Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Prince

Year 8, Day 213 - 7/31/16 - Movie #2,408

BEFORE: Well, the balloon festival in New Jersey turned out to be a big bust - it rained nearly the whole weekend.  Saturday's balloon launchings were delayed all day Saturday (although the concert performed rather ironically by KC & the Sunshine Band appeared to be a go) so we saved our tickets for Sunday.  But the rain continued, and by 9 am today's activities were cancelled as well, even though the rain finally stopped around 2 pm the damage was done, all of the fields being used for launching and parking were probably muddy pits.  So we just spent the weekend indoors, hanging out with friends, playing dominoes and Monopoly, grilling some burgers and then getting takeout pizza. There are undoubtedly worse ways to spend a weekend, plus as a bonus I finally got to catch up on sleep in a very comfortable hotel bed.  And this still allowed me time to watch movies - Bruce Willis carries over from "Hudson Hawk", for the last time in this chain.

THE PLOT: When his daughter is kidnapped, a retired assassin is drawn back into the life he gave up. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival.

AFTER: When I recorded this film from cable, I put it on a DVD with "The Equalizer", and once again my instincts were spot on - this follows the same pattern as that film, plus "John Wick", and they're all part of the trend that I think started with "Taken".  These films all follow a similar formula, with a seemingly average guy with a dark past (as a hitman or secret agent, it doesn't much matter which) who has to fall back on his skill and training when someone he cares about (daughter, wife, dog) is threatened.  

This time, it's an average auto mechanic whose college-age daughter is kidnapped.  Geez, it's almost like action film Mad-Libs, no?  I'm honestly surprised that someone didn't say, "Daughter?  Jeez, that's a little too close to "Taken", can't we make it his son or niece or something?"  But in the end, daughters are more vulnerable, plot-wise - here the daughter falls in with a bad crowd, gets hooked on drugs and before you know it, she's held captive by a mid-level drug dealer who happens to work for her father's old rival.

What's unclear here is whether anyone knew who her father was, if she was targeted by a drug dealer because of her last name, or if the dealers do this to a whole lot of women, and they just happened to stir up this old rivalry.  The mechanic, who was formerly known as "The Prince" when he ran his own section of New Orleans, takes himself back into the underworld with the help of his daughter's friend in order to find and hopefully rescue his daughter.

All the standards and tropes of your basic action movie apply here - the hero can take down 20 enemies with 20 bullets from a standard gun, but the villains can shoot hundreds of bullets at the heroes with automatic rifles and never hit him.  OK, almost never.  And the villains will hold the gun to someone's head and count to three - and you know that if that's an important character with the gun held to their head, they're not going to die.  I'm betting that in real life, bad people with guns don't count to three, they just shoot, right?

So sorry, there's no new ground broken here.  Just the same tired elements of typical white-hat/black-hat action films.  If anything it gives people bad ideas - if your daughter is kidnapped, don't call the police, just load up with a bunch of untraceable weapons and head for her last known location, then just start beating up and shooting people until you get her back.  That's probably not advisable.

Also starring Jason Patric (last seen in "Your Friends & Neighbors"), John Cusack (last seen in "Fat Man and Little Boy"), Jessica Lowndes, Gia Mantegna, Rain, 50 Cent (last seen in "Spy"), Don Harvey (also carrying over AGAIN from "Hudson Hawk"), Jesse Pruett (last seen in "Vice"), Johnathon Schaech (ditto), Tyler Jon Olson (ditto), Tim Fields, Jim Bennett, Bonnie Somerville.

RATING: 3 out of 10 Montecristo cigars

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