people spend money on even a top quality product like BOYKA. Let alone something like SAVAGE DOG.

  38. RE: DTV action being an endangered species

    Dear Aspiring Screenwriters,

    Get to work!
    Seriously, I would say that 90% of the terrible DTV action titles suffer firstly from some pretty lame screenplays. And there’s nothing more depressing than watching a group of talented people work very hard on something that’s inherently dunderheaded, dimwitted, or both. Ink on paper is the least expensive aspect of film production that can go the longest way towards a film’s overall quality. If you have an idea for a low budget action flick, write it! Then do everything you can to get it in front of the right set of eyes.

  39. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 4th, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Honestly, I’ve been thinking about seriously taking a stab at that lately.

    Something that goes hand in hand with a bad script is that the makers will feel the need to patch up the holes with a constant stream of minor action beats, to keep people’s attention. I’ve long felt that it would be better to have only two GREAT action scenes in these DTV films instead of throwaway 30 second punch-ups every ten minutes or so with a slightly bigger punch-up plus a small explosion for a climax. Wouldn’t it be better if you invest all that time and effort in one large 6 minute finale that will actually be riveting to watch and memorable, that people will wanna go on Youtube for to go watch again and again? I can imagine scenes like that would have a much larger and long lasting impact, and could maybe even serve as show reels of what particular action stars/directors would be capable of when given more resources.

    But yeah, the script’s gotta be able to carry the film until that climax, and that’s hardly ever the case with these DTV films. Definitely room for an opportunity there, although (much) easier said than done of course…

  40. It sounds like what these films need is an actor that has had big screen success. The budget for the typical Bruce Willis DTV film has to be much larger than the Scott Adkins DTV films.

    I also have yet to figure out what the deal is with Steven C Miller and how he’s able to make all of these DTV Bruce Willis movies.

  41. I could never be a screenwriter. You work your balls off to make a story work, to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, and then every backslapping asshole passing through the production office gets a chance to fuck it up. I have never been a great collaborator nor a great sufferer of fools so that process would destroy me. I’d be that bitter prick you see in the special features talking about how much better his first draft was. No thanks. I’ll stick to books, where the only one who’s allowed to fuck it up is me.

  42. Like, Majestyk, I would never want to write screenplays. I like to write and create my own worlds through literature. It is a simple non-headaching procedure that may not pay anything but the simple satisfaction of having created something that is unfuckwithable.

    I´ll stick to words and try to create a singular vision that will perhaps never see the light of day to most people. But that vision is mine and mine alone. And if I need feedback I have friends to give it to me.Not some test screening bullshit, but honest opinions that actually matters. And even if I disagree with the feedback, it is up to me to whatever changes I make.

    I write, because I love to write, not to make a buck. And I´ll never succumb to those screen writing courses since those are all about how to please people rather than howto tell an honest story. Because you can´t teach that shit.

  43. Of all those direct to video movies, I think I’ve only heard of The Prince, which means I’ve more familiar with Seagal’s recent filmography than Bruce Willis’s in this year of our Lord 2017.

    As far as vigilante stories go, they are much harder to take post George Zimmerman. I watched the original Death Wish a year after he murdered Trayvon Martin, and it was actually an unpleasant experience. If I had watched the same movie a couple of years earlier, I think I might have at least enjoyed how much of a piece of conservative propaganda the movie is.

    I also tend to dislike movies or TV shows that try to use a vigilante narrative to comment on vigilantism. The moment they explicitly ask the question, “Should one man take the law into his own hands?” they lose me. The answer is almost always, “No. Of course not.” It’s pretentious in the truest sense of the word. (This obviously doesn’t apply to films that genuinely try to tweak the formula). If these movies don’t try to be “philosophical” about the topic, then I can at least sit back and enjoy some carnage.

  44. Mamet and Herzog got online courses that cover screenwriting. I was considering them especially since they don’t cost much. Even if I’m also in the “I write cause I like to write” camp.

    Way I see it everyone else is freelancing and monetizing their passion and just half steppin like Big Daddy Kane refused to do. Sadly it’s working for a lot of them. So it wouldn’t hurt me to try now that I am tackling creating multimedia in general with no fear for once in my life. I think I’m lived in enough and at a point in my life that I might as well try despite all the fuck shit involved.

    I’ll take that over more monotonous work and still dealing with fuck shit everyday anyway.

