Film: Death Sentence

Hardened killers vs an accountant and family man. Guess who wins. No one.

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 a 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:

  • 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.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: It's an adult-oriented film with pervasive language, do you expect anything different?
  • Cycle of Revenge: Unlike Death Wish, Nick's pursuit of revenge ends up sparking an escalating war which utterly ruins his life and results in his death.
  • Deconstruction: Vigilantism makes everything worse, instead of its usual depiction of fighting wrongs with violence; by the end of the movie, Luke is the only surviving member of his immediate family.
  • Determinator: Nick without doubt. Serious injuries? Multiple armed thugs who have the home field advantage? That's not gonna stop him from getting his revenge.
  • Downer Ending: Nick had his wife killed by the Darley gang, and Nick himself dies from his injuries leaving his remaining son in turmoil if he lives long enough.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bones knows Nick is going after his son, but believes that if he's going as far as arming himself to the teeth, his son deserves it.
  • Hand Cannon: By the way of Colt Python. Bones even talks about another hand cannon, a Desert Eagle, calling it the Sword of Justice.
  • 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. And then, he dies of his wounds.
  • The Hero Dies: The uncut version shows Nick himself dying of his injuries at the end.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Nick, after his older son's death, but especially after his young son is nearly killed and his wife is killed.
  • Important Haircut: Nick shaves his head before his big revenge spree.
  • Kill 'em All: The entire Darley gang and Nick's family dies in the end, save for Luke.
  • 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.
  • Made of Iron: Nick suffers various injuries that would normally cripple a person, such as falling through a banister down to the first floor, and being involved in a car crash, just to name a few. He more or less shrugs them off and continues on.
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: Billy does this with Nick before he's killed.
    Billy: Look at you. You look like one of us. Look what I made you.
  • 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.
  • Patricide: Billy kills Bones when he learn that his father had been selling weapons to Nick, right behind his back.
  • Reality Ensues: The film does not romanticize vigilantism and vengeance in the least; Nick is an emotional wreck after killing the first gang member and it escalates into the gang retaliating against his family, killing his wife and putting his other son in a coma. Nick himself dies from wounds from his last stand against the thugs, coming to the realization that after his breaking point, he wound up Not So Different from them after all.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Just watch Nick testing out his guns and try not to cringe.
  • Slashed Throat: Brendan's death, by way of machete.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: This is how Det. Jessica Wallis thinks Nick Hume's revenge spree will end.
  • 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.