Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Death Sentence

I saw a preview of Death Sentence, starring Kevin Bacon, months ago and I was intrigued. Not only did I end up missing this movie in the theater, but it has been out on DVD long enough for me to find a copy at a discount price on the "previously viewed" rack in a local movie rental store. I'm on vacation, so I decided to watch the DVD this evening.

Death Sentence got lousy reviews and maybe it deserved them. Based on the preview I watched the movie expecting a sort of reverse commentary on one of the teachings of the apostle Paul. I was not disappointed.

This is definitely not a film for the kids. It is violent and foul language flows freely. But, for all the ugliness, Death Sentence does illustrate the possible consequences of failing to heed the teaching of Romans 12:17-21.

Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) is a good father and an executive for Starfish Capital. Tragically he and his oldest son were in the wrong gas station at the wrong time and Nick watched helplessly as the apple of his eye was slain in a gang initiation rite. When the courts failed to mete out justice to his liking, the grieving and angry father took matters into his own hands. What follows is an escalating cycle of revenge.

At the beginning of the movie a gang member/murderer was twice called an animal, once by a detective and once by Nick's wife. By the end of the movie Nick looked like an animal himself. At one point well into the cycle of revenge the gang leader told Nick: "You look like one of us. Look what I made you."

I won't spoil the story any more than that. However, I will tell you that the preview and the movie itself made me think of these words of the apostle Paul: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil ... Do not take revenge ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17; 19; 21, TNIV). Death Sentence exposes the wisdom of this biblical teaching by showing the repulsiveness of ignoring it.

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