Director: James Cullen Bressack
Writer: Ross Peacock
Starring: Chad Michael Murray, Bruce Willis, Swen Temmel, Zack Ward, Kate Katzman, Michael Sirow, Canyon Prince, Sarah Roemer, Sean Kanan
At one point during Killing Field David, played by Bruce Willis, asks his captors ‘why are you wasting my time? Just kill me’, which is exactly what you will ask Willis after watching his latest straight to video release. It’s almost embarrassing how far his career has fallen. It was only ten years ago that he starred in the impeccable Moonrise Kingdom, and only a few years since the pretty decent Motherless Brooklyn, and yet somehow Willis is stuck making forgettable action flicks that really aren’t worth the investment of time to watch.
After David, a detective, is shot during a shoot out in a warehouse and captured by a gang of drug dealers, it’s up to his partner, Cal (Swen Temmel), to save the day. Cal chases down two of the gang to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and teams up with the owner, Eric (Chad Michael Murray), to save his partner and take down the gang.
Killing Field is incredibly bad, to the point that its mind numbing. You won’t get more than two minutes into the film without realising that you made a mistake by starting it. It starts with a shoot out in a warehouse where everyone stands very close and somehow everyone misses until Bruce Willis is shot in the stomach, then they all stop. It’s cringe inducingly hard to watch and the film doesn’t get any better than that.
The acting is atrocious, if you can even call it acting. Almost every one of the gang of villains can’t deliver a line of dialogue naturally. Not that it matters, because the script is poorly written, with speech that no one would say in real life and moments of exposition that isn’t subtle in the slightest. Kate Katzman, who plays Violet, is giving her best Harley Quinn impression, but she’s no Margot Robbie, just frustratingly annoying whenever she’s on screen.
Bruce Willis should just stop making films, as he clearly doesn’t care about even trying at this point. He’s barely in the film, getting shot in the opening moments and then spending most of the film in a chair until he gets himself free and then wins a hand-to-hand fight with one of the villains half his age, despite his stomach wound, and the pain he’s been inflicted for information. When he’s being punched in the stomach, his groans of pain are laughable. Every line of dialogue he delivers feels like he’s thought it up on the spot, slowly, and the rest of the actors must work around him. It doesn’t always make sense, especially when the villain gives the cliched, ‘we’re the same’ speech, that Willis responds to in an awkward fashion.
Eric, played by Chad Michael Murray, has recently lost his wife and daughter in a car crash, that he caused. The flashback, that starts off as a sweet scene of his wife playing with a stuffed bunny that she drops, and Eric picks up, while driving and not looking at the road, which causes the crash. It’s one of the genuinely funny moments of the film, and it’s not intentional. It’s not emotional in the slightest, because how can you feel sympathy for someone who decided to pick up a stuffed bunny on the floor of the backseat of a car, killing his family.
The only character that even feels remotely real is Ed, played by Sean Kanan. From his mutterings to himself about how he could have been a lawyer, to the way he stands up to his boss. Not only is Kanan the best actor on set, but his character also feels like the only one not made entirely out of cardboard.
The villains are so ridiculous that it destroys any hope of tension. There are so many bland characters who are just there to rack up a kill count. They don’t act like people. Somehow there is more than one occasion where instead of standing back and shooting they just run at the good guys holding the guns, before being taken down. It actually happens at one point, one after another. It’s probably because they are such poor shots that they feel they’d have a better chance if they run at their targets instead.
To be fair, the score is pretty decent, especially when it starts to lean towards the loud pulsating guitar. If you close your eyes and listen to that instead of watching the film, you’ll have a much better time.
Killing Field is a bad film and should be avoided at every opportunity. Bruce Willis will hopefully one day make another good film, but for now it seems that he just wants to make films to rival Nicolas Cage’s output for the last decade. Maybe Willis will make something as good as Pig in a few years, we can only hope.
Signature Entertainment presents Killing Field on Digital Platforms 17th January and DVD 24th January
Amazon DVD: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Killing-Michael-Murray-Roemer-Willis/dp/B09C6PC3JC/ref=tmm_dvd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1638981812&sr=8-5
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