(US/UK - 2016)
Directed by Max Adams. Written by Max Adams and Paul Seetachit. Cast: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Bruce Willis, Claire Forlani, Daniel Bernhardt, Jenna Kelly, Nick Loeb, Lydia Hull, John Brotherton, Tyler John Olson, Sammi Barber, Christopher Rob Bowen. (R, 89 mins)
The latest in the landmark "Bruce Willis phones in his performance from his hotel room" series, PRECIOUS CARGO is marginally better than the likes of FIRE WITH FIRE, THE PRINCE, VICE, and EXTRACTION, but that's not saying much. Willis does even less than usual here, playing Gulfport crime boss Eddie Filosa, who's introduced in a hotel room berating and slapping a tailor and complaining that his tie looks "dipped in shit." He's doing this before sending his chief flunky Simon (Daniel Bernhardt) after disobedient cohort Karen (Claire Forlani), who tried to shaft him out of his 60% cut on her last job, so now he wants it all. Karen ends up involving her career-criminal ex Jack, referred to by Eddie as "the Michelangelo of thieves" and played with cocky wiseassery by SAVED BY THE BELL's Mark-Paul Gosselaar as if he's attempting to carve a niche as "the Ryan Reynolds of VOD," in a plot to rip off Eddie's diamond shipment. She's also got another surprise for him: she's pregnant with his child, which puts a damper on his blossoming relationship with nice veterinarian Jenna (Lydia Hull), who has no idea that he and his abrasive, little sis-like sidekick Logan (a legitimately enjoyable performance by the promising Jenna Kelly, who deserves her own movie) deal guns and kill people for a living. Double and triple crosses ensue, with Jack and Karen forming an uneasy alliance and putting together a crack team of hired criminals to take Eddie down in a way that is in no way reminiscent of a certain fast and/or furious franchise, with Simon in hot pursuit and Eddie right where you expect a modern-day Willis character to be: on his phone, either yelling "Find him!" or smirking as he sleepily recites tepid bon mots being fed to him just off-camera.
TENTACLES, where the legendary actor was cast as the scowling head of an oil company and was given vague lines like "Just fix it!" and "Why wasn't I notified of this?"--lines that could be about anything and it quickly becomes apparent that Fonda very likely has no idea that he's in a movie about a giant mutant octopus. Fonda didn't even leave his house to shoot his three or four brief scenes--the crew came to him. Willis is at least willing to go to expensive hotels to work on these low-budget movies for a couple of days, but we're maybe two or three of these things away from him texting in his performances while taking a dump.