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Joe Carnahan Emerges from "The Grey" with a "Death Wish"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The sight of Liam Neeson in the trailer for "The Grey," taping mini liquor bottles to his fist so he could punch a wolf had folks giggling for months, and then they saw the movie, and the raves started rolling in. Suddenly, director Joe Carnahan had the #1 movie in the country.

    And on the heels of such an unlikely success, Carnahan has landed the job of helming a remake of the 1974 vigilante classic, "Death Wish," reported The LA Times.

    The original "Death Wish" starred Charles Bronson as a New Yorker whose wife and daughter are the victims of a savage rape at the hands of three thugs (one of them played by Jeff Goldblum) that leaves the leaves the daughter in a coma and kills the mother. Bronson's character is so traumatized that the one-time conscientious objector learns to use a gun and goes on a killing spree, dropping crooks across the city with impunity.

    Despite many critics dismissing it as immoral, the film took in a then impressive $22 million (on a budget of only $3 million), making Bronson an international icon and inspiring four sequels.

    As great--in its of-the-era way--as "Death Wish" is, they'll need to massage it quite a bit to make it palatable to today's audiences. There were a lot of great things happening in New York City in the '70s, but the city was also a smouldering sinkhole ravaged by murders (five times today's rate), rioting and arson, and Times Square teemed with hookers and junkies (as opposed to Eurotrash).

    Just a decade after the release of "Death Wish," much of the country was outraged by Bernie Goetz shooting four kids who were trying to mug him--how are pumped will audiences get for a guy hunting muggers? Then again, if Carnahan were to cast Liam Neeson in the lead and release the film in January, there's a very good chance he could be #1 at the box office.