While I hoped A History of Violence would be good, my expectations weren't too high despite the good news that Cronenberg was directing, because, I'll tell you a secret, while Videodrome totally rules, Scanners is not nearly as good as the scene of the exploding head would lead you to believe. But fortunately he put his stamp on this movie in the best way possible.
It's gory, as in the Amazon.com “plot keywords” include the phrase “Nose Pushed Into Brain“) so it's not for the squeamish and that goes for the sex scenes as well.
Based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, History seems to also owe a lot to noir films of the past, especially the Robert Mitchum classic Out of the Past (which would make a perfect double feature).
Everyone really delivers in this film. Viggo is hot at being hot and I absolutely believe it when he beats up like seven people at once. Maria Bello finally got the respect from me she's been shilling for in penance for Coyote Ugly (but failed to get) since the sub par Cooler. Even the weirdo stilted kid ends up growing on you. William Hurt earned an Oscar nod for his flourished performance, but for my money, Ed Harris owns this movie and is possibly the best “Bad Guy” to grace the screen in a long, long time.