johnlink ranks THE PRINCE (2014)

Time was, when Bruce Willis and John Cusack put out an action-revenge movie, it would be a huge deal (even if Jason Patric was playing the lead role). But this ain’t 1995 anymore, and so THE PRINCE was a quietly released film with out much fanfare. It came across Amazon Prime the other day. And even if they don’t have the cache they used to, I’m still always going to give Willis and Cusack a shot.

John-Cusack-and-Jason-Patric-in-The-Prince

I watched THE PRINCE (2014) on 5.26.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

THE PRINCE, as of this writing, sits at a lowly 4.5 score on IMDb. That is probably a little low, considering that IMDb is notoriously forgiving to even the sloppiest of action films. It isn’t hard to think that the score is so low because the bar of action movies starring either Bruce Willis (capped, of course, by DIE HARD) or John Cusack (who had an underrated run with CON AIR and GROSSE POINTE BLANK) raised expectations for what turns out to be a pedestrian action film.

Paul (Jason Patric) is a former hitman who long ago accidentally killed the wife and child of crime boss Omar (Bruce Willis). Paul was targeting Omar, of course, but the wife decided to take the car. That mistake turned Paul out of the game, and he went through rehab and married a woman and had a kid,Beth (Gia Mantegna). That kid is now in college. When she turns up missing, Paul heads back to his old haunt of New Orleans to find her. When Omar learns that Paul is back in town, after a decades long absence, he sends his henchmen (led by Jung Ji-Hoon) to get his nemesis.

Let’s start with the fact the THE PRINCE is one of those action movies which totally ignores logic. The henchmen are supposed to bring Paul in alive, but frequently shoot to kill. A gun store clerk pulls a gun on Paul, before deciding that he is just an old friend of his late father, despite the fact that said father apparently warned the dude with his dying wish. A female friend of Beth’s, Angela (Jessica Lowndes), is able to get him to reveal his criminal history in a matter of hours after meeting him, despite the fact that he is supposedly a disciplined assassin. It is all in the name of action and ‘story’, of course, but this will never be confused with a top level script.

It is, however, not a bad movie. This is the sort of film which would have starred either Van Damme or Seagal in the early 90s, and we all would have been fine with it. Willis and Cusack (who shows up nearly an hour into the film as an old crime buddy of Paul) have too large a career to be forgiven, it would seem, for this lower tier action flick. Combine that with the fact that action TV shows have raised the bar for short run-time action, and this is a movie which feels like it was made about two decades too late to be taken with any kind of seriousness.

The acting isn’t great. The big stars seem to know they are cashing a check. Lowndes is not strong as the young female companion, and her character is more annoying than entertaining. This isn’t a movie which asks anyone to do any heavy lifting, so nobody bothers to. The directing, done by Brian A Miller, is a bit stronger on the visual end. We get a whole bunch of interestingly lit shots in the beginning before the movie seems to get bored with trying too hard. The climatic scene in a hotel returns to a nice visual form, but it isn’t like we would call this a great looking film.

So, look, you can do worse than THE PRINCE. It is short, it entertains, it has some action fun. You’ll probably forget all about it a week after you see it, but it isn’t quite as terrible as its critic scores might suggest. It’s worst offense is that it isn’t all that original, and it isn’t particularly memorable.

SCORES

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 4

4+8+4+4+0=20

FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on May 27, 2015.

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