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"DEATH SENTENCE"
(2007) (Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Extreme Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Moderate Extreme *None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Extreme Heavy Extreme


NOTE:
The following is an unedited version of our final review that may contain spelling, grammatical, and/or factual errors. Fox Atomic did not screen "Death Sentence" for critics until very late the night before it opened, so we're still working on our final review that will be posted as soon as possible.
QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A father goes on a spree of vigilantism after an inner-city gang kills his son and then targets him and the rest of his family.
PLOT:
Nick Hume (KEVIN BACON) is a risk assessment specialist at a big-city financial firm. Married to Helen (KELLY PRESTON), he's a happy and proud father to Brendan (STUART LAFFERTY) and Lucas (JORDAN GARRETT), but particularly the former, his first-born who's become quite the hockey star in high school.

Thus, his life is shattered one night when a group of thugs, led by Billy Darley (GARRETT HEDLUND), seemingly robs a gas station where he and Brendan have stopped. Yet, rather than armed robbery, it's a gang initiation, where Joe (MATT O'LEARY) must kill someone to get in. Brendan, in the wrong place at the wrong time, has his throat slit, and dies later at the hospital.

Being the only witness, the D.A. informs Nick that they best they can hope for is to scare Joe and his defense into a plea bargain, thus resulting in perhaps three to five years of jail time. Shocked and unhappy about that, Nick opts out of the legal system and decides to take matters into his own hands.

Striking deadly revenge, he soon brings the wrath of Billy -- who works for gunrunner Bones (JOHN GOODMAN) -- down upon him and the rest of his family. With local cop Det. Wallis (AISHA TYLER) concerned about what Nick has started, the formerly mild-mannered man completely reinvents himself, determined to get revenge on all of those who've wronged him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, the director, or films dealing with and wallowing in revenge, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong bloody brutal violence and pervasive language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KEVIN BACON plays the initially mild-mannered and by-the-books risk assessment analyst whose life is turned upside down when thugs murder his son. He then goes on a vindictive spree to get revenge on all of those who've wronged him and his family. He murders various people and uses strong profanity.
  • GARRETT HEDLUND plays the tattooed gang leader who orders the initial initiation-based killing, and then wants Nick and his family dead after Nick first gets his revenge. He smokes, drinks, and uses strong profanity.
  • KELLY PRESTON plays Nick's wife who grieves over her son's murder and then worries about what Nick has started.
  • JORDAN GARRETT plays their 14-year-old son who's always lived in his older brother's shadow and worries that maybe it was he who should have died rather than his sibling. He briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • STUART LAFFERTY plays his older brother who has dreams of playing professional hockey when his life is snuffed out prematurely. He uses some profanity.
  • AISHA TYLER plays a local detective who worries and warns Nick about what he's started if he's declared war on Billy and his gang.
  • JOHN GOODMAN plays Billy's boss and father, an angry gunrunner who belittles his son and uses strong profanity.
  • MATT O'LEARY plays Billy's younger brother who kills Brendan to be initiated into his sibling's gang. He smokes, uses strong profanity, and has tattoos.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    Fox Atomic did not screen "Death Sentence" for critics until very late the night before it opened, so we're still working on this part of the review. That said, it's just another version of cinematic vindictiveness first popularized by Chuck Bronson back in the "Death Wish" movies.

    While the action here is rather intense and often well-done, the drama is inert when not ridiculous (despite the series nature of what occurs), thus mostly neutering the supposedly cathartic experience of watching a wronged everyman deal out his own brand of justice.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic suspense flick that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 89 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A man is told to go off with a hooker and he does, but while sexual activity is implied, none is seen.

