Tag Archives: Edward Drake

TOGETHER AGAIN

American Siege

by George Wolf

American Siege is already the fourth film that writer and/or director Edward Drake has done with Bruce Willis in just the past two years.

And if you’ve seen any of these projects (Breach, Apex, Cosmic Sin), you know the business model: give Willis a limited role he can shoot in a day while you fill the running time with limp action, painful performances and hackneyed dialog. It’s an assembly-line approach that gets cheers for efficiency, but jeers for quality control.

This time out, Willis is Ben Watts, a former NYC cop enjoying the quiet life as a sheriff in smalltown Georgia. But his lazy days canoodling with his deputy (a Janet Jones sighting for the first time in nearly ten years) are interrupted by a hostage situation.

A small gang of baddies has taken the town doctor (Cullen G. Chambers) hostage, and they have an unusual request: reopen the case of a local woman’s disappearance, or else.

Okay, give Drake credit for a somewhat interesting setup, but it’s one that quickly gets buried under ridiculous plot turns, lazy execution and heavy-handed declarations.

The town is run by one of those Ben-Gazarra-Road House guys (Timothy V. Murphy) who can can summon a goon squad at a moment’s notice. And this one does, because there are secrets in the good doctor’s place that must be protected.

We know this because of the warning Doc gives his captors about opening that household vault with a door right out of Ocean’s Eleven.

“Some things can’t be unseen!’

But don’t be too concerned with the doctor’s realization that “I’ve already said too much!” He’ll be blurting out Not Ben Gazarra’s evil plan in no time, while making sure to blame the entire bloody mess on “coastal elites.”

Mess is right. Even the shoot-em-up payoff is lackluster, while the film’s prevailing worldview is simplistic and pandering, and the ensemble’s forced emoting makes Willis’s latest sleepwalk feel like Daniel Day-Lewis.

But, after about 90 minutes, just remember Drake and Willis already have two more of these gems in post-production, so one of them has to be better than American Siege.

Right?

Watchu Talkin’ Bout, Grillis?

Cosmic Sin

By George Wolf

Knowing that Cosmic Sin comes from the writers behind last year’s Breach probably won’t fill you with confidence about their latest sci-fi adventure.

But the good news is Edward Drake and Corey Large are improving. Very, very slowly.

Drake also takes the director’s chair this time, and coaxes a mildly interested performance out of returning star Bruce Willis (which Breach could never manage).

The year is 2524 (remember that) and Earth’s forces have formed the Alliance of colonies throughout the universe. Willis is General James Ford, renamed the “Blood General” after he wiped out one of the colonies with a “Q-bomb” and was stripped of rank and pension (ouch!).

But minutes after learning of first contact with an alien life form, General Ryle (Frank Grillo) calls Ford back to duty, where he’ll join a rag tag group of you know who to make a heroic you know what and save you know where.

Drake and Large (who also plays Ford’s sidekick) clearly blew the budget on Grillo and Willis (Grillis!), with a side of Costas Mandylor. 500 years from now looks a lot like next Tuesday, while planets light years away look like next Tuesday in Michigan.

And still, cinematographer Brandon Cox manages some slick deep space panoramas…that are often ruined by Saturday morning-worthy effects of our heroes flying through the stars and “pew pew pew”-ing in battle with the aliens.

Likewise, Drake and Large’s script toys with the meaty issues of war, sacrifice, and colonialism, only to abandon them in the name of heroic grandstanding. Potential threads (and Grillo’s entire character) grab our attention and then vanish at random, rendering much of the 88 minute running time a meandering mess.

Still better than Breach, though.