Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jaime King, Bruce Willis, Lala Kent, Kelly Greyson, Michael Sirow, Megan Leonard, Tyler Jon Olson, Oliver Trevena, Mike Burns
Written by: Bill Lawrence
Directed by: Mike Burns
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, violence and drug use
Running Time: 96
Date: 07/16/2021
IMDB

Out of Death (2021)

1 Star (out of 4)

Mild Bruce Chase

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Yet another in a string of micro-budget Bruce Willis "action" movies, this thriller looks and feels slapdash, ignoring plot threads, taking lazy, sloppy shortcuts, and ultimately adding up to little.

Photojournalist Shannon Mathers (Jaime King) is hiking through the wilderness, intending to scatter her father's ashes. Along the way, she spots a drug deal, involving a dirty cop, Billie Stanhope (Lala Kent), in progress. She hides and takes pictures of it, but she's discovered and pursued.

Before long, Billie has called another cop, Tom Rivers (Tyler Jon Olson) — brother of the crooked sheriff and mayoral candidate Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow) — to help find and kill Shannon. Fortunately, retired cop Jack Harris (Bruce Willis) has just moved into a nearby cabin, and he may just have something to say about this situation.

Willis clearly took this role just for the paycheck, allowing the filmmakers to use his name value. He reportedly worked on the movie for only one day, so there are many shots of him walking through the woods alone, reacting to offscreen noises. His line readings are sleepy and non-committal, and yet, without him Out of Death would have been even worse. (What does that title even mean?)

The villains seem to have been mistakenly informed that they were in a comedy, performing their tasks with a broad bumbling quality, and constantly snapping at one another. The main villain, a crooked politician, is as generically snaky as they come.

Most disappointing is the Shannon character and her disturbing character arc. Despite her job, her father apparently labeled her a "quitter," and she eventually proves him wrong... by learning to carry a gun. That's it. Perhaps next time the filmmakers and Willis will realize that "B" movies can be fun and energetic; they don't have to be cheap and lazy, like Out of Death.

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