The Prince (2014)
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Movie InfoJason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack face off in this action-packed thriller. A retired assassin is drawn back into the life he gave up when his daughter is kidnapped. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival.(C) Lionsgate
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Critic Reviews for The Prince
If filmmakers were put on trial for hackery, a good prosecutor might ask director Miller why The Prince contains no discernible prince but does feature a closing-credit shout-out to "Prince Yoohanhwesa."
Unless you're a fan of yawn-worthy shootouts and showdowns, "The Prince" is a "Taken" retread hardly indicative of any special set of skills.
An idle Netflix user could certainly do far worse when browsing for mindless actioners. But the overall air of shrugging obligation from those both in front of and behind the camera proves contagious.
Aggressive but hopelessly thin, The Prince hopes to dazzle viewers with famous faces, which act as a rodeo clown while the rest of the picture trots out snoozy underworld and revenge clichés in a most uninspired script.
This isn't a passion project for anyone involved. It's a by-the-numbers affair that's landing on the right side of the ledger book. It's about mercenaries on both sides of the camera.
Macho mayhem as the male version of maternal instinct. While Willis rather delicately negotiates his darker side, in a shaky balance between a slightly humanized professional psychopath seeking closure for a major grievance, and just a really rotten dude.
Audience Reviews for The Prince
A tough, stylish and fast-paced action film that has a little bit of Taken mixed in with Unforgiven and No Country for Old Men. A quick-fire thriller with plenty of action and star power. Jason Patric is terrific, its good to see him in a film again and taking charge in as an action hero. John Cusack is calm, confident and does not over act. Bruce Willis is excellent, he looks like he is having a great time playing a bad guy in this film and should play these types of roles more often if he wants to separate himself from his more heroic characters. Its neither original or very charismatic, but its fun and works for good-old fun entertainment.More
"Now I see his face, I've seen him smile; such in a lonely place, no golden mile!" Now, I could have gone with Madness' "The Prince", seeing as how it's a little more notorious, but I felt that the Diamond Head song of the same name fit better for a discussion of this gangster film, because it's much edgier, and it is also incredibly obscure. This is a pretty obscure film to have Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, Rain, John Cusack and 50 Cent, and to be distributed by Lionsgate... to a couple of theaters... and to Video-On-Demand. Lionsgate must have known what they were in for when they looked at this cast, and realized that Willis and Cusack, the only two people in there who show up in good movies from time to time, are barely in the final product, probably by request. Well, VOD probably is better than straight-to-DVD, because if people want to rewatch this film, then he or she will have to keep paying for it, although it's not like anyone is going to watch this film once, let alone want to watch it again, because there's probably a reason why they're keeping this film on a low profile, except for people like me, who only knows that this film exists for a particular reasons. Yup, where this painfully generic title has been applied seemingly to only foreign films up to this point, it's finally attached to, not just any American film, but an American film shot in Alabama, y'all! That would be awesome and all if this was among those good Bruce Willis and John Cusack films that I was talking about, or was even decent, which isn't to say that there aren't some aesthetic qualities worth noting.
