A mechanic learns that his daughter, whom he thinks is at college, has dropped out. He tries to call her but, when someone else answers the phone, he goes to where she's staying and finds a photo of his daughter with another girl, so he looks for her and asks her where his daughter is. She says that his daughter hooked up with a guy who's from New Orleans. So they go there to find him. When some men refuse to answer his questions they beat him but he fights back, which the girl is amazed that he can do. Eventually they find the guy who tells them where his daughter might be. While on their way some men shoot at them. He learns that they work for a man named Omar who wants him. He still tries to find his daughter while Omar sends his best men to get him. Written by
"The Prince" is entirely unoriginal as it doesn't show us anything we haven't seen before. It's generic and formulaic. Everything in this movie you've seen in other movies that came before it, only those movies did it better and they did it first. Uninspired would be the word. No creativity to be found anywhere.
The setup is (too) similar to "Taken" where an "aged father formerly known as Prince" who happened to be a big deal in the local crime scene in whatever city two decades ago goes looking for his missing daughter killing a bunch of bad guys along the way.
The movie tries and fails to establish the main character as this legendary criminal who kicked butt long ago and who now has come back to his old turf in order to save his daughter. How do we know he is this legendary tough guy? Mostly because people in the movie claim that he is (please: show, don't tell), but Jason Patric just can't pull it off as the lead, even if he might be an otherwise competent actor.
I think this is mostly the result of poorly written dialog & scenes that just fail to sell us on his violent past. He kinda just seems like a nice guy. Maybe if the movie hadn't tried so hard to be "Taken" in the first place and instead made the main character appear more vulnerable & relatable, then discrepancy between what we are promised and what we actually get to see wouldn't be so glaring.
Speaking of promises: Despite what the movie poster might imply, neither Bruce Willis nor John Cusack get much screen time, though it's not like their characters are interesting in any way. More screen time with them wouldn't have saved the movie. Willis doesn't give a damn because "yay money" and Cussack apparently lost a bet or something, because why else would he want to be part of this movie.
I don't mind unoriginal movies, if at least they are well executed in a "guilty pleasure" kind of way. A good example of this would be the semi-recent sci-fi action flick "Lock-Up", a movie which scratches certain itches and succeeds to be entertaining, even if it has no Oscar worthy performances or a mind-blowing story. "The Prince" doesn't provide any guilty pleasure. It provides a reason to call customer service and demand your money back or at least a free rental of "Lock-Up".
Some may say "Well it's a genre movie. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Take it for what it is: An action movie!" I am. The movie doesn't succeed. I have watched my fair share of Jet Li/Jason Statham/Vin Diesel etc. movies and suffered through mediocre acting and story telling and in turn got rewarded with at least a couple of interestingly choreographed fight scenes or otherwise neat visuals or interesting set pieces. Not so here. It's just some guy punching or shooting bad guys at boring locations. No interesting fight choreography, camera work, tension... nothing. Most of the action involves our main guy being shot at by incompetent stormtroopers... I mean bad guys, quickly taking cover, then eventually shooting the bad guys because they suck at taking cover -> Level complete.
It's not that the people involved in this movie were entirely incompetent, the actors are doing an okay job, the lighting is fine, the camera is, well... capturing what needs to be captured, the story is at least not a confusing mess, the character motivations are mostly clear etc., but ultimately nothing in this movie stands out as original or particularly well done. There is not a single "Hey, that was cool/interesting/impressive." moment.
"The Prince" will leave you entirely unsatisfied as you won't care about any of the characters or the twist-free conclusion nor will you get a rush out of any of the action scenes. This movie is not worth your time and especially not worth your money. It's an incredibly lazy straight-to-rental cash-in, using Willis and Cusack to lure people into watching it. Please don't reward such business practices.
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