Reviewer's grade: B+
The lesson of "Death Sentence": You mess with Kevin Bacon's family, he's likely to burn you to a crisp. Bacon sizzles in this essentially ugly tale of score-settling, as a well-to-do family man who becomes unhinged when one of his sons is slain by gang members, and the guys plan to go after his other kid and his wife (Kelly Preston) next. When the courts fail him and the police " or at least detective Aisha Tyler " can't help him, he takes matters into his own hands "¦ usually by their hair, all the better to smash their heads into concrete floors or metal dumpsters.
From "Saw" director James Wan, this "Death Wish"-style slice of exploitation will sicken many with its refusal to cut away from the gore, but there's art behind its bloodthirsty facade. Plus, Bacon invests so much into his harried suburban dad that he's fully credible and, against your better judgment, wholly sympathetic. You'll want to pummel his adversaries right along with him. R