On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Death Sentence is a gritty, dismal 1 as in one of the worst movies of the year.
September must be payback month. In this overwrought revenge thriller, a mild-mannered, hard-working insurance adjuster, Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) with a loving wife (Kelly Preston) and two sons, Brendan (Stuart Lafferty) and Lucas (Jordan Garrett), seeks vengeance for a heartbreaking crime.
It all begins as Nick and teenage Brendan make a late-night stop after a hockey game at a gas station/mini-market, where some tattooed thugs blast the store clerk with a shotgun and in a gang initiation ritual one punk, Joe (Matthew OLeary), attacks and kills Brendan with a machete.
Although Joe is arrested, the prosecutor offers a plea deal of only three to five years in prison. Furious that Joe wont do hard time, Nick refuses to testify and takes justice into his own hands, stalking Joe and stabbing him to death. Problem is: Joes older brother, the gang leader Billy (Garrett Hedlund) declares that Nick has just bought a death sentence for his all-too-vulnerable family.
In supporting roles, Aisha Taylor is the lone voice-of-conscience detective, while John Goodman chews the scenery as a weapons dealer with paternal gangland ties.
Screenwriter Ian Mackenzie Jeffers loosely adapts Brian Garfields sequel to Death Wish which is directed by torture-master James Wan (the Saw trio). Despite one impressively photographed chase sequence atop a parking garage credit the shaky cinematography of John R. Leonetti – its exploitive and overwrought with extreme violence, bound to turn off all but the most excessively blood-thirsty movie-goers. And its conclusion is an unabashed rip-off of Travis Bickles shaved head and blown-off fingers in Taxi Driver, punctuated by the hardcore, heavy-handed soundtrack and score.