We have two alternate takes on classic anti-heroes in this week’s new releases.
1. Red Sparrow (Fox, 3,056 Theaters, 139 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and some graphic nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 51% Fresh [139 Reviews]): So, Marvel’s Black Widow’s origin in the comics was that of a young girl drafted by the KGB to join a “Red Room,” where they are physically and mentally conditioned with other women to become the perfect spies called Black Widows. Eventually, one breaks away to become the hero Black Widow.
This film’s plot is that of a young girl (Jennifer Lawrence) drafted by the KGB to join a “Sparrow School,” where they are physically and mentally conditioned with other men and women to become the perfect spies called Sparrows. Eventually, she breaks away to become a double agent.
In case you were wondering who ripped off who, the Marvel version hit comics no later than 1999, and this film is based on a 2013 book by Jason Matthews. So there.
2. Death Wish (MGM, 2,847 Theaters, 107 Minutes, Rated R for strong bloody violence, and language throughout, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 14% Fresh [51 Reviews]): The success of certain movies ties into the times they were released in. The original Death Wish was released in an age where crime rates were at an all time high and many people felt the cops weren’t doing a lot about the problem. This angry helplessness made the world ready for a gun-toting vigilante who took the law into their own hands.
This film is released just days after a mass killing where a crazed man took a gun into his hands and killed a whole bunch of innocent people. The gun-toting revenge fantasy only seems to play in people who have NRA decals in their car windows.
Did MGM not realize that you can change a release date? I mean, the film looking like a rote rehash of the original would make it a hard sell to begin with. But to release it after so many people died? Are they deliberately trying to let the film bomb?
Next week, the new releases will cover heists, horror and highly promoted sci-fi films.