Review: Bruce Willis takes paycheck in dull ‘Violence’
Bruce Willis practically sleeps through this boring action flick, and you’ll wish you did too
There are definitely acts of violence in “Acts of Violence,” so you can’t knock it for false advertising.
Those acts of violence quickly become numbing, however, as the film mistakes endless rounds of gunfire as on-screen action.
Behind much of the gunfire is Declan MacGregor (Cole Hauser), a miltary vet struggling with PTSD after a stint fighting overseas. An early scene between him and a VA officer is tense and unnerving, and signals a different sort of movie than what comes after.
We’re heading straight down Vengeance Lane, and “Acts of Violence” turns particularly grim when Declan’s brother’s fiance is kidnapped and forced into a sex trafficking ring by underworld kingpin Max Livingston (Mike Epps, comically miscast as a bad dude). Declan and his brothers mount up and take the law into their own hands, aided by a seen-it-all cop (Bruce Willis in dour paycheck mode) who has no issues letting a couple of civilians shoot up half of Cleveland.
Directed by Brett Donowho, “Acts of Violence” puts its head down and somberly marches forward in its tale of revenge. The film has all the signposts of an action movie — copious shootouts, strip club scenes, even a throwaway one-liner when Willis gets into a rooftop tussle with a foe — but none of the cohesion needed to make it pop. Turns out there’s more to choreographing an action sequence than just letting guns go bang.
But there’s not much more to “Acts of Violence” than acts of violence themselves, laid out for viewers’ entertainment. As guns fire and bodies bleed, eyes get sleepy. This bloodshed sure is boring.
‘Acts of Violence’
Rated R for violence, language throughout, sexuality/nudity and drug material
Running time: 86 minutes