  45. For me, there’s nothing wrong with telling a vigilante story, even post-Trayvon, and I guess that’s where I have to side with the right-wingers and moderates who get all bent out of shape about the more aggressive efforts to police speech or art. I get bent out of shape about that, too.**

    For me, the tone of the film is what matters. Basically, it’s the difference between the filmmaker and/or studio taking us into deeper engagement with messiness of the human condition by telling a compelling story about a particular sequence of events and choices vs. presenting the story as a generalizable and on-the-nose piece of social commentary about the nature of society’s problems and the best solution(s) (viz., we need more vigilantes, more guns in the hands of the “good guys,” etc.). I’m solidly on the left, and I don’t really appreciate overtly preachy films at any point on the political spectrum, because it feels bad-manipulative no matter whether I agree with the underlying politics. Individual narratives are so varied and pliable that you can tell just about any story to make any point you want to make (vigilantes are good, war is bad, wealthy people deserve their wealth, wealthy people are scam artists and exploiters). Tell the story and view the story as a story, not as a think tank position paper.

    **Art and speech have to be allowed to offend our sensibilities and challenge us. We need to be challenged emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, I think. Great artists and genres and revolutionary thinkers always offend a lot of people. Which is not to say that people or art perceived as offensive or off-color or “non-PC” are always bearers of great truth and aesthetic value, just to say that the overall climate is healthier when we debate art, ideas, and solutions (strategies, technologies, policies) openly and on their merits rather than unwrapping the cutlery and being instantly offended by the very idea that someone would explore an idea that has the potential to be insensitive. I’m sure there are edge cases of beyond the pale bad taste or mean-spiritedness, but I think our societal threshold for being offended by art or speech needs to be ratcheted up a few notches. End of rant.

  46. Also, that’s awesome to hear you folks getting serious-er about your own forays into creativity. Good stuff! Even if you can’t “monetize” it, there is beauty in discourse, reflection, and engagement with art, however you can. That’s why I love Vern and you all and this site so much.

  47. i’m kind of confused by this division between “writing screenplays” and “writing any sort of creative fiction”. screenplays are just another format to express oneself and tell a story. i’m probably just being dim here but this notion that writing a screenplay is symbiotic with having to deal with the bullshit that may or may not happen in the one in a million chance it even gets optioned, let alone produced, runs counterintuitive to the ideal of writing for pleasure’s sake or personal creative development or catharsis or any number of other awesome things.

    i write screenplays (and other shit too). i’m proud of some of the ones i’ve written. the process of writing them is often sickeningly stressful but incredibly rewarding when one comes out better than i could have ever hoped it would. they will never ever ever ever get made and i know this. i’m sure that i’ll write a bunch more that will also stress me out and never get made and that’s just fine too. just like how all of the short or long form prose i’ve written in my life will never get published or read by any more than a handful of people as well. i guess i just don’t understand how one form of writing that may or may not ever exist outside of one’s own work station is any different than any other.

  48. I never said I was just writing for the fun of it. Who the hell ever said writing is fun? Sometimes it is, but more often than that it’s hard work. It’s slow and tedious and often unrewarding and frustrating and more than once it’s made me wish nobody had ever told me I was good at it so I could have lived a quiet life of blissful ignorance with no grandiose dreams to compare my disappointing reality to. I have no desire to go through all that and not share the end result with the world in the form that I intended it to take. And that’s just not possible if you’re “just” a screenwriter. Somewhere along the way, unless you’re your own director or you’re part of a fully simpatico writing/directing team (which I’ve attempted in the past, and in my experience, when there’s a disagreement, the director always wins) your vision will get lost. It’s an inevitable part of the process and not worth the heartbreak. When/if I finish a book or a story, I know that’s the finished product. It’s not getting filtered through a dozen other people. For better or worse, that’s me there on the page. And if you can’t say that about your own work, what’s the point? There are easier ways to get by in this world. To quote a great writer who bit his tongue for no one, “UPS is hiring.”

  49. I never claimed you did. I only claimed that I did. For the most part it is fun. But not always. Since you are alone on it, It can be frustrating and you constantly doubt your own capability and since there is nobody else around you carry that shit for yourself and you are stuck with a process that you can´t explain to anyone. You have to work it out yourself.

    But the idea that writing is never fun? Come on..why the fuck else would you do it if it wasn´t?

