Combustible Celluloid
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With: Bruce Willis, Rob Gough, Timothy V. Murphy, Johann Urb, Anna Hindman, Trevor Gretzky, Cullen G. Chambers, Eric Buarque, Janet Jones, Johnny Messner
Written by: Edward Drake, based on a story by Edward Drake, Corey Large
Directed by: Edward Drake
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout and some drug content
Running Time: 91
Date: 01/07/2022

American Siege (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Gone to 'Siege'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Riddled with bad ideas and bad dialogue, but also peppered with bizarre touches and interesting character moments, this thriller isn't exactly good, but it at least rises above others of its ilk.

Roy (Rob Gough) is released from prison after ten years; he was arrested for punching the wealthy and powerful Charles Rutledge (Timothy V. Murphy), who controls everything and everyone in their small Georgia town. Roy immediately connects with siblings Grace (Anna Hindman) and Toby (Johann Urb), and launch a plan to hold Dr. Keats (Cullen G. Chambers) hostage. Their goal is to find out what happened to Brigit Baker — Roy's girlfriend and Grace and Toby's sister — and why she disappeared a decade earlier.

Dr. Keats is supposedly the last one to see her. Sheriff Ben Watts (Bruce Willis) and deputy Kyle Rutledge (Trevor Gretzky) — who also happens to be Charles's son — head to the scene, but the senior Rutledge loses patience and sends his militia team, led by the sinister Silas (Johnny Messner), to handle things.

Reunited with his Cosmic Sin director Edward Drake, star Bruce Willis gets slightly more to do in American Siege than in his usual window-dressing type roles, but he's still, weirdly, the least interesting character. He practically doesn't even need to be here at all, and his line readings are tonally all over the place, emphasizing certain words, or leaving spaces between, seemingly at random.

Thankfully, the main characters, the hostage-takers, are rather more interesting, especially the siblings. Hindman's Grace is a quick-witted spitfire, starting the movie by killing a henchman and proudly wearing bleeding scratches on her face for the rest of the movie. She shows the cracks in her armor, indicating that a troubled life led her to become so hard.

Always a beat or two behind his sister, Urb's Tony has a spiritual flair, like a grinning, snake-charmer preacher. When he attempts to break open an armored door, he claims he's doing "God's work." When he finally breaks in and enters a dark chamber, he mutters, "it better not be aliens..." (A movie about them and their absent sister, a trio of outlaw siblings, might have been a great deal more interesting than what we have here.)

Unfortunately, despite the bursts of life the movie gets from these crazy characters, American Siege is still based around a pretty uninspired idea, filmed in an uninspired way. It's basically a whole bunch of firepower, explosions, and annihilation to explain a pretty simple, and not-very-interesting, missing-person story.

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