Once Upon a Time in Venice

Critics Consensus

Once Upon a Time in Venice has a little more of a spark than typical late-period Bruce Willis tough guy movies, but it's still a steep, disappointing tumble from his best work.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 625
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Movie Info

Bruce Willis (Die Hard) is Venice Beach P.I. Steve Ford: a detective who's good with the ladies, bad with the punches, and wild about his dog, Buddy. But when his beloved pet is stolen by local thugs, Steve makes a questionable alliance with their devious leader, Spyder (Jason Momoa, "Game of Thrones"). Teaming up with his best friend (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski), Steve pulls out the big guns in search of Spyder's stolen cocaine and cash in order to set things straight and get Buddy back where he belongs. Thomas Middleditch ("Silicon Valley"), Famke Janssen (X-Men), and Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) co-star in this bullet-ridden action-comedy that shows just how far one man will go for his dog.

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Critic Reviews for Once Upon a Time in Venice

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (10)

  • Once Upon a Time in Venice is a sterling example of how a lazy star can make a bad movie even worse.

    Jul 1, 2017 | Full Review…
  • That hissing sound you hear is the air being let out of Bruce Willis as he struggles mightily to reconnect with once-vital action-comedy chops in the dim, unfunny Once Upon a Time in Venice.

    Jun 16, 2017 | Full Review…

    Robert Abele

    Top Critic
  • Of course Willis employs his trademark smirk and his familiar sarcastic line readings. Of course we've seen him play variations on this downtrodden, wisecracking cynic in better movies. But B-movie Willis is still kind of a hoot.

    Jun 16, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Once Upon a Time in Venice frequently sags underneath its own general lethargy, and not even the snarkiest John McClane can fix that.

    Jun 16, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It's as much a snapshot of a screwball neighborhood as it is a loose-ended shaggy dog story, with a weird, buoyant spirit that lifts it up over its somewhat sloppy storytelling.

    Jun 16, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Bruce Willis barks up a number of wrong trees in this scattered, only sparsely amusing shaggy-dog mystery.

    Jun 15, 2017 | Full Review…

    Guy Lodge

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Once Upon a Time in Venice

  • Jul 05, 2017
    I watch this film and just know there was an interesting film somewhere, unfortunately this isn't a Bruce Willis comeback. The film lacks that central performance, Willis has moments but the likable rebel role he was so great with, isn't there anymore. You know there must have been issues with the making of the film when the supporting actor narrates and is the most interesting. I've heard grumblings about Willis on set and much like Cop Out, also written by the same filmmakers here, he caused reshoots and unplanned scenes while filming. There are so many great actors, I can't feel but there is a giant missed opportunity with this film and it's very disappointing to see the results of a chaotic production. The first 15 minutes are quite good but after that it gets lost with a very simplistic plotline. 05-07-2017.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2017
    A patently unfunny comedy, whose audience-gateway character is the most annoying of the bunch. Moderately uplifted by setting, the fact that Bruce Willis wasn't 100% phoning it in for once, John Goodman once again "going through some stuff", and the always endearing Jason Momoa... Who is apparently Mexican for some reason.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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