Story: Paul (Jesse Metcalfe) is a crytpo investor and while he thought he was poised to become ultra rich, his current financial situation is dire. He visits his father Robert (Bruce Willis) to get some help, though he lives an isolated lifestyle and doesn’t even wi-fi at his remote home. Luckily Paul brings his own tech and after explaining his predicament, a key investor cancelled and left him in a tight spot, he asks his father to help him cover the difference. That amounts to five million dollars, but before the two can discuss things much deeper, some unexpected guests arrive. As it turns out, a mysterious squad of mercenaries has followed Paul, but are they after his crypto holdings or is there more to Robert’s lifestyle than living off the grid?
Entertainment Value: Fortress is better than most of the direct to video Bruce Willis movies, but that isn’t exactly high praise. An action/thriller with an outlandish and often nonsensical narrative, Fortress isn’t as dull as I expected, but it also doesn’t leave much of an impression. There is some potential in the premise and the cast seems interested for the most part, but the script is a let down and what potential there is in this concept, is left to wither on the vine. Perhaps because this was intended to kick off a trilogy of films, so the story here is light in order to save the heavy hitting elements for the sequels, though that seems like a reach. The pace is fine and as I said, the movie is not boring, it just struggles to do much beyond just existing, so entertainment value is minor. I do think Fortress has flashes of a fun movie, when the action picks up, the cast dials up the campiness, or Willis deliver his wooden, phoned in lines, but this is a tough one to recommend.
Although most of his output over the last few years has been lower budget, direct to video releases, Bruce Willis remains a bankable talent. Willis has turned in some lazy performances in some of these movies, but here he at least seems somewhat interested. This is evident because he visits multiple sets and just kind of phones in his lines, rather than the total disinterest he sometimes shows. I know that sounds weird to mention that he appears on multiple sets, but sometimes his presence in these DTV movies is just a glorified cameo, where he is in the same place throughout the movie. I appreciate the laziness of his work in these movies, but of course, if you’re after his signature roles or best work, Fortress isn’t going to make that list. But if you’re just wanting a Bruce fix, he at least makes some effort in this one and to me, he has some humorous moments here. The cast also includes Sean Kanan, Shannon Doherty, Chad Michael Murray, and Jesse Metcalfe.