Death Wish,” the 1974 crime/revenge drama that starred Charles Bronson, is getting a 21St Century reboot, this time with Bruce Willis in the title role as a mild mannered man moved to become an avenging vigilante. The new film, due on November 22nd, 2017, retains a lot of the plot and themes of the original movie but with some significant differences,

Bruce Willis goes back to his action hero roots

Willis stars as Paul Kersey, a mild mannered family man who is transformed into a vigilante when his wife is murdered and his daughter raped and left comatose during a home invasion.

Instead of an architect, as the character was in the 1974 version, Willis’ Kersey is a surgeon. The action has moved from New York to Chicago.

The new movie, directed by Eli Roth, shows the transformation of an ordinary man into a killing machine, outraged by what was done to his family and the apparent inability of law enforcement to do anything about it. Willis is not a cop, as he as in the “Die Hard” series, or a retired spy, like Liam Neeson was in the “Taken” movies. He is someone who is not naturally a killer driven to become one by circumstance.

‘Death Wish’ as a piece of sociology

The original “Death Wish,” caught the unpleasant zeitgeist of its time, of growing fear of street crime that had made many big, American cities into urban jungles.

The 1970s was a decade in which New York became the playground of the mugger when ordinary people had become prey. Kersey, in the 1974 film and its many sequels, had become a hero to many for striking back at the human predators who had made life so unsafe in New York City. Along with Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry.” Kersey had become an iconic figure and a rebel against established norms by taking the law into his own hands when the law had failed to get him justice.

The move of the locale of the movie to Chicago is fascinating in the fact that the city had become a murder capital in the 21st Century, much as New York had become in the 1970s. To be sure a lot of smaller towns have bigger crime rates, but the sheer size of the carnage that has taken place in Chicago has transformed it into a city to be avoided.

Never mind that a lot of the murders are gang related with criminals almost as likely to be on the receiving end of a hail of bullets as they are pulling the trigger. In any case, a man pushed to the brink will soon be stalking the streets, dealing with the crime wave in a direct and violent manner.