Story: Paul (Jason Patric) is concerned when his daughter vanishes and since the police won’t take action in a timely manner, he decides to take matters into his own hands. While this would be a bold decision for most people, Paul isn’t just the mechanic he presents himself as, instead he has a dark past in a different world and now, he will have to revisit that world. His old tricks come back to him fast, as he shakes down street level criminals for information and makes his way up the crime ladder, unwilling to let anyone stop him from finding his daughter. The search draws attention from bad people of course, which leads to shootouts and other violence, but Paul stays the course. When he learns his old rival Omar (Bruce Willis) could be involved however, will Paul be able to keep his focus and push forward, or will he be dragged back into his distant past?
Entertainment Value: Say what you want about The Prince, but it delivers three times the 80s heartthrobs for your direct to video buck. The narrative is kind of like a cover band version of Taken, as Jason Patrick hunts down his daughter’s kidnappers, though Taken seems like an absolute masterpiece compared to this picture. I mean, I am sure fans of Patric will be thrilled to see him turned into a war machine, but for me, this felt forced and outlandish, even by Willisverse cinema standards. Remember the satiric elements of True Lies? The Prince takes them to a new level, but with no satire intended and while it is kind of fun from a camp perspective, it grows tiresome. Had the movie leaned into that approach and just gone over the top with all elements of The Prince, that could have been fun, but this feels like someone wrote Jason Patric fan fiction and it wound up produced. The action is fun at times, especially if you like ridiculously bad aim and physics, but aside from that, I was left pretty bored by this one, even with some humorous performances involved. But if you’re a fan of Patric, Willis, or John Cusack, perhaps you can find enough to be entertained by here.
As I stated above, this movie feels like a superfan of Jason Patric wrote the script, as he is pretty much a terminator in The Prince. I believe this was supposed to be a Liam Neeson knockoff, but Neeson has some action hero and tough guy vibes, whereas Patric does not, at least not here. So I can believe Neeson when he throat punches some traffickers, but when Patric walks directly into hails of bullets and doesn’t even try to avoid them, it feels laughable. Which can be fun of course, but the movie doesn’t go for broke with the invulnerable dad concept, which is a shame. I think Patric does a passable job here, but this just wasn’t a good role for him, at least in my opinion. Bruce Willis is here and he is fine, in a smaller role, but one that is central to the plot. The real star however, is John Cusack, who seems to be fully dissociated as he performs, a lifeless and hilarious turn. The cast also includes Jessica Lowndes, Johnathan Schaech, Tyler Jon Olson, and of course, 50 Cent.
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