Wednesday, January 05, 2022

American Siege, Starring Bruce Willis, So You Know It Must Be Good

Ben Watts is to law enforcement, a lot like what the man who plays him in this movie, Bruce Willis is to acting. They have been taking the easy way out for years, but we keep hoping to see them redeem themselves. Watts might just have that opportunity in Edward Drake’s American Siege, which opens in select theaters this Friday.

Watts is the Sherriff, but Charles Rutledge runs the show in this small, depressed Georgia town, both in terms of the legit and criminal business. His idiot son Kyle is the deputy, but it is really Watts who keeps an eye on the younger Rutledge rather than vice versa. Unfortunately, they have a real situation on their hands.

Fresh out of prison, Roy meets up with his old foster care pals, Grace and Toby Baker, to take elderly pharmacist John Keats hostage in his suspicious spacious home. The thing is they want him to call the cops, to precipitate a standoff. Their plan is to force a belated investigation into the disappearance of their missing-and-presumed dead friend, so they want things to get loud and messy.

Since Keats got through to 9-1-1, his call was automatically flagged by the FBI as a potential hostage situation and a team is enroute. Obviously, Rutledge needs everything cleaned up before they get there. Watts wants to talk everyone down, but the town boss prefers to call in a team of militia lowlifes.

A title like
American Siege might possibly rick-roll Trump-haters looking for 1/6 political porn, but what they get is another Bruce Willis VOD vehicle, helmed by the Edward Drake, who directed Cosmic Sin and wrote Breach. However, this one might be one or two modest cuts above most of Willis’s recent notorious output.

In this case, he brings some pathos to Watts, perhaps recognizing parallels with his own tarnished glory. Regardless, he has considerable screentime and delivers a half-decent performance. Timothy V. Murphy gives Watts a memorably savage dressing down, but he does not have the same charismatic snarl he brought to
Hell Hath No Fury. However, it is fun to see Janet Jones Gretzky turn up as Marisa Lewis, Watts’s hard-drinking other deputy. Her son Trevor Gretzky is also suitably sad and schlubby as Dep. Rutledge (a character who happens to live in his father’s shadow).

In fact, there is melancholy to
Siege that you won’t find in Willis’s other grind-em-outs. Scott Currie’s acoustic score elevates that tone, which further distinguishes the film. It is not what you would describe as great, or even good, but it is more interesting than viewers might expect. If you are going to watch any of Willis’s last ten or twelve releases, this would probably be the one to pick. Not exactly recommended, but here it is. American Siege opens this Friday (1/7) in select theaters, including the Galaxy Mission Grove in Riverside, CA.