Death Sentence Review
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Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) likes things to be carefully ordered. The mild-mannered risk assessment manager tends to play it safe, always trying to keep things balanced. But when Nickís oldest son, Brendan (Stuart Lafferty), is killed in a random gang initiation killing, the old Nick gradually dies with him.

When he realizes that thereís no way heíll be able to put his sonís killer away for lifeóthat all he can hope for is a three-to-five-year dealóNick decides to take matters into his own hands. After he gets his revenge, though, the gang figures out that heís responsible, and the gangís leader, Billy Darley (Garrett Hedlund) begins plotting his own revenge.

Meanwhile, Nickís wife, Helen (Kelly Preston), and their younger son, Lucas (Jordan Garrett), fail to notice Nickís transformation (or the fact that he comes home every night with more cuts and bruises). And Nick fails to realize that, in trying to defend his family, heís started a war thatís put them in even more danger.

  
 
Death Sentence is one of those movies that doesnít quite know what it wants to be when it grows up. Is it a heavy drama? Is it a gruesome shoot-Ďem-up thriller? Is it perhaps a horror-comedy?

Or maybe itís just an overdone B-movie.

Especially in the beginning, Death Sentence is a painfully over-the-top drama. Itís sappy and overdone, and the acting is just plain bad. And, worst of all, thereís just way too much drama. I realize that all the emotional, tear-stained scenes are supposed to make the audience feel bad for Nickóso theyíll cheer for him when he heads out to get his revenge. But, really, thatís beside the point in a movie like Death Sentence. If youíre going to go out to see a movie that involves exploding body parts and spattering blood, do you really care about strong characterization? Do you really want to feel sad? Do you really care if heís justified in blowing the crap out of a gang of half-witted tattooed punks? Not so much. You just want him to get on with it already. After all, real action movie men donít get sad; they get mad. And then they get even. Stop sitting around sobbing. Stop having long, slow, teary conversations with your son. Just give him a fatherly pat on the back, then go out and blow some stuff up.

But then comes Nickís weird transformationófrom mild-mannered office guy to crazed vigilante. Despite the fact that the latter half of the story is wildly far-fetched and filled with all kinds of holes (often to the point that itís downright ridiculous), itís a lot more entertaining (in the most awesomely bad sense of the word). Bacon clearly plays the pissed-off psycho a lot better than the freaked-out pansy. And he finally goes out and does some damage, Travis Bickle style.

As a whole, though, Death Sentence is sometimes slow and often silly. And itís anything but subtle. The second half does have the slightest bit of craptacular appealóbut itís not nearly enough to make it worthy of two hours of your time.

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