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film reel image

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Prince 2014 * * Stars

The PrinceDirector: Brian A. Miller
Year: 2014
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Bruce Willis, John Cusack, Jason Patric

Supposedly, 2014's The Prince was released in theaters via the United States on Aug. 22nd of this year. That's news to me because I never saw any movie venue to remotely have it on its bill. Oh well, let's just call this thing your standard straight-to-DVD saturation because of its generically dated (did I mention highly unoriginal) title and its musical score reminiscent of every freaking espionage flick ever made (even though The Prince might be more gangster related than anything else).

Containing probably the most annoying character in the history of cinema (Angela, a flimsy damsel in distress played by Jessica Lowndes) and one of the most implausible as well (Mark played by entertainer Rain. He's a trained killer, an assistant to the lead antagonist (Bruce Willis), and a guy who looks like he's fifteen and can't shave yet), The Prince is directed by first timer Brian A. Miller. With its paint by numbers screenplay and B movie cutting, "Prince" chronicles car mechanic Paul (played by Jason "I wish I could do a sequel to Rush" Patric). He works on cars in I guess Chicago but within twenty minutes, you know instantly that he wasn't always a mechanic. About two decades ago, he was a gangster, an assassin, and one bad dude. And when he finds out that his college student daughter goes missing in New Orleans, he then flies down there with some vengeance on tap. He's going to find out where she is (and find out who might have taken her), kill a bunch of bad guys along the way (kind of like what Arnold Schwarzenegger did in 1985's Commando), and eventually run into an old rival (played by Bruce Willis, who's character's name is Omar, huh?) who's life he supposedly ruined. While viewing The Prince (only if you have nothing else constructive to do), look for some phoned-in performances (especially Brucie until he overacts towards the end), an image of Chicago-style pizza which looks nothing of the sort (I should know, I live in Chi-Town), and a blink or you'll miss it cameo by 50 Cent. Fiddy either needs to star in a good movie, stop taking on small roles in bad ones, or put out a new album, seriously.

Now in terms of its screenplay, The Prince has one that will literally cause you to throw popcorn at all the actors on screen (check that, you'll probably be watching it from home so you'll throw microwave popcorn at all the actors on screen). It requires everyone to be aloof, pissed off, or flat out debased. Every bruised vigilant or supporting role tries to one up the other by being either too macho, steroid induced, or too testosterone fueled. I wanted to climb into the screen and tell them it's only a movie and that there's always anger management classes they could attend.

The Prince also has its fair share of steadily violent shootouts and fistfights (probably the film's only legitimate strong points). The breadth and width of them are impressive yet you still get the feeling that they are from the "been there, done that" variety. For instance, in one scene Jason Patric's character (Paul aka "the Prince") attempts to rescue his daughter from a drug house by killing everyone in the stylings of Travis Bickle (a la Taxi Driver). In many other scenes, Patric's Paul becomes a One Man Army dispatching countless, cardboard villains (mostly henchman who work for Omar) without being fired at or remotely scratched up. I mean, he does get shot at the end (small spoiler) but the plot probably required it to happen. Basically, Patric almost comes off as 2014's version of Chuck Norris (ugh!) and if that ended up being the case, my eyes would have completely rolled out of my head.

All in all, I find it strange that three well known actors (John Cusack, Patric, and Willis) actually agreed to sign on to this hokum. I mean did they need a new hobby? Were they being charged with tax invasion and had to lawyer up? Or did they actually want to work together (oh maybe that's it)? And what's up with their appearances? Should the make-up artist be fired? Bottom line: Bruce Willis looks like he's 70, John Cusack looks like he's having a real terrible hair and face day, and Patric, well looks like he tied one on the night before. Anyway, there's a reason why no theater would be willing to show The Prince. It's not something you pay admission to. It's more like the type of wide eyed fluff you'd wake up to (on cable) at four in the morning. So by that token, I'll end this review by calling this "Prince" The Pauper and just be done with it.

Written by Jesse Burleson


  1. Well Done, epic take down. And accurate to boot!

  2. "Tax invasion"? I'd say that was a pretty serious offense.

  3. Hi Duncan. In response to your comment, I meant the whole "tax invasion" thing as a joke. I'm sure John, Bruce, and Jason are doing just fine.