    Violence consists of many people being killed by various means (gunfire, throat slit, stabbing, etc.), often with very bloody and graphic results (that also includes a leg being blown off). Brutal fighting also occurs, and all of those scenes and various moments of peril could be quite intense and/or suspenseful to some viewers. Some of that and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and tense family material involves various familial deaths and injuries, as well as the related grief. Characters smoke and/or drink, and some drug use and dealing are suggested. Thematic elements regarding vigilantism and more are also present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs at various points in the film.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of shaky camera movement is present in the film (including that in old home movies that play under the opening credits).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People celebrate New Year's Eve with champagne.
  • We see what looks like paraphernalia for drug distribution, etc.
  • Gang members drink beer and shots, and raise a toast to Joe. Billy also comments on one or more of them "toking" (presumably referring to smoking pot).
  • Some miscellaneous drinking occurs.
  • A bartender makes a comment about one of the gang members probably off getting high (tapping the inside of his arm to indicate heroin), and Nick later finds that man and a woman who both appear that way.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • The gang enters a gas station with shotguns drawn, and one of them shoots the worker in the chest, blowing him backwards, killing him (with bloody results). They then hold their guns on Brendan, with Joe then slicing his throat with a machete (with bloody results).
  • Nick has Brendan's blood on his clothing and skin.
  • Joe has bruises on his face following being hit by a vehicle.
  • We see blood on the knife blade Nick used to kill Joe, and Nick's hand is bloody from being cut during that struggle.
  • We see that blood has soaked through the bandage on Nick's hand.
  • Nick has a bloody lip after fighting a thug.
  • Worried about Billy and his gang attacking them at night, Nick has a police cruiser parked outside his house. However, when the horn starts blaring, he looks outside to see the cops dead in the car, with one having a neck wound that's bleeding profusely. Nick then encounters a thug in his house, and during the ensuing fight, one thug accidentally shoots another in the leg, with bloody results.
  • Spoiler Alert: Nick sees a thug shoot his son and wife before being shot himself. All are downed and a little bloody (the adults with some on their clothes, the son with some on his head), but both Lucas (in a coma) and Nick (wounded) live.
  • Both Nick and Lucas have cuts, scrapes and bruises on their faces after a bad run-in with Billy and his thugs.
  • We see a large, stitched up cut on Nick's head where his hair's been shaved. We also see a wound on his chest.
  • Nick shoots open and a door and then blasts a coffee table in front of a seated thug. He then steps on that man's hand, hits the guy (leaving his mouth bloody), and then holds his gun on him to make the thug call Billy. Once that's done, Nick shoots that thug dead (we see blood splatter onto the wall behind him).
  • Spoiler Alert: Billy shoots his father dead (we see blood on the pavement behind his body).
  • Nick gets into a cat and mouse game with the remaining gang members in a large factory or similar style building. During this, Nick shoots off one man's leg with a shotgun blast (seen in graphic detail then and moments later) before hitting his body with more, blowing him backwards. Many shots are then fired at Nick who runs for cover when not returning fire at them, including blasting one out through a window. He also fires down a stairwell with his shotgun, partially hitting a goon in the face (that's bloody). We then see Nick and a goon on either side of wall, with Nick's footstep alerting the goon to his position. But Nick sees the goon in a mirror and thus ducks when the shot rips through the wall, followed by Nick shooting back through that hole and hitting the thug several times, killing him (with bloody results).
  • Billy shoots Nick in the side, followed by Nick firing back, hitting Billy's arm, and seemingly blowing off some of his fingers. Another thug then shoots Nick in the neck, with him spinning and shooting that goon in the head, killing him (all with very bloody results).
  • Nick is bloody following a battle with Billy and his thugs.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Billy and his minions obviously have very bad attitudes for their gang-based actions that include murder and other criminal activity.
  • Nick takes the law into his own hands by killing Joe and then doing the same to many other gang members.
  • Bones is some sort of gunrunner who constantly belittles his son and doesn't seem to care that Nick wants to kill him.
  • Brendan and Lucas have somewhat of a brotherly, antagonistic relationship.
  • In a preliminary hearing, Joe makes a gun shooting gesture at Nick.
  • Bones comments to Billy about the latter's "faggot, half-wit friends."
  • Spoiler Alert: Billy shoots his father dead (we see blood on the pavement behind his body).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful, or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Two of the gangs' car speed down the road at night without headlights. After Nick flashes his to let them know, they come back around and slow down in front of him, as if to cut him off, but then speed away.
