Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The gangster Omar, as played by Bruce Willis, is smiling and happy and watching his little girl get ready to jump into a car to go to her first day of school.  As a side note, Bruce Willis really doesn't look like a guy who would be named 'Omar'.  Anyway, we can tell by Omar's unbridled joy, and the fact this car that his daughter and his wife are about to get into is clear across the street, that it's about to explode.  You will get to see this particular scene four or five times in this movie 'The Prince' so don't be too upset if you come in a few minutes late and might've missed it.  In the background is Paul (Jason Patric), codenamed the Prince, waving at the wife and the daughter not to get in this car.  Thing is, Omar was taking pictures of this little girl of his like forever so if Paul really wanted them not to get into this car that he, himself, set to explode, it should've been easy enough.  Anyway, that was a good twenty or so years ago, the Prince disappears never to be seen again and life, more or less, goes on.

Now Paul is a kindly mechanic in Mississippi somewhere skyping with his college daughter Beth (Gia Mantegna), until she stops skyping.  What happened to Beth?  Well it's time for Paul to head to last place he wants to go, New Orleans, to find his baby girl.  Of course we could ask why Paul would allow his daughter to go school in the state of the one place he absolutely cannot go, but we won't ask that.

Paul needs intel on where is daughter might be and what she might have gotten herself into, and unfortunately for us he finds that intel in the form of one of cinemas most annoying characters, Angela the pot smoking, powder snorting, beer drinking, pole dancing party girl, as played by actress Jessica Lowndes.  After spending some quality with Angela, we were desperately hoping she wouldn't be tagging along for the whole movie, and truth be told we were really hoping she'd get shot and maybe give our hero some extra revenge motivation, but since we didn't see any other pretty girls stopping by, we figured we were stuck with her.  If young actresses had more power, I'm sure young Jessica Lowndes would've asked her director Brian A. Miller to make her character a little less annoying so people wouldn't be hoping she'd die a painful death, but alas she was probably just happy to have the gig.
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So Paul dusts off his old skills, starts beating people up and whatnot, and soon Omar and his right-hand man, the vicious Mark who looks like a seventeen year old girl (Jung ji-Hoon), are aware that he's back in town and Omar wants his head.  Alive preferably.  Worse still for The Prince is that Omar has learned that he is looking for his strung out daughter.  Omar wonders what he did to make God to smile down upon him so favorably on this day.

Now the race is on.  Paul must find his doped out daughter before Omar finds her or all is lost.  And John Cusack is in this movie.  I have to mention this because he's on the box cover.  Shootouts will occur.  Seriously.  I'm not joking about this.  For real.

I'm trying to thinks of something worthwhile to tell you about this movie 'The Prince' which really wasn't very good, but it had some decent elements to it which should've made it better.  No, Jason Patrick didn't seem to be too terribly engaged as the title character, but his detached boredom actually kind of worked considering the type of character he was playing.  There was something eerily disturbing about watching this cat emotionlessly mow down hundreds upon hundreds of stupid people.  Jung Ji-Hoon, whom we used to know as Korean pop star Rain, was probably the most interesting actor in this movie and quite honestly we probably would have enjoyed the movie more if he was the boss, if only because he seemed a little more appreciative to have this gig than Bruce Willis was.  Plus 50 Cent was really good in the one scene he was in.  Mr. Jackson might not be able actually to carry an entire movie, but he's gold in cameo.  And there was a lot of action in the movie.  You might think there could be some consequences to shooting up a couple hundred people, no matter how bad they might be, but I guess not in New Orleans.

Here's what we see as the main problem with this movie, one with many problems.  Unless one is a highly skilled story teller, a movie like this needs clearly defined characters.  Good Guy, Bad guy, damsel we want to see saved.  Jason Patrick was an anti-hero, so there was not a lot to root for there, Bruce Willis looked like he had better things to do, and quite honestly his character had a legitimate beef with this guy, so who can really be all that mad at him, and two damsels were supremely annoying and a strung out junkie.  We got nothing but mad love for strung out junkies here at the FCU, but they are difficult to root for.  Thus we are in the unenviable position of watching disconnected violence with nothing to connect us to any of it.

Now John Cusack was basically in this movie for one reason, to explain to us why Paul is called The Prince.  Somehow they screwed that one job up.  I could rewind that speech he gave a hundred times and still wouldn't know what the hell he was talking about.

If you consistently watch these throwaway modern action films, like we do, then 'The Prince' at least fills the bill of lots of shootouts and a simple story that at least doesn't get in its own way.  Problem is, it really isn't much more than that.
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