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Get your first look at Bruce Willis in the upcoming remake,
Death Wish. A certified Hollywood legend, there was a time when Willis was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the entire world. He used the TV series Moonlighting to get noticed, then really cemented his star status by playing heroic cop John McClane in the Die Hard franchise. While Willis’ career is by no means stagnant, he’s definitely no longer at the point where his name on the poster alone guarantees a box office hit.
That said, Willis was definitely an intriguing casting choice for director Eli Roth’s upcoming reboot of Death Wish, the action franchise previously headlined by the late Charles Bronson. It’s been awhile since Willis has played the lead in an action film that just about anyone would call truly great – and casting him also brings along all of his John McClane baggage, as that character has evolved into almost a superhero in latter Die Hard entries.
Can Willis recapture his former cinematic glory, and do justice to the character of loving family man turned merciless vigilante Paul Kersey? Roth certainly thinks so, and he told Yahoo Movies as much in an interview. The piece also includes a batch of four new photos from the reboot, which can be seen in the gallery below, followed immediately by Roth’s plans to try and bring back the classic Willis that moviegoers have long known and loved:
“We wanted to bring back that great, classic Bruce Willis we all know and love and just do a fun, badass update of a revered classic. I wanted to bring Bruce back to that Fifth Element, Unbreakable, Die Hard glory and have him craft another iconic performance, and I really think he did it. I mean I really think this can be his Taken. The fun is watching him go crazy and watching someone slowly move the moral goal post.”
While very similar, Roth’s Death Wish dodges the label of simply being a remake of the original by changing up some key details. Whereas Bronson’s Paul Kersey was a New York City architect, Willis’ Kersey is a Chicago surgeon, although both characters turn murderously vengeful after their respective wives and daughters fall victim to a brutal home invasion.
Changing the setting to Chicago enabled the reboot to explore that city’s infamously high murder rates, says Roth, and changing Kersey’s profession enables the film to take a look at his progression from committed saver of lives to savage taker of them. As Roth puts it, “ The very things that make him a good surgeon are what eventually make him a great killer. ” It remains to be seen whether Death Wish will rejuvenate the 62-year-old Willis’ action career, but it seems to be as good a vehicle to accomplish that as any he’s had of late.