  • The gang enters a gas station with shotguns drawn, and one of them shoots the worker in the chest, blowing him backwards, killing him (with bloody results). They then hold their guns on Brendan, with Joe then slicing his throat with a machete (with bloody results). Pumping gas outside, Nick sees this and rushes toward the station, with a vehicle hitting him at a slow speed and knocking him to the pavement. He then gets up and rushes toward the door where he runs into Joe who's running out. The two struggle on the ground, with Joe kicking Nick as he gets up and runs out into the street, but a vehicle suddenly smashes into him there.
  • Nick follows (by car) the gang into the inner city.
  • After scoping out the scene, Nick confronts Joe at an interior dumpster at night. The two end up struggling and fighting (with punching, etc.), with Nick's knife then ending up in Joe's chest, killing him. Nick's hand is bloody from being cut during that struggle.
  • Viewers may worry about Nick and his family once Billy and his thugs know who killed Joe and want to get revenge on him.
  • We see a gang member after Nick on the busy sidewalk, but just as that punk rushes him, Nick spins and hits the guy with his briefcase. Billy then opens fire from the opposite direction, blowing out a glass bus shelter. He continues fires as they chase after Nick who rushes down various alleys, eventually running into a man who's just opened a door into the alley. Nick goes inside, as do the thugs moments later, with Billy holding a gun to one woman's head, wondering where Nick went. This chase eventually continues into a parking garage, where Nick sets off as many vehicle alarms as he can (to try to confuse his pursuers about his location). A door then suddenly bursts open and Nick ducks down to hide from an armed thug who's looking for him. Nick then sneaks up behind the man and then attacks him, with the two struggling over the gun that fires several times. Nick then disarms the thug, bashes his head repeatedly to the pavement, and then repeatedly hits him with a club of some sort. The fighting continues, including the man bashing Nick back against a car hard enough to shatter the window, Nick bashing a car door to the man's head, the man shooting at Nick, and finally the two struggling and punching each other inside a car. Nick puts it into gear and it starts rolling toward the edge, with Nick climbing out through the broken windshield just in time as the car plummets several floors where it lands on its roof hard and bashes into another vehicle (presumably killing the thug inside).
  • We see that Billy has Nick's briefcase, and now photos of his family.
  • One gang member storms into Nick's office building, knocks one person's papers away and pushes another. He then delivers a wrapped package to Nick before being physically escorted away by guards. Nick cautiously opens it to find his briefcase, as well as a photo of his family where lines have been drawn through their faces. Worried, he calls home, tells Helen and Lucas to stay put, and then rushes home while calling the police for help.
  • Spoiler Alert: Nick sees a thug shoot his son and wife before being shot himself. All are downed and a little bloody (the adults with some on their clothes, the son with some on his head), but both Lucas (in a coma) and Nick (wounded) live.
  • As Nick leaves Bones' gun lair, he hears a gun cock behind him, and turns to see Bones standing there holding a handgun. Bones wonders if Nick is the one who wants his son dead (and by default thus killed his other son), but then has no problem giving Nick his permission to do so.
  • Nick shoots open and a door and then blasts a coffee table in front of a seated thug. He then steps on that man's hand, hits the guy (leaving his mouth bloody), and then holds his gun on him to make the thug call Billy. Once that's done, Nick shoots that thug dead (we see blood splatter onto the wall behind him).
  • Nick speeds toward a thug in a parked van. That man reaches for his machine gun, but he's too late as Nick's car rams the van, tearing it in half (presumably killing that other man).
  • Nick gets into a cat and mouse game with the remaining gang members in a large factory or similar style building. During this, Nick shoots off one man's leg with a shotgun blast (seen in graphic detail then and moments later) before hitting his body with more, blowing him backwards. Many shots are then fired at Nick who runs for cover when not returning fire at them, including blasting one out through a window. He also fires down a stairwell with his shotgun, partially hitting a goon in the face (that's bloody). We then see Nick and a goon on either side of wall, with Nick's footstep alerting the goon to his position. But Nick sees the goon in a mirror and thus ducks when the shot rips through the wall, followed by Nick shooting back through that hole and hitting the thug several times, killing him (with bloody results).
  • Billy shoots Nick in the side, followed by Nick firing back, hitting Billy's arm, and seemingly blowing off some of his fingers. Another thug then shoots Nick in the neck, with him spinning and shooting that goon in the head, killing him (all with very bloody results). Unable to fire straight, Billy tries shooting Nick who's seated on an old church pew, but misses. Although we don't see it, it's then implied that Nick shoots him dead.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/ Shotguns/Machine guns/Knives/Machete: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • In a preliminary hearing, Joe makes a gun shooting gesture at Nick.