  50. i never said that writing was fun, or that you suggested anything of the sort. i said that it can be creatively pleasurable at times along with a bunch of other things such as stressful and maddening and often completely disregarded or unacknowledged. all i was suggesting is that it seems incredibly defeatist to me to deprive oneself of a creative outlet based on the notion that it may at some point be taken away from the creator and corrupted or compromised in some way. the script as initially written will always exist for the author in the same way that any manuscript would, so how is that different than any other form of writing that a person might choose to work in.

    screenplays can exist in their raw form the same way that plays can the same way that any form of writing can and still be completely legit. eventually getting them onto the stage or screen might be the preferred outcome but it isn’t the only one.

    and unless a writer chooses to self publish, their novels, poems, short fictions, periodicals etc etc will inevitably go through a process of editorial influence which they can choose to accept or ignore as much as their contract/malleability allows. all i was suggesting is that restricting the creative format one writes in simply based on possible projections of how it may or may not be hindered by outside influence somewhere down the line is unfortunate. and i still don’t understand how the writing of the raw material of one form of creative output differs from another, all possible subsequent bullshit aside.

  51. I write because I find it fun, but I never have the notion that i can make money of it. I find that to be an impossible dream, so why just not enjoy the freedom when nobody can enforce their own ideas on your own

  52. me and shoot got that accidental, cross-wires, tag-team action lurkin. i’m not even sure who i’m agreeing or disagreeing with or why anymore.

  53. Yeah, you guys are right. Forget I said anything. Like I said in the VALERIAN thread, I’m in a real pessimistic spot right now, and a big part of that is that I’m suffering the worst case of writer’s block of my life. Every sentence is a challenge, every paragraph a battle, every page a disappointment. Definitely, writing can be fun, the funnest thing I know how to do, and when it is I’m happy just to do it for me and me alone. But that hasn’t happened for months, and when writing is like pulling teeth (Writer’s Block Symptom #1: Resorting to cliches), I want there to be some reward for it. I want to at least know that there’s a chance all this effort and heartache will leave me with something that’s all mine that I can share with the world and point at and say “I did that.” Writing screenplays isn’t gonna do that for me. If it does for you guys, I’m glad and wish you the best on your creative journey. Mine’s in some choppy waters right now.

  54. On a personal note, I just wanted to say that I highly endorse both of david’s books. I am currently reading World Gone Wild cover to cover and it’s a blast. Thanks david and much continued success in the future.

  55. I have a shit ton of unfinished screenplays and books on my hard drive, because I hate everything I do from a certain point on. (Don’t ask about all the unfinished music.)

  56. Thanks, JB!

  57. The thing I hate is when a comedian tells an offensive joke and when people call him out that he starts complaining about PC culture. What nobody mentions is that nine times out of ten the joke wasn’t funny to begin with.

  58. Telling a potentially offensive joke is like staging a palace coup. The reward could be great, but you better not miss.

  59. Sternshein – That’s exactly what happened with Seinfeld a few years ago when he made a hackneyed joke out of a mothball stereotype of gay people, and then he got pissed off that the audience didn’t laugh. I don’t think anyone called for his head or anything. He was just genuinely upset that a bunch of college students didn’t laugh at his joke, which was lame to begin with.

    I know we’ve talked a lot about political correctness around these parts. On my part, I don’t necessarily see a problem with avoiding terms that hurt and degrade other people. I also don’t think this is anything new. There have always been rules about what sort of speech is socially appropriate. We just have a particular name for this right now. I would also argue that everyone believes in political correctness in some way or another. For instance, across the board, we’ve decided that we should speak highly of our troops and praise the sacrifices they’ve made (with the exception of Donald Trump, of course).

    Anyways, with that said, what the hell is up with the backlash against that Confederacy show on HBO? I just don’t understand how people are tearing apart this theoretical show that we haven’t even seen a trailer for. I believe in being able to criticize something if you think it’s not very good or promotes a harmful view of the world, but I have a real problem with categorically saying that a genre or particular narrative is automatically off limits.

  60. Dolph plays an FBI Agent in Kindergarten Cop 2. It should be Kindergarten Agent! He’s not a police officer at all!

    It’s fun though and Dolph is fun in it. I’ll watch Cop and a Half 2 eventually too, but Universal could have gotten early coverage for Boyka. They did for Hard Target 2, maybe it wasn’t enough?

  61. Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff I mean like the pre-backlash against things or just the more nitpicky stuff. If a joke’s not funny or a show is poorly done, then fine. And if you find something to be ignorant or mean-spirited, then by all means, say so. There’s a time for saying your piece and taking your stand. It just seems like the reaction is often premature or disproportionate. Kind of has a chilling effect on dialogue or self-awareness.

  62. Fred, we’re you confused with the timeline I was? The acting choices suggest it takes place over a school year but the plot suggests it takes place in a week. It’s weird.

