We've seen a barrage of 'hit men as heroes' films without a flicker of moral outrage.
Guess what’s missing from the media coverage surrounding “The Hitman’s Bodyguard?”
Outrage, calculated or otherwise.
The film follows a hit man (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to testify against an Eastern European despot (Gary Oldman). It’s up to a personal security expert (Ryan Reynolds) to keep Jackson’s character alive so he can have his day in court.
Cue up the expected mismatched buddy antics. They bicker, battle but somehow bond in the third act. And we’re left rooting for each to not only survive but snag a happy ending.
But … but … Jackson’s character is a stone-cold killer. Even he wouldn’t deny that. Dozens are dead directly because of him. Only it’s all right.
He kills bad people. So, morally, we’re left with the notion that he’s a villain worth our admiration. And applause.
What’s missing in our easily offended age? The outrage most recently leveled at the “Death Wish” trailer.
Not the “Death Wish” film, mind you. That doesn’t hit theaters until November. The trailer itself caused significant handwringing. Bruce Willis takes over for Charles Bronson as a grieving man who declares war on the criminals who hurt his wife and daughter.
And, while he’s at it, he might take out other trash, too.
The premise is fascist to the core, Social Justice Warriors cried. Why would a movie trot out a cisgender male killing criminals in vigilante style? That’s inexcusable (no matter how horrific their crimes).
Here’s one sample:
“Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake is so nakedly fascist that alt-righters will have an erection before the trailer ends,” wrote Alan Zilberman, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post and The Atlantic.
That anger will spike as the film reaches its release date. Don’t doubt it.
So why didn’t we see any outrage over “The Hitman’s Bodyguard?” Jackson offers a similar “service.” He, too, takes out human trash. His targets are all bad guys and gals who deserve to be snuffed out.
Judge. Jury. Executioner. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Yet one critic dubbed “Bodyguard” “anti-fascist.”
Both films feature fictional events. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is more farcical, of course, but the themes are clearly related.
“Bodyguard” is like many other hit men films that have escaped SJW scrutiny. The last few years we’ve seen similar stories with little pearl clutching.
- “The Equalizer” reboot cast Denzel Washington in a very loose adaptation of the TV show featuring Edward Woodward.
- George Clooney’s 2010 film “The American” also featured a handsome killer as its protagonist.
- “In Bruges” (2008) features a novice hit man who accidentally takes out a child and immediately regrets his career plans.
- The “John Wick” franchise features Keanu Reeves as a killing machine. Sure, he wants to get out of the business, but not before he shoots a few hundred more people complicating his exit plan. He may be a hit man, but he sure loves his doggie. Awww.
- “The Matador”is much more chilling. Pierce Brosnan stars in this underrated 2005 thriller-comedy as a hit man contemplating a new career path.
- The “Crank” franchise celebrates Jason Statham’s hit man antihero, while 1997’s “Grosse Pointe Blank” does something similar with John Cusack’s character, stuck at his high school reunion.
Shouldn’t we be offended many times over?
The clear difference between “Death Wish” and these hit men films is that viewers can directly relate to the former. What if thugs attacked our loved ones? Wouldn’t we want revenge, particularly if the killers weren’t punished to the fullest extent of the law?
We might buy a gun to protect ourselves, to make sure nothing that savage happens to us or our family. That’s where the SJWs unite in horror. The “Death Wish” narrative hits too close to home. It could yield an NRA-friendly movie, and that’s a worst-case scenario for some progressives.
Cue up the outrage, and stat. Just don’t take it at face value.