Director: Edward John Drake
Cast: Bruce Willis, Timothy V. Murphy, Rob Gough, Johann Urb, Anna Louise Morse, Johnny Messner, Cullen G. Chambers, Janet Jones
Rating: NC16 (Coarse Language and Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 5 May 2022
Synopsis: Washed-up Sheriff Ben Watts (Bruce Willis) guards the secrets of the wealthy residents of Fitzgerald, a quiet town buried in the south of Georgia. When three outlaws take a prominent town doctor, John Keats (Cullen G. Chambers), hostage inside his sprawling lakeside home, Sheriff Watts is called in to handle the situation before the FBI arrives. In a race against time, the mayor, Charles Routledge (Timothy V. Murphy) pressures Sheriff Watts to launch an assault on the hostage-takers, but Sheriff Watts realizes Dr. Keats is at the heart of conspiracy surrounding missing the town’s missing residents. As the Sheriff’s loyalties are tested, Charles Routledge enlists a former Soldier of Fortune, Silas (Johnny Messner), to eliminate all witnesses. When the Sheriff sides with the hostage-takers, he’s forced to confront his own failings as a leader and must carve a bloody warpath to expose all of the town’s dark secrets.
A new month. A new Bruce Willis movie. The trend unabashedly continues in American Siege, the latest from Willis’ frequent collaborators, Edward Drake (Apex, Cosmic Sin) and Corey Large (Deadlock).
Willis plays a washed-up, alcoholic Sheriff, Ben Watts who is called upon to investigate a hostage situation whereby siblings, Grace (Anna Hindman), his brother Toby (Johann Urb) and their friend, Roy (Rob Gough) has taken a pharmacist, John Keats (Cullen Chambers) hostage. Grace is keen to find out the truth behind the mysterious case of her missing sister, Brigit (Sarah May Sommers) since John is the last person on earth to see her.
Things get even more complicated when a local businessman, Charles Rutledge (Timothy V. Murphy) is actually involved in the running of an illegal drug operation in the basement of John’s house. Apparently, everyone in town seems to be on Charles’ payroll and that includes Sheriff Ben. And now Charles wants the trio dead before FBI descends on the small town.
To be less critical and judgemental for a start, American Siege is at least tolerable and watchable than any of the earlier stuff churned out by Drake and Large. Although this is not saying much, the cinematography and editing is far more professional. And genuinely, Drake seems to know what he is doing. Although familiar and predictable, there’s a decent central story which involves a mysterious missing person, corrupted wealthy folks and cop. What could go wrong in a generic, action flick starring Bruce Willis?
Of course, the answer lies in Willis who as usual appears in less than 15 minutes of the entire duration but received a massive credit on the poster. His sickness issue aside, this might be a better movie without his participation. Given that the money from his paycheck can be channel to the entire production or to his much more deserving co-stars liked Timothy V. Murphy and Anna Hindman. The only memorable act for Willis’ character is of him laughing hysterically at a destroyed flying drone. At least the man is still old-school.
As mentioned, Timothy V. Murphy is excellent as the movie’s antagonist. Cool, menacing and giving Willis’ a run for his money with frequent over-the-top dialogue and posturing. His character even has a son who is the deputy sheriff to act as a cover for his sins. The man is evil all right. The relatively new Hindman on the other hand is scene-stealing as the movie’s sole female redneck. These two performers are probably the only thing you remember out of this otherwise tepid production.
Drake spent a whole chuck of the movie on talky dialogue forgetting about the tension of the situation which basically took place in a single location. There’s of course the occasional shootouts between Anna and Charles’ bunch of incompetent henchmen. Seriously, we are pretty sure Charles can afford to hire better mercenaries than a group of goons that can’t even outwit three civilians. Willis predictably turned up in the finale to fire some obligatory shots which are seemingly more cringy than exciting. If this movie is about ground-breaking revelations, small-town conspiracies and crimes, we don’t see them here in Drake and Large’s premise.
(Another forgettable, underwhelming Bruce Willis’ flick of the month)
Review by Linus Tee