Bruce Willis, John Cusack, Jason Patric and Curtis “50 Cent to you and I” Jackson star in The Prince. Before we go further, only one part of that statement is true. The Prince is being heavily sold on it’s star-studded cast which also includes Korean pop superstar Rain in reality though this is a Jason Patric starring action thriller with Bruce Willis and Rain popping up here and there, John Cusack in essentially an extended cameo role and 50 Cent appearing in one scene. Now we’ve got that unpleasantness out the way we can be friends again.
Jason Patric stars as Paul, a humble mechanic who’s student daughter Beth (Gia Mantegna) goes missing. Being the concerned father that he is he begins to look for her and meets Angela (Jessica Lowndes) her roommate. Under Angela’s advice Paul begrudgingly takes them both down to New Orleans where Beth has apparently fallen in with some bad folk. Once there Paul starts to exhibit a bad ass streak that speaks to a hidden past, people seem frightened of him and when local crime lord Omar (Bruce Willis) finds out about Paul’s re-emergence all hell breaks loose leading to gun-toting climax where there’s lot’s of fisty cuffs and guns.
Director Brian A. Miller has managed to assemble a fine cast of names on what it’s essentially the standard B-Movie action plot with cliche ridden dialogue. Hearing Rain (appearing under his real name Jung Ji-Hoon) chew his way around some of his convoluted dialogue “sir as your consigliere I must advice against a different course of action” does make you want to punch something hard in the face. Writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore seemed to watched a lot of gangster movies and not good ones either. Bruce Willis is giving a lot of tough sounding dialogue to say but sounds bored the whole time, if you were wondering, yes Bruce Willis is in full blown “I’m just here for the money mode”. John Cusack too is on board the money train as he sleepily turns up as Sam, an old friend from Paul’s past who appears fabulously wealthy but just seems to wear a hoody Cusack picked out his wardrobe that morning. Younger actors Mantegna and Lowndes put in a bit more effort but end up being grating. Only 50 Cent looks like he’s actually enjoying himself in his one scene as The Pharmacy, a stupidly named but smartly dressed drug pusher/pimp.
As the lead Jason Patric plays his understated everyman role well. It’s a performance he can do in his sleep but he remains a watchable lead. The first half of the film which plays out like a missing persons drama works much better as he searches doe-eyed for his little girl. The film even works okay as a thriller as Paul’s assassins past comes back to haunt him. It’s when the film hits full blown gangster shoot ’em up that it falls apart. Blandly paced action scenes involve lots of shooting and running around but never manage to be anything near exciting. Miller also decides to shoot with a colour palette that looks like a rainbow vomited in a rubbish bin giving the whole film a sickly vibe.
Bored performances, screamingly bad dialogue and bland action abound. So basically if you’re the mood for a perfunctory Jason Patric starring actioner this one’s for you.
The Prince is available now on DVD.
Check out the trailer and an exclusive clip of John Cusack talking about his character Sam below.