    I’m watching Hard Target 2 and it definitely feels like it had the budget of Universal behind it compared to Boyka.

  63. Re: the writing process, Ebert years ago wrote that “the muse only visits once you sit down with pen and paper”(paraphrased). IE writing is most parts discipline. I disagree that (as with any creative process, music, painting etc) inspiration is waiting for you to sit on your fat arse/plug the guitar in/pick up the paintbrush before you get inspired, though the tools are essential to the formed art-piece. But shouldn’t inspiration in everyday life be the driving, motivational force behind wanting to create? If you have the desire to be creative in any platform, shouldn’t even the mundane, ho-hum aspects of daily drudgery be a launching pad for expression? You don’t have to have the suffering of a Frida Kahlo to be creative. You could be a David J Moore who plugs away behind the scenes with a quiet passion but creates tremendous film writing tomes.

    Having said that, if you don’t enjoy the process, even when it’s frustrating and you’re making little progress, either you need to get outside and go hiking in the mountains for a day, or reconsider your motivations.

  64. Sterns, I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention to KC2 to notice but I believe you.

    Not sure Hard Target 2 had that much more. Roel knows how to make his movies look bigger, and Thailand locations help.

  65. Get a writing partner and force yourself to write several times a week. No. Matter. What. Doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, or your birthday, or your favorite band is in town. You are writing Wednesday and Friday and Saturday.

    Forcing yourself to write on days when you have other options will make you write better on days when there’s not other options.

    Also, write shitty first drafts. A shitty first draft is worth way more than a brilliant half-finished draft. And then you edit.

  66. I write mostly short stories as my ideas seldom stretches out o a fullblown novel. therefore I am left with a bunch of completed stories, which leaves me inspired to keep writing as I feel accomplishment on a regular basis.

    It is certainly not an easier artform than novel. But everyone seems to insist on writing a novel the first thing they do and then they get stuck and that is usually the end of it. Try to write shorter stories and experiment with the prose and the type of stories you want to tell. Short stories can be any length and they don´t have to be any good, but they are a great way of continuing writing without getting stuck so much.

    A novel can be overwhelming and I still don´t feel comfortable climbing that mountain yet. I have an idea brewing, but meanwhile I try to keep on writing by doing shorter contained bursts of prose.

  67. Whites can be bad. Blacks can be bad. I hope Bruce kills bad guys, regardless of race.

  68. And that’s a good thing?

  69. I vouch for Tawdry’s advices. As the adage goes “writing is rewriting.”

  70. Yeah, I’ve been afraid to get into it, but it seems to me pretty clear that people have completely misjudged that Confederacy show. If they go through with it I guarantee it’s going to be the “southern heritage” people and sympathizers who are calling for it to go off the air. To me it sounds like a very powerful metaphor for dealing with the legacy of slavery and the civil war. I like popular art about important things, and that might be the most important thing to address in our country right now.

    Aaron MacGruder’s show (an alternate history where freed slaves were given land as reparations and are now a rival country) sounds awesome too and I have liked his shows so far.

    Majestyk, thank you so much for your explanation of Roth. You articulated succinctly something that’s been bothering me since the Ain’t It Cool days when I would never hear the end of it if I mildly criticized South Park. I’m going to hold on to the term “South Park centrist.”

  71. Do you really think though Vern that when people call for more black-centric entertainment, the first thing they want is a TV show that’s once again all about them being slaves instead of something more positive and aspirational, like the Amazon series sounds like? It’s also a much fresher premise in general than the “The bad guys won in this timeline” gimmick. It would be cool I guess if CONFEDERACY was ultimately going to be about a second Civil War, or a slave uprising taking place in a more contemporary setting, but with how TV works that’d probably take at least 2 seasons to get to.

  72. I’m not a historian but even if the south won the chances slavery doesn’t end anyway is pretty slim.

  73. I didn’t say it was the first thing anyone wanted. I just think it’s a potentially powerful idea that could take the delusions of Confederacy-apologists to their logical conclusion and rub their noses in how ugly and indefensible it is. But we’ll see. (Or somebody will. I don’t get HBO.)

  74. @Sternshein: Do you mean shortly after the end of the war, or long-term? Because slavery was in the Confederacy’s constitution. This was their reason to exist and to rebel, and there was no way they would give up on it without substantial cause.

