A run of the mill action film featuring a “I can get shot at hundreds of times” hero, and a villain who has a worse bark than bite.
Review (with Spoilers)
When a drama or coming of age story comes out on VoD it makes sense. Mostly because they usually have limited releases, which makes a lot of their media coverage almost a waste for those who don’t live near NY or LA. But when an action film is released to VOD, it does raise a red flag. After all, VOD is slowly becoming the new direct to DVD/VHS in the sense that, yeah, a film was completed, but the companies involved seem to not have faith in its box office success. Leading to the question: Is The Prince part of Bruce Willis becoming like Steven Segal and releasing a bunch of action movies barely worth mentioning, or perhaps is this film something which deserves to be put alongside his Die Hard work?
Characters & Story
Off the bat, let’s note Omar (Bruce Willis) is not the main character. He is this villain who has long waited for Paul (Jason Patric) to show up in New Orleans for him to get revenge. But revenge, and Omar, isn’t really on Paul’s mind. His focus is his daughter Beth (Gia Mantegna) who has gone missing and outside of Beth’s friend Angela (Jessica Lowndes), who provides some direction, he has a hard time trying to find his kid. But with Beth being the only thing Paul has left to make life worth living, he becomes willing to go back to his old ways just to find his daughter.
It has a beginning, middle and end; the fight scenes were okay, and that’s about it for praise.
Being someone who isn’t a huge action movie fan, this film just covering the basics when it comes to story made it a very dull picture to watch. Add on that Patric isn’t the most interesting, charismatic, nor inspiring, type of hero, and you get a dull movie. Also, add in that Angela, for a good part of the movie, is annoying as all hell for mostly she just flirts with Paul and get high. Then, in terms of Willis and Rain, neither make for compelling villains for Rain never rises above being a lackey, and Willis doesn’t seem like a bad ass at all.
Though the real big issues come from two things: A story which avoids becoming complex, and the difficulty of trying to see Paul as the hero. You see, to me, this film is geared more toward Omar seeming like he should be the protagonist and Paul the villain. Then, to make things interesting, the film could have mixed in Omar looking for Paul, building an empire and army to take on a man like Paul, and him biding his time vs. Paul who has long since retired from his past life and simply wants to find his daughter. However, instead what we are given is Paul as the hero whose sole means of redemption was raising a daughter and retiring from his past life. Something which doesn’t feel like it is enough to root for him being successful. Which, I admit, is mean to say when it comes to Beth’s fate, but with Paul coming off as some sort of Rambo storming New Orleans and never becoming likable, it makes you almost hope that the film would end with Omar getting his revenge, and Beth being alive but fatherless. But with the cast this film has, even with the complexity I would have liked to see, I doubt they would have been able to give such character the performances required and deserved.
Overall: Skip It
Honestly, this could be labeled TV Viewing, but I’m labeling it as Skip It since it offers nothing to really make it worth checking out. There are no plot twists, no really good performances, and the action is all basic shoot em’ ups and a few kicks and punches here and there. Something which I don’t think can really cut it anymore in a world where there are so many fighting styles, so many talented writers out there, and such a diverse mix of options which seemingly this film ignored.
Things To Note
Have you ever noticed when it comes to action films that rarely will you find any of the random henchmen to be women?