HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Prince
HTS Overall Score:72.5
The direct to video market is a bit hit or miss, with usually a large majority of the tiles being misses. The acting is usually so so and the writing even worse, but with some actors you can have some incredibly fun DTV movies. “Frozen Ground” springs to mind, as it was made as a direct to video release, but was up there with many theatrical releases, the same with Nicholas Cage’s “Joe” as well. I’ve always been a fan of John Cusack and even though Bruce Willis has been phoning it in for several years, John has always impressed me (especially his performance in “Frozen Ground”). Checking out “The Prince”, I have come to the conclusion that John Cusack took a queue from Bruce and decided to sleep walk through all of 10 minutes that he was in the movie and Bruce himself gave the same angry “John McClane” impersonation that he’s done for the last several years in these crime dramas. Really this movie is about Jason Patric as Bruce, John and even 50 Cent are only in the film for a few short minutes each.
Paul Brennan (Jason Patric) is a mild mannered mechanic from Mississippi with a teenage daughter going to college near New Orleans. When she goes missing he drives down to her college only to find out that she hasn’t been going for quite some time. Finding one of her friends, Angela (Jessica Lowndes), Paul finds out that his daughter has gone off the deep end, getting in to drugs, running around with the wrong crowd, etc. Turning on his game face, dear old daddy starts taking out baddies left and right with a sort of brutal efficiency that you would expect from a hired killer. At this point it’s pretty clear that he’s a bit more than just a simple mechanic, and as the story unfolds you find out that he’s an ex-military trained assassin who used to grow up around New Orleans. He ended up killing his rival Omar’s (Bruce Willis) wife and child in an attempt meant for himself, and ended up leaving New Orleans for good. Now that he’s back searching for his daughter Beth (Gia Mantegna), Omar has turned his sites back on vengeance.
With Omar on his trail, it’s only a matter of time before Paul is either killed, Beth is found by Omar and used against him, or he gets his daughter and gets out of there as fast as humanely possible. Tearing up the city with no mercy, Paul is able to find Beth, but once again loses her thanks to Omar’s interference. Grabbing more guns than an Army, Paul has to go in, break his daughter out of Omar’s clutches and leave behind a trail of bodies that would leave death himself flabbergasted.
Whoooooooo boy, where do I begin? I really look for the best in every movie I watch, especially DTV since there is usually a lot of heart and effort with low level directors looking to make it in to the big time, but unfortunately there is a lot of trash where someone is just trying to make a quick paycheck. This is unfortunately the latter of the two situations, with a generic, uninspired script that relies on hackneyed writing and bored actors. Jason Patric isn’t half bad as the assassin dad, but the writing really robs him of any chance to make it believable, with long winded exposition on what a billy bad boy he is and how legendary of a killer he once was. The writers try to puff up his ability so much that you would think this was a Steven Seagal movie with the amount of back patting and ego stroking that went in to the script. Everyone else in the movie was either about as amateur as you can get, or just plain bored. Beth and Angela had the acting chops of your standard WWE babe and John Cusack and Bruce Willis both slept walked when they were on screen, especially Cusack, who mumbled and whispered his dialogue with about as much gusto as a bored kid at his mom’s Aerobics class. You know it’s bad when Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson gives one of the better performances in the movie.
I wanted to like the movie, I really did, but there were so many clichés and bad moves that it just didn’t happen. The movie is hate worthy, but uses every cookie cutter direct to video action cliché invented to get the story from point A to point B in such a generic fashion that one becomes bored very quickly. We have everything from the gangsta drug dealers, a ticked off rich gangster, and even the Asian bodyguard so that Jason Patrick can have a good hand to hand combat scene with at the end of the movie. I’d say the biggest problem, besides the script, was that everyone involved knew just how boring the script was and slept walked through it accordingly. No sense of excitement, just the moving around and going through the motions in order to say “check please!” at the end of filming.
Rated R for Violence, Drug Content, and Language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30825[/img]The 2.40:1 AVC encoded image is a decent looking image, with a nice clean look that digital photography brings to the table. The colors are a bit wonky, with plenty of saturation and the film graded with a heavy burnished orange look to it. This tends to give the skin tones a bit of a ruddy look to them and the bright lighting used tended to wash out the faces a bit. Detail is high enough and certainly won’t disappoint, but the lighting and the burnished orange tones made some of the finer detail a bit hard to pull from the image. Blacks are a bit crushed and tend to be a bit murky at times, but they are still quite satisfactory, for the most part. Contrast is boosted, but clarity and sharpness are spot on with almost no softness that I could ascertain. It’s a short 91 minute film, so it has plenty of room to breathe on the disc and there are no instances of banding, macroblocking or other compression related nasties to report.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30833[/img]The highlight of the film is in the form a very robust 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. Loud and aggressive, it brings in all the action oriented effects and stuff you would expect with the amount of firepower being lugged about in the movie. Guns sound like hand cannons, and there is a nice heavy bass line that starts vibrating the furniture during some of the tenser moments. Fisticuffs sound deep and heavy, and impacts sound as if they’re hitting you straight in the chest. Dialogue is clean and clear, with the only moments that I had to strain to overhear were John Cusack’s mumbling into the microphone. Surrounds are used nicely and especially light up with action sequences. The only thing about this track that is pedestrian is the cheap and generic score that was used for the movie, sounding like they chose the most generic non copy written music they could possibly find.
• Commentary With Director Brian A. Miller and Actor Jason Patric
• Extended Scenes
• Capturing "The Prince": Behind the Scenes
• Interviews with the Cast and Crew
• Trailer Gallery
I can’t say “The Prince” is an awful movie, but it is nowhere near the pinnacle of greatness either (or much less even passable), as the 91 minutes fly by fairly quickly and leave little impact on the viewer. Really it’s best left a Netflix night where you’re bored spit less and there’s nothing on TV. The video is good, albeit slightly weird looking with the heavy color grading, and the audio is stellar. Still I’d have to give it a skip unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Starring: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, John Cusack
Directed By: Brian A. Miller
Written By: Andre Fabrizo, Jeremy Passmore
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 28th 2014
Buy The Prince Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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