The new trailer for Eli Roth’s Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 Michael Winner film of the same name, has drawn a mixed response on social media.
Many are excited at the prospect of seeing lead Bruce Willis play a vengeful Chicago surgeon, who decides to take matters into his own hands after the murder of his wife ( Elisabeth Shue ) and brutal rape of his daughter (Camila Morrone ), who is left in a coma.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given horror fiend Roth’s involvement, the film also promises a gory twist on the original: in this version, Willis’s character Dr Paul Kersey is a surgeon, who will put his skills to macabre use when exacting his revenge.
For others, however, the trailer, which shows Willis become a vigilante after he is failed by law enforcement, has struck a sour note.
The author Chuck Wendig, known for writing Star Wars novels and comic books, was among those who expressed concern.
“Seems a strange time to give a high-five to an older angry white dude going vigilante with lots of guns,” he said in a series of tweets about the film.
Others were concerned by the decision to move the action to Chicago, a city known for its problems with gun violence and comparatively high homicide rate, and branded the trailer “alt-right fan fiction” and “tone deaf”.
In a piece for The Mary Sue, writer Jessica Lachenal explained some of the objections to the trailer in more detail, expressing her view that the film encourages the contentious idea that gun ownership is a good thing.
“This trailer is a huge advertisement for the NRA. It’s ‘Good Guy With a Gun: The Movie’ It’s narratives like these that spur people into believing that “one good guy with a gun” is enough to justify the countless lives lost to senseless gun violence every day,” she wrote.
Unlike other critics, she also explicitly objected to the way race is portrayed in the film, writing: “The people of color in this film are presented as poor, lost souls, so unsure of what to do until some white guy with a gun comes to save them all. Like, wow. ‘He’s a guardian angel!’ they say. That is some white man’s burden, colonialist, white savior bullshit, right? And this film is totally doing its best to push that. Come on.”
Film critic Alan Zilberman was even more blunt in his assessment: