'Marauders': Film Review

Yet another by-the-numbers B-movie barely featuring a paycheck-grabbing Bruce Willis.

Christopher Meloni and Bruce Willis star in this crime thriller about an FBI unit investigating a series of bank robberies.

Several questions come to mind while watching the latest crime thriller "starring" Bruce Willis. Such as, how many days did the actor work to complete his few scenes? How much did he get paid, and was it worth it to film in Cincinnati? And are foreign presales and VOD receipts really enough to make this sort of formulaic B-movie profitable?

Pondering such weighty issues is certainly more interesting than trying to immerse yourself in the convoluted plotting of the blandly titled Marauders. This tale about a team of FBI agents — who are trying to catch a gang of ruthless bank robbers whose motivation appears to go well beyond money — throws in lengthy debates about the nature of evil, a subplot involving the war in Afghanistan and scenes of emotional upheaval to little dramatic effect.

The banks being targeted are all owned by Hubert (Willis), the sort of tycoon who regales visitors with a rambling discourse on the spider crawling outside on the glass wall of his 13th floor office. (It's safe to say that the actor's monotonous delivery of the monologue will not be studied by acting students either now or in the future.)  

The FBI team investigating the robberies committed by bad guys wearing elaborate, videogame-inspired masks is led by the gruff — is there any other kind? — Agent Montgomery (Christopher Meloni, whose presence here reminds one how sorely missed he is on Law and Order: SVU), emotionally tortured by the killing of his fellow agent/wife during an undercover sting. When he goes home at night he pours himself a glass of wine that he doesn't drink and ponders blowing his brains out with his gun.

Also involved in the case are fellow agents Stockwell (Dave Bautista, whose massive physique surely stretched the budget wardrobe) and newbie Wells (Adrian Grenier, seeming like his Entourage character Vincent Chase appearing in his latest action vehicle), as well as a possibly corrupt police detective, Mims (Johnathon Schaech), whose wife is dying of cancer. 

Even those viewers who manage to pay attention throughout, and they're bound to be in the minority, will have trouble keeping up with Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson's overly twisty screenplay. And while director Steven C. Miller — whose last film, Extraction, was another bland Willis paycheck movie — manages to invest the heist sequences with some suspense, his sluggish handling of the dramatic scenes makes the film feel far longer than it is.

Meloni does the best that he can with his clichéd role, and the supporting players occasionally manage to convey that they actually care about the material, which is more than anyone else will be able to say.

Distributor: Lionsgate Premiere
Production: Emmett/Furla Films, Grindstone Entertainment Group, 4th Wall Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Cast: Christopher Meloni, Bruce Willis, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson, Texas Battle
Director: Steven C. Miller
Screenwriters: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson
Producers: Randall Emmett, George Furla, Joshua Harris, Rosie Charbonneau, Mark Stewart
Executive producers: Barry Brooker, Ted Fox, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Anthony Jabre, Robert Jones, Corey Large, Vance Owen, Andrew C. Robinson, Steven Saxton, Kirk Shaw, Jason Trawick, Jared Underwood, Slava Vladimirov, Stan Wertlieb
Director of photography: Brandon Cox
Production designer: Niko Vilaivongs
Editor: Vincent Tabaillon
Costume designer: Bonnie Stauch

Composer: Ryan Dodson

Rated R,107 minutes