  • Nick goes looking through his garage for a weapon to use on Joe, and eventually finds and pockets and old and large knife.
  • We see many guns in Bones' lair, and Nick buys several handguns and a shotgun.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck down," "Or I'll blow your f*cking head off," "Kill that m*therf*cker," "F*ck you," "You f*cking scared the sh*t..." "Are you f*cking kidding me?" "Watch the f*cking pieces," "What the f*ck /you call that/is that/are you talking about?" "Faggot, half-wit friends," "I'll f*cking kill you," "Yes, you can get the f*ck out of my site," "F*cking half-wit," "Somebody f*cking tell me what the f*ck is going on?" "A good f*cking boy," "Who f*cking did it?" "Where the f*ck did he go?" "Oh f*ck," "You better get that through your f*cking skull," "Who the f*ck?" "F*cking pr*ck," "Sow this m*therf*cker," "You f*ck," "Oh sh*t," "Scared sh*tless," "Got a no-d*ck for a brother," "We gotta cover our asses," "You're such a kiss ass," "Whatever, weasel," "Easy-peazy," "Dawg," "Move your ass," "What the hell /you doing/is happening?" "Get in that G*ddamn car right now," "Bastard," "Pissed off," "You got the bastard of bastards," "Little piss-pants," "You sandbagging son of a bitch" and "Faggot."
  • All of the fighting, action, and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Lucas appears to give "the finger" to his brother.
  • Most, if not all of the gang members have varying amounts of tattoos, while some have various piercings.
  • In a preliminary hearing, Joe makes a gun shooting gesture at Nick.
  • Various types of graffiti are seen in various scenes.
  • Nick uses his body to bump into various vehicles to make their alarms go off (to confuses his pursuers, but kids might do it just for the noise factor).
  • Nick shaves his own head before going after the bad guys.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A vehicle suddenly smashes into Joe who's standing in the road.
  • A chained dog suddenly lunges out at Billy as he passes by.
  • A parking car garage door suddenly bursts open in a tense, cat and mouse scene.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous, and action-oriented and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None, but a song briefly heard playing in the background of one scene had lyrics that we couldn't understand.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 89 "f" words (9 used with "mother"), 11 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 12 asses (4 used with "hole"), 4 hells, 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 3 uses of "Oh God," 2 each of "G-damn," "God," "Jesus" and "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Billy tells Joe to spend the evening with a hooker, and we see him go off with one (but don't see any sexual activity).
  • We see Nick from the torso up as he showers. He then crouches down and cries, with Helen coming in (clothed) and comforting him, and we partially see some of his bare skin (his thigh or butt) behind her (but nothing explicit).
  • We see Nick shirtless (while tending to his own wounds).
  • SMOKING
  • Billy smokes at least 5 times, Joe at least twice, and some miscellaneous smoking is also present.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Nick carries his bloody and mortally wounded son into the emergency room. Later, Helen and Lucas join them, where they get news (from a doctor shaking his head) that Brendan has died. They react and grieve accordingly, followed by a brief funeral scene in the rain.
  • Nick gets a call from Helen that Lucas is missing, but he then finds him at the gas station. The boy is upset and wonders if it would have been better for his parents had he been killed rather than his brother (since he thinks they favored Brendan).
  • Spoiler Alert: We learn that Joe was Billy's younger brother.
  • Spoiler Alert: Nick sees a thug shoot his son and wife before being shot himself. All are downed and a little bloody (the adults with some on their clothes, the son with some on his head), but both Lucas (in a coma) and Nick (wounded) live.
  • Spoiler Alert: Billy shoots his father dead (we see blood on the pavement behind his body).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Vigilantism and taking the law into one's hands.
  • Gangs and related initiations.
  • Dealing with unexpected deaths in the family.
  • Children who feel that they're living in the shadow of a more successful sibling.
  • The D.A. telling Nick that Joe will probably only get 3 to 5 years in prison, if they're lucky, since Nick is the only witness.
  • Nick gets a call from Helen that Lucas is missing, but he then finds him at the gas station. The boy is upset and wonders if it would have been better for his parents had he been killed rather than his brother (since he thinks they favored Brendan).
  • The comment that everybody thinks they're right in a war.
  • Billy telling Nick (about his vindictive spree), "Look at you, you look like one of us."
  • VIOLENCE
  • We hear the sound of a hockey puck accidentally breaking a window.
  • Brendan half-playfully smacks Lucas on the back of the head and later grabs and wrestles with him.
  • The gang enters a gas station with shotguns drawn, and one of them shoots the worker in the chest, blowing him backwards, killing him (with bloody results). They then hold their guns on Brendan, with Joe then slicing his throat with a machete (with bloody results). Pumping gas outside, Nick sees this and rushes toward the station, with a vehicle hitting him at a slow speed and knocking him to the pavement. He then gets up and rushes toward the door where he runs into Joe who's running out. The two struggle on the ground, with Joe kicking Nick as he gets up and runs out into the street, but a vehicle suddenly smashes into him there.
