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Based on the 1975 novel by Brian Garfield (who also wrote Death Wish) and directed by James Wan, one of the creators of Saw, Death Sentence is an underrated 2007 action thriller revenge film about Nick Hume, a father who takes the law into his own hands after his son is murdered by a gang as an initiation ritual. Hume must then protect his family from the gang's resulting vengeance.
This film provide examples of:
- Action Survivor
- Bald of Awesome: Nick shaves his head before going out to war.
- Car Fu
- Chekhov's Gun: Literally. Bones Darley is working on a double barreled shotgun in the scene where he's arguing with his son. The same gun is later bought by Nick Hume to use in his assault on Billy and his gang.
- Cycle of Revenge: Unlike Death Wish, Nick's pursuit of revenge ends up sparking an escalating war which utterly ruins his life.
- Bloodstained-Glass Windows: the final shootout is in the chapel of an abandoned asylum
- Did Not Do the Research: The film is set in Columbia, SC, where the sport of hockey is nearly non-existent, particularly at the high school level, due to an overwhelming lack of popularity (and facilities). Also, early on in the film, Billy says that Joey (who has been left behind at a crime scene) is "a man now. He can ride the subway." There is no subway in Columbia, though this may have been just an odd figure of speech.
- Downer Ending: Nick's wife and older son Brendan are both death, Nick will either die from his injuries or face life in prison if he lives, leaving his remaining son in turmoil if he lives long enough.
- Equal Opportunity Evil
- Hand Cannon: By the way of Colt Python. Bones even talks about another hand cannon, a Desert Eagle, calling it the Sword of Justice.
- Hannibal Lecture: Billy does this with Nick before he's killed.
Billy: Look at you. You look like one of us. Look what I made you.
- Happier Home Movie: Near the end of the movie, Nick settles down to watch one of these. After losing his wife and nearly losing his other son, this is pretty much all he has left of his family.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Nick, after his older son's death, but then It Gets Worse after his young son is nearly killed and his wife is killed.
- Large Ham: Bones Darley
- Loser Son of Loser Dad: Billy and Bones.
- Machete Mayhem: Brendan is cut down by a gang member armed with a machete early on in the film. Nick considers using a machete in response but instead opts for a much more concealable knife.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nick's outrage over the legal fate of his son's murderer drives him to engage in an act of revenge killing, which in turn spawns revenge killings in retaliation, which spawns even more revenge killing.
- The Oner: The long continuous shot of Nick's shootout with several gangmembers in a parking garage while he's chasing down a certain Mook. The camera continues filming the action, without cuts, as Nick (and the fleeing mook) run up the levels of the garage; at several points, the camera actually backs out of the garage to go up a floor (as if flying).
- Pants-Positive Safety: Nick does this without even a second thought.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Just watch Nick testing out his guns and try not to cringe.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: And how!
- One-Scene Wonder: John Goodman as Bones Darley, not in the film much but he owns the role he's given.
- Shower of Angst
- Slashed Throat: Brendan's death, by way of machete.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Averted. Author Brian Garfield loved the movie adaptation and how it makes the same point about revenge he was trying to make in the novel.
- Weapon of Choice: Nick's preferred weapon seems to be a double barreled shotgun even though the people he's going up against have machine guns and other weapons with higher capacity.