Often formulaic something awful, and about as often abused as a supplemented to the contrivances of the directorial storytelling, The Newton Brothers' score, with its creative ambiences and having enough tonal and stylistic dynamicity throughout its prominent presence to hold some ounce of your attention, remains fairly inspired on the whole, though not quite as much as Yaron Levy's cinematography, which is sometimes cheaply defined and often overproduced with its lighting, but mostly, not simply striking, but near-stunning, with a heavy palette and glow which catch your eye time and again, and sometimes captivate. I don't know if the visual style is especially special, but in comparison with most everything else in this film, it's outstanding and more than this lazy piece deserves, highlighting an adequate aesthetic value that is sometimes adequately handled. If Brian A. Miller's direction isn't lazily flimsy, it's either limp or, well, a little effective, at least when it comes to style that is highlighted in rare, conventional and occasionally questionably staged, but generally well-orchestrated and well-choreographed action sequences that are themselves a highlight in the establishment of some kind of tension in the storytelling. If nothing else brings some kind of weight to this vacant, conceptually character-driven thriller, it is the surprisingly esteemed head of an otherwise flat cast, for although Jessica Lowndes, while at least hot, if a little trashy-looking, is flat and periodically terrible, Bruce Willis, when actually used, is effective as an intimidating gangster seeking vengeance, and leading man Jason Patric does what he can to bring charisma, humanity and command to a flat role, so much so that he kind of powers this flick. If you feel that the cast may be more than this film deserves, well, you are most certainly right, though mostly if look at the fulfilled potential for flatness in the execution of a generic story concept, because the idea behind this film, no matter how trite, does have some potential tension, if not humanity. The story concept is, in fact, interesting enough to establish some immediate degree of intrigue, supplemented enough by the solid style and solid lead performances for the final product to transcend contemptibility, if not flirt with, well, borderline decency. If nothing else, the film is too bland too bad, but when it isn't that, or well-stylized and well-acted, it is flimsy something fierce, and even short on the characterization that should bring some humanity to this drama.
As I said, the performers bring some essence to roles which are supposed to be a little ambiguous, to be characterized along the predictable progression of this somewhat dramatically charged thriller, but the development is more holed than it is ambiguous, partly because the subtleties are not justified by layering to exposition that is ultimately so thin that the characters feel like types who are lacking in humanity, their problematic traits hard to get invested in or even buy into. The characters are neither convincing, nor the only things which fail to convince, because even though this thriller could have been grounded, if glaring lapses in tonal and storytelling subtlety don't throw you way off, it's the deep, deep plummets into contrived happenings that are more clichéd than unbelievable, and, make no mistake, are pretty darn unbelievable. This film isn't essentially nothing new, but wholly nothing new, featuring the same character types that we've seen time and again, and following the typical beat and path with admirable, if sometimes slightly lazy style, and with an unlikely and utterly predictable, but somewhat promising story. Again, if this film is not too bland to be bad, then its concept is too interesting to be repulsive, and entirely cleansed of some sense of genuine tension and consequence, but it remains startlingly clichéd, and, in a lot of ways, paper-thin, its weight further betrayed by Andre Fabrizio's and Jeremy Passmore's shoddy writing, and, of course, by lazy direction. Brian A. Miller has his effective moments in directorial orchestration, but that's mainly because he had certain worthwhile tools at his disposal that are hard to consistently abuse, because for every highlight in technical value and action, there is something flat about the way the scenes are shot and structured, and if a performance is good, that's because the thespian is good enough to engage on his own, for Miller does nothing with the human subtlety of the performers, focusing too much on overbearing atmospherics that feel more lazy than overambitious in their bloating the bite of this thriller. Really, you'd be lucky to get contrived tension out of this sometimes admittedly somewhat effective flick, because even The Newton Brothers' solid score is always there to liven things up, a whole lot of monotonous dragging to the writing goes backed by a cold atmosphere, resulting in bland spells that very often dull out, making it impossible to ignore the other issues which quickly defuse the momentum of this misfire. A lot of people will find this film tedious, and a couple will find it moderately effective (Literally a couple, as in two superficial people with a whole lot of boredom and, of course, video-on-demand on hand), and for me, I find that there are some things to genuinely enjoy and be engaged by with this thriller, even in concept, but it is too blasted bland to be so blasted messy, falling somewhere between bad and merely mediocre in its misguidance and overwhelming inconsequentiality.
Its score and cinematography solid, if not excellent, and occasionally well-orchestrated, like decent action sequences, by highlights in direction, and its somewhat promising story concept being reasonably humanized by a solid performance by Jason Patric, as well as, to a lesser extent, Bruce Willis, the final product has a couple of respectable aspects, and many major missteps, including thin characterization, contrivances, clichés, and a direction whose laziness begets either a great deal of flimsiness, or some serious dull spells, until Brain A. Miller's "The Prince" falls flat as a frustratingly trite, and greatly mediocre piece of inconsequential thriller filler.
2/5 - Weak
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