'The Prince': Film Review

John Estes/Lionsgate
Might as well have been called "Taken 3"

Jason Patric plays a former assassin attempting to rescue his kidnapped daughter in this star-laden thriller

A retired assassin is forced to use his special skills while moving heaven and earth to find his kidnapped daughter. No, it’s not Taken but rather The Prince, Brian A. Miller’s B-movie action-thriller that mainly serves to illustrate how far such former marquee names as Jason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack have fallen. Being given a limited theatrical release, the film should score well on VOD and home video formats due to its familiar faces, but it sorely illustrates that these talented actors are in desperate need of career reassessments.

The story concerns Paul (Patric), a widowed father who discovers that his college-age daughter Beth (Gia Mategna) has gone missing. Enlisting one of her school friends (Jessica Lowndes) to help track her down, he soon finds himself confronting an array of bad guys who he dispatches with the sort of ruthless efficiency and seeming invulnerability specific to action movie heroes. The trail eventually leads to a drug dealer, appropriately known as “The Pharmacy” (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), who’s been supplying the strung-up young woman with heroin. But the real bad guy is Omar (Willis), a crime boss whose wife and young daughter were blown up in a car bomb planted by Paul years earlier in a deadly mistake that has Omar thirsting for revenge. Along the way Paul also enlists the services of a former cohort (Cusack) who demonstrates that he too has lost none of his violent mojo.

The screenplay by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore is strictly by the numbers, essentially repeating the same scene over and over in which Paul politely asks various unsavory characters for information, is rudely rebuffed, and then, to quote one of Willis’ more quality projects, gets medieval on their asses. Wit is in short supply, but director Miller at least keeps things moving briskly throughout the relatively brief running time.

Patric brings his trademark intensity to his role, Cusack provides his usual sly presence, and Willis, whose shooting schedule reportedly consisted of a mere five days, picks up a paycheck. The latter’s henchman is played by Jung Ji-Hoon, aka Korean pop star Rain, whose presence at least guarantees decent box-office totals in Asian markets.  

As with so many B-movies these days, the film was shot partially in New Orleans, which never fails to provide the requisite exotic atmosphere.

Production: Grindstone Entertainment Group, Emmet Furla Oasis Films, Aperture Entertainment

Cast: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, John Cusack, Jung Ji-Hoon, Jessica Lowndes, Jonathan Schaech, Gia Mantegna, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

Director: Brian A. Miller

Screenwriters: Andre Fabrizio, Jeremy Passmore

Producers: Randall Emmett, George Furla, Samuel Y. Ha, Huh Soo Young, Adam Goldworm

Executive producers: Barry Brooker, Stan Wertlieb, Lee Jea-Woo, Choi Pyung-Ho, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Fred Song, Ho-Sung Pak, Anthony Jabre, Montgomery Blencowe, Michael Blencowe, Brandt Anderson, Mark Stewart, Jeff Rice, Elisa Salinas, Vance Owe4n, Brett Granstaff, Ted Fox

Director of photography: Yaron Levy

Editor: Rick Shaine

Production designer: Nate Jones

Costume designer: Camille Jumelle

Composers: The Newton Brothers

Rated R, 91 minutes