James Wan (Saw) brings the ultra-violence to this gritty story of a suburban father (Kevin Bacon) who discovers the consequences of revenge after his son is murdered. The perpetrators of this senseless killing are a multi-ethnic (and highly visible) gang of drug dealers and cutthroats led by the psychotic Billy Darley (Garrett Hedlund); when the case is thrown out on a technicality, Bacon takes a page from Charles Bronson's book (no surprise, as this is based on author Brian Garfield's 1975 follow-up to Death Wish) and pursues a vigilante course to avenge his boy. Things do not go according to Bacon's plan, which cues a series of frantic and well-executed action set pieces, most notably a parking structure chase that unfolds in a nearly unbroken take. Death Sentence breaks no new ground in the action-thriller department, and its characters and dialogue are nearly indistinguishable from any violent crime movie of the last few decades (in its weakest moments, it resembles grindhouse fare like The Exterminator); however, Bacon is excellent (as always) as the mild-mannered architect who discovers his inner killer the hard way, and Wan's knack for screen mayhem and unsettling atmosphere are well used here. The DVD includes both the theatrical version and an unrated cut (which offers 10 additional minutes), as well as two making-of featurettes that originally aired on the Fox Movie Channel, and several webisodes that focus on director Wan, his cast, and the film's elaborate stunts and fight scenes.
Actors: Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman, Kelly Preston, Matt O'Leary