  75. How’s Bruce’s latest, ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE?

  76. Once Upon a Time in Venice is not great, but not bad. I was charmed for most of its run time. It’s definitely not an action movie, though, and the little action it has is very dumb. It’s more a breezy, low-stakes private eye story. The cast is overqualified from top to bottom — even the bites roles are played by actors I recognize and like from other things. John Goodman’s scenes are the highlights.

  77. Sternshein – You should check out the book The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist. For a long time, people just assumed that slavery would have ended in the South in a couple of decades even if the Civil War never took place. Part of the argument was that free labor is much more productive than slave labor. Even Adam Smith makes the argument that a laborer who can sell his own work would be more productive than an enslaved laborer.

    Baptist actually goes into the historical record and demonstrates that this just isn’t true. Slave labor was far more productive and efficient than free labor. He basically examines ways in which slavery was deeply embedded within the southern economy and was a part of the larger global economy. In other words, slavery was an integral part of the South’s capitalist system, which suggests that there were lots of incentives, at least economically, to keep it around for a long time. And as Zombo mentions, culturally, it was hugely important. It was mentioned in just about every Confederate State’s reason for seceding.

    Obviously, we don’t know for certain what would have happened if the Confederacy had remained, but I don’t think slavery would have automatically ended in a couple of decades or even a couple of generations.

    What’s funny about the backlash against the Confederate show is that the arguments against the show so often sound like they should be arguments for why the show should exist. I often hear people claim that the Confederacy is still too revered by too many people, so the show shouldn’t be made. But if this series illustrates how vicious and awful the Confederacy would have been, then isn’t that just one reason why it could do some good?

  78. I’m white, over 40, and really have no unique perspective on the Confederacy debate. But while I can sympathize with Vern’s desire to “take the delusions of Confederacy-apologists to their logical conclusion and rub their noses in how ugly and indefensible it is” I can also see how it could feel a bit grating to black folks to see this aim achieved by, once again, fictionally re-enslaving them. I also have to disagree with the assumption that bigots are going to be pissed off at a lavishly-produced spectacle of black enslavement — they’re really good at missing the point.

    Black Panther, on the other hand — that’s gonna piss them off.

  79. “I can see how it could feel a bit grating to black folks.”

    Yeah, and I can see how any number of Tarantino films are offensive to any number of ethnic, cultural, and national groups, but I really have no sympathy for that. Bigotry and genocide suck, but films commenting on that or engaging in fantasy from within that milieu gotta be free to do that. Unless the film is clearly promoting racism or romanticizing oppression, you gotta let it do it’s thing. Grow a thicker skin and/or change the channel is my feeling.

  80. Sorry, I know it’s “its.” I always do that when I fail to proof before hitting submit (which is most of the time).

  81. I agree about growing a thicker skin — people who glibly conflate criticism with censorship really need to learn how to do that.

  82. I agree with that. I said earlier that my reaction to a 2017 film about a white vigilante has a lot to do with the tone and the particulars of the story being told and whether the film seems to be romanticizing or promoting vigilante-ism (commenting on its role in our society in some broader sense). Is the film otherwise sending xenophobic or gun-stockpiling messages? Is it suggesting that vigilante-ism is effective, heroic, and consequence-free? I feel the same way about criticism. I think it’s legitimate to engage in politically informed criticism of an artist or his/her art, but there is an element of mob slacktivist policing that seems very knee-jerk. It’s often not very well-informed or charitable and has a very heuristic, paint-by-numbers quality to it. “You can’t say that word or talk about that subject or have that kind of person star in that kind of movie” sort of thing.

  83. I guarantee that most of the people making those “paint-by-numbers” complaints are far, far more tired of making them than you will ever be of hearing them.

    (Respectfully, I’m out.)

  84. I always had this idea for a Tenebrae remake where the main character is basically Eli Roth. I’m surprised nobody even attempted to remake it with torture porn director instead of horror film novelist.

  85. Eli Roth

    IN 2017

  86. Jesus, that looks awful. Barely any feeling in it and the vigilante thing has been done to death. Music in the trailer just bizarre.

  87. Uhm…I just leave this here, because it’s the latest trailer thread. (Man, I wish we had a forum on here winkingsmileyface)

    It’s the trailer for a German action short film. With a twist. It’s available for rent at Vimeo and normally I wouldn’t tell you about it without having seen the whole thing, because the possibility that it’s awful is VERY high, but since the whole thing only runs 33 minutes, it might be over before the joke gets old and…oh fuck, just watch the damn trailer.

    https://vimeo.com/ondemand/hardwaytheactionmusical

  88. It was pretty cool. Nice visuals and style. I will watch it.

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