The remake of “Death Wish,” the 1974 crime, action film, has just released a trailer. The new version stars Bruce Willis and moves the story from 1970s crime ridden New York to 2017 crime ridden Chicago. Some in social media are already denouncing the movie, which depicts a trauma surgeon outraged by a gang that attacks his family in a home invasion and goes on a shooting spree of criminals, as an “alt.right” propaganda film. Others suggest that the movie makes a casting mistake by featuring action star Bruce Willis as the aggrieved family man.

The political controversy surrounding ‘Death Wish’

In a way, the outrage surrounding the 21st Century version of “Death Wish” is similar to the one that accompanied the 1974 version that starred Charles Bronson. Typical of the people who have been triggered on Twitter was Adam Best, who tweeted, “Angry, old white man becomes an armed vigilante against Chicago civilians. That's a dangerous message. Is Death Wish alt-right Fan Fiction?” Others are calling the film racist, even though it is clear that the gang who murders the wife and rapes the daughter are white. Some are uncomfortable at the spectacle of Willis’ character taking the law into his own hands and dealing out street justice, though, to quote Willis’ old friend Arnold Schwarzenegger, the people who he kills, “They’re all bad.”

But isn’t Willis miscast as the outraged vigilante?

A somewhat more serious criticism appeared on the Hot Air website along the lines that Willis, a well-known action hero, has been miscast as the ordinary man driven to violence by a criminal act and law enforcement’s inability to deal with it.

It should be noted that in the original “Die Hard” Willis is an ordinary police detective who is driven to the brink when he has to deal with a gang of terrorists who take over an office building. Willis is a skilled actor who has played a lot of nonaction parts, some of them even comedic. All depends on how he handles his character’s metamorphosis from a trauma surgeon who saves lives into a man who takes them on the mean streets of Chicago.

A movie triggers the left

The controversy over the remake of “Death Wish” demonstrates the power of social media to make or break a film. Last year the all female version of “Ghostbusters” was sunk even before it opened as fans were attacked for being insufficiently enthusiastic over the trailer. The tweet storm over “Death Wish” is likely to be of benefit for the film. A lot of people are going to go to see it because rather that despite the outrage.