Even if you have never set foot within a few thousand miles of Louisiana it will be instantly recognisable to you due to the sheer volume of films that have been shot there in recent years. Due to the cheap labour and tax breaks, it’s an attractive place to make a movie down Louisiana way, and many forgettable action offerings with stars such as 50 Cent, Val Kilmer and Cuba Gooding Jr have sullied the lush countryside.
These are easy to market, easy to make and easy to forget, which is sad considering that the latest flick to be shot in this southern locale is not one of the aforementioned names but that former member of Hollywood royalty, Bruce Willis. Yes you read that correctly, John McClane has fallen to the depths of Louisiana abusing the straight to DVD section by numbers, who would have thought his standards would fall so low?
Once the charismatic leading man of multi million dollar blockbusters such as Armageddon and The Sixth Sense, Willis has found things tough of late, and if he was hoping Catch 44 was going to propel him back to the upper echelons of Hollywood hierarchy then he is under a bigger illusion than David Cameron. The fact that his next project, a sequel to the abysmal GI Joe is also being shot in Louisiana says it all.
Catch 44 is a mess, fact. Whoever thought it was ‘ironic’ to have Willis starring in a film that frequently mentions the actor Bruce Willis needs to take themselves into a corner and give themselves a good talking to, or go back for a refresher course at film school. To make matters worse, yes it is possible, this tawdry piece of so called entertainment features Willis’ hugely forgettable ‘Respect Yourself’ when he was in his ‘I’m a serious musician’ phase.
The clock is ticking for Willis, he is a great actor, his past work proves this time and time again, and unless he stops being so lazy, or greedy, or both, he will soon find himself alongside the likes of Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme, a sad old has been who will be churning out cable channel fodder making a fool of himself in beer commercials.
Although this is meant to be a review of Catch 44, it’s practically impossible to describe this film in words. Try and imagine a compilation of the Pulp Fiction diner scenes, the stand off scene from Reservoir dogs, three strippers, interweaving stories, credit sequences, edits, lots of jumping back and forwards and an old school jukebox, now chuck them all into a blender and see what you end up with, that is Catch 44.
The strippers are hatching a plan to rob an i-40 of its coke, Willis is their meat head boss and drug baron, he appears at the start, in the middle and at the end, yet is the lead. To further add to the confusion we have Oscar winner Forrest Whittaker, it was strange that he went into Criminal Minds on TV so soon after picking up his statuette, but why he felt the need to be in this abomination is a real head scratcher.