MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Prince’ Is A Complete Waste Of Time

Film: The Prince
Starring: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis
Directed by: Brian A. Miller

The Prince attempts to copy Taken’s formula for success but forgets to include the fun and suspense.

Jason Patric stars as a retired New Orleans crime boss and widow who has spent years trying to separate himself from his life in crime. This isn’t explained up front in the actual film, but it’s how marketing has set up the story. When his daughter is kidnapped seemingly out of a the blue, our hero must partner with an old acquaintance (John Cusack) to stop an old rival (Bruce Willis). Gun play and violence ensues, but none of it is all that interesting.

On paper, The Prince has almost everything one looks for in a potential blockbuster; but somewhere in the process of bringing those ideas to life things went horribly awry. The story is decent, even if it has been told a thousand times before, but the way it unfolds is so heavy handed it’s hard to think anything other than the most predictable ending will occur. There is never any question of what needs to happen or how it will all take place, only how long you will have to sit and wait for the characters have this same realization. Once this happens, everything else is a meaningless exposition and violence intended to stretch a paper thin retread of a tired idea to feature length. There’s even a brief 50 Cent appearance for no reason other than to add an extra step to Patric’s journey. His existence before and after his one scene has no impact on the rest of the story, but here’s there nonetheless. Another face for posters, I guess.

Jason Patric is not the biggest name in Hollywood, but John Cusack and Bruce Willis still have enough clout to sell at least a few tickets based on name recognition alone. One might think that would encourage the aging stars to give things their all even when the script leaves a lot to be desire, but Cusack mainly looks tired. It’s as if he woke just long enough to shoot his brief scenes and then retreated to his trailer for another several hours of rest. Willis appears so little it’s a wonder why he’s the person who is in the center of the film’s poster and cover art. When he is on screen, audiences get a rare taste of Willis as a villain and it doesn’t take long to recognize it’s not exactly a match made in heaven.

When Patric and Willis do finally face off, the ending you expected from the moment you learned the film’s plot is exactly what happens and there is never a moment’s doubt as to whether or not that will be the case. It’s a finale so anticlimactic I immediately began to suspect that the film would attempt to setup a sequel, if only to offer audiences a more compelling ending, but fortunately no such efforts took place. Instead, I shut off my television, walked over to my home video collection, and tried to figure out where Cusack and Willis went so wrong with their career decisions that The Prince would appeal to them in 2014. I never found the answer, but I hope I will someday.

If you see The Prince playing in theaters near you or being promoted across your favorite VOD platform, keep on doing whatever it is you’re doing in that moment and move on. The only thing there is to gain from watching The Prince is the feeling that you just wasted 93 minutes of life that could have been spent doing absolutely anything else. You will feel sense of sorrow for the fading careers of once great actors, but that will pass in time.


Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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