  • After scoping out the scene, Nick confronts Joe at an interior dumpster at night. The two end up struggling and fighting (with punching, etc.), with Nick's knife then ending up in Joe's chest, killing him. Nick's hand is bloody from being cut during that struggle.
  • We see a gang member after Nick on the busy sidewalk, but just as that punk rushes him, Nick spins and hits the guy with his briefcase. Billy then opens fire from the opposite direction, blowing out a glass bus shelter. He continues fires as they chase after Nick who rushes down various alleys, eventually running into a man who's just opened a door into the alley. Nick goes inside, as do the thugs moments later, with Billy holding a gun to one woman's head, wondering where Nick went. This chase eventually continues into a parking garage, where Nick sets off as many vehicle alarms as he can (to try to confuse his pursuers about his location). A door then suddenly bursts open and Nick ducks down to hide from an armed thug who's looking for him. Nick then sneaks up behind the man and then attacks him, with the two struggling over the gun that fires several times. Nick then disarms the thug, bashes his head repeatedly to the pavement, and then repeatedly hits him with a club of some sort. The fighting continues, including the man bashing Nick back against a car hard enough to shatter the window, Nick bashing a car door to the man's head, the man shooting at Nick, and finally the two struggling and punching each other inside a car. Nick puts it into gear and it starts rolling toward the edge, with Nick climbing out through the broken windshield just in time as the car plummets several floors where it lands on its roof hard and bashes into another vehicle (presumably killing the thug inside).
  • One gang member storms into Nick's office building, knocks one person's papers away and pushes another. He then delivers a wrapped package to Nick before being physically escorted away by guards.
  • Worried about Billy and his gang attacking them at night, Nick has a police cruiser parked outside his house. However, when the horn starts blaring, he looks outside to see the cops dead in the car, with one having a neck wound that's bleeding profusely. Nick then encounters a thug in his house and hits him with a bat, and throws that at another as shotguns blasts rip holes in the walls and furniture as he flees. He seeks cover in a bathroom and avoids additional destructive blasts, but then literally pulls the rug out from one thug, while bashing another with the bathroom door. During this, one thug accidentally shoots another in the leg, while Nick and a thug end up falling through a banister and down to the floor below. There, we see that the other thugs have Helen and Lucas who they manhandle.
  • Spoiler Alert: Nick sees a thug shoot his son and wife before being shot himself. All are downed and a little bloody (the adults with some on their clothes, the son with some on his head), but both Lucas (in a coma) and Nick (wounded) live.
  • Mad when a bartender won't take his bribe to give up Billy's location, Nick grabs the man and bashes his head to the counter repeatedly while backhanding another guy who tries to intervene.
  • Nick shoots open and a door and then blasts a coffee table in front of a seated thug. He then steps on that man's hand, hits the guy (leaving his mouth bloody), and then holds his gun on him to make the thug call Billy. Once that's done, Nick shoots that thug dead (we see blood splatter onto the wall behind him).
  • Spoiler Alert: Billy shoots his father dead (we see blood on the pavement behind his body).
  • Nick speeds toward a thug in a parked van. That man reaches for his machine gun, but he's too late as Nick's car rams the van, tearing it in half (presumably killing that other man).
  • Nick gets into a cat and mouse game with the remaining gang members in a large factory or similar style building. During this, Nick shoots off one man's leg with a shotgun blast (seen in graphic detail then and moments later) before hitting his body with more, blowing him backwards. Many shots are then fired at Nick who runs for cover when not returning fire at them, including blasting one out through a window. He also fires down a stairwell with his shotgun, partially hitting a goon in the face (that's bloody). We then see Nick and a goon on either side of wall, with Nick's footstep alerting the goon to his position. But Nick sees the goon in a mirror and thus ducks when the shot rips through the wall, followed by Nick shooting back through that hole and hitting the thug several times, killing him (with bloody results).
  • Billy shoots Nick in the side, followed by Nick firing back, hitting Billy's arm, and seemingly blowing off some of his fingers. Another thug then shoots Nick in the neck, with him spinning and shooting that goon in the head, killing him (all with very bloody results). Unable to fire straight, Billy tries shooting Nick who's seated on an old church pew, but misses. Although we don't see it, it's then implied that Nick shoots him dead.



  • Reviewed August 30, 2007 / Posted August 31, 2007

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Darkest Hour] [Just Getting Started] [The Shape of Water]

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