A Dream for a Left-Wing Death Wish

A remake of Death Wish is coming out later this year. Let’s take a look at the trailer.

Oh dear. That looks kind of racist, definitely sexist, and entirely tone deaf to the current US political climate. So of course it’s directed by Eli Roth, who does nothing but make ugly films with rampant racist, sexist and/or homophobic undertones. How anyone could’ve seen Hostel and thought, “yes, let’s allow this person to make more movies” is beyond me.

But I’m not going to lie. I love revenge movies. I eat up vigilante movies. Yes, they’re manipulative garbage that help perpetuate harmful stereotypes about crime and culture, but they’re really cathartic. Sometimes it feels good to be presented with a black-and-white situation and see the two-dimensional bad guys get exactly what’s coming to them. But I get it, they’re harmful. They serve as propaganda for right-wing bastards and alt-right Nazis. Fine. If we can’t have traditional vigilante movies like Death Wish anymore, I understand. I’ll take the ones we already have and leave it at that. Coffy is dope. I’ll watch Coffy again.

But why not change the formula, update it to fit the villains of the 21st century?

Let’s see Death Wish but with big business. A small town is destroyed when the CEO of the last big business in town closes shop and moves to China. He didn’t need to, the company is making big bucks, he just wants to make more. The town falls into complete disrepair, crime skyrockets, and people die. A former factory worker sees his family destroyed and friends succumb to alcoholism and drug abuse. He seeks out the suits responsible for the move and offs them one-by-one, ala Denzel in Man On Fire. In the end, the surviving businessmen cave and relocate the business back to the small town in order to save their own lives.

Happy ending.

How about Death Wish but with big pharma. A man sees his kids get addicted to prescription opiods. He finds out that their doctor was over-prescribing them because of kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies. He tracks down the responsible parties, straps them to chairs and feeds them prescription medications until they painfully O.D. Throw in some unpleasant murders with syringes just to mix things up. Eventually, he wipes them all out. Without their evil influence skewing public services, rehab clinics and support centers can open up shop.

Happy ending.

I’d love to see Death Wish but with climate change. An unprecedented heat wave hits a small Midwestern town. Hundreds die. A drought follows that destroys the crops. The rains finally come, but as flash floods that lay waste to the entire town, killing even more. The disastrous trifecta leaves a farmer a bankrupt childless widower. He sees a paid climate denier pundit on TV working to delay meaningful climate change action, and decides its time for a change. He visits all the big climate deniers and ironically kills them by poisoning them with CO2, burning their skin off, and so on. With their verbal tools of genocide removed, the world finally starts to make roads of minimizing climate change.

Happy ending.

If vigilante movies can be unapologetically right-wing, turning the disenfranchised and poor into cartoon villains undeserving of sympathy or redemption, why can’t they be left-wing Why can’t CEOs, big business, and lying pundits get the same treatment? And yeah, I know that big business is often made to be the villain in countless movies, but not like poor minorities are in movies like Death Wish. Turn them into mindless monsters for a change, show them as they really are, and let them get the punishments they actually deserve.

Seeing poor drug dealers get shot by Pam Grier, while still entertaining, isn’t the catharsis it used to be for me. I need a bit more.

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