Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) is a mild-mannered executive with a perfect life, until one gruesome night he witnesses something that changes him forever. Transformed by grief, Hume eventually comes to the disturbing conclusion no length is too great when protecting his family.
Kevin Bacon gives a good performance in “Death Sentence” as a man who decides to administer his own brand of vigilante justice after his son is murdered. When he hears that his son’s killer will likely spend only 3 to 5 years in prison, he seeks violent revenge and sinks to the level of the gang members who killed his son.
The first problem I have with this movie is a well-off suburban father and son stopping for gas in the inner city and ending up victims of gang violence. Gang violence in the inner city is a very serious problem, but its true victims are inner-city residents, not suburbanites. Secondly, if a film wants to show the terrible consequences of using violence to deal with conflicts, it should not glorify violence in the process, which is exactly what “Death Sentence” does. For instance, after Kevin Bacon’s violent retaliation brings tragic results, there is a scene in which he prepares for a final showdown by shaving his head, donning a leather jacket, and loading his arsenal of guns while techno music thumps in the background.
A better movie might have been made if the bereaved father started a program to keep inner-city kids out of gangs. Unfortunately, someone thought that viewers would rather see another movie about a bunch of guys killing each other. So, a movie that intends to show the tragedy of violence ends up glorifying violence; “Death Sentence” cannot be awarded the Dove Seal.