I can’t say I went into the new Bruce Willis film American Siege with much expectation of it being a good film. Director/co-writer Edward Drake had previously been involved with three of the star’s worst films, Apex, Breach and Cosmic Sin. Corey Large was his co-writer on all of them as well as American Siege. Add in the fact it was shot in eight days, with Willis on set for one of them, November 7, 2020, to be precise, and it looked like a perfect storm of suckage.
American Siege actually begins with what looks like a highlight reel of its action scenes, played in reverse which looks stupid but does tell us the plot has something to do with somebody’s murdered sister. Then the story starts with Roy (Rob Gough, Mom and Dad, Speed Kills) getting out of prison.
He’s met by Grace Baker (Anna Hindman, Yes) and they start arguing before picking up her brother Toby (Johann Urb, The Deep Ones, Resident Evil: Retribution) and it becomes a three-way argument. All the bickering does clue us in that Kane was the missing girl’s boyfriend, the other two were her siblings. And they have revenge in mind. That involves taking Dr. Keats (Cullen G. Chambers, Pulp Fiction, Student Bodies) hostage.
Enter Sheriff Ben Watts (Bruce Willis, Out of Death, Survive the Night) and a long, slow, time-killing drive through the Georgia town he’s paid to protect. His deputy Kyle ( Trevor, son of Wayne, Gretsky) is an idiot who leaves his gun behind when he stops for donuts and whose daddy Charles (Timothy V. Murphy, Hell Hath No Fury, Broil) is the mayor. Watts’ other deputy, Marissa (Janet Jones Gretsky, Trevor’s mommy) is, of course, his girlfriend.
I do give Drake and Large credit for setting up this pile of cliches in record time. Then they throw a slight twist into things. Watts is ordered to handle the situation, leaving only Dr. Keats alive, before the feds show up. The kidnappers demand he find out what happened to the missing girl, or they’ll kill Keats. He’s got thirty minutes.
American Siege wants to be a tale of the corruption that hides just out of sight in these small, seemingly peaceful towns. But it’s all been done a million times before and done much better. Its idea of innovation is making Toby a conspiracy freak ranting on about lizard people, Satanic sex cults and his Constitutional right to commit violence in the name of justice. If you guessed that these three turn out to actually be the good guys, or the least awful guys, then give yourself a pat on the back.
Finally, after endless talky scenes, Silas (Johnny Messner, American Violence, The Perfect Weapon) and his gang show up to do what Watts hasn’t. And then we get more talk that pretty much confirms every character in American Siege is a lowlife of one sort or another.
At one point Willis’s character is asked “Can you at least try to pretend like you give a shit?” That could not only apply to his performance, but to everyone involved with American Siege. It’s not awful on the level of Cosmic Sin or Apex I will say that for it. But it is a dull, talky, by the numbers film that fails as a basic thriller. And with only two short bursts of action, it fails as a DTV shoot ’em up as well.
Speaking of Willis, given he was on set for one day he’s obviously not on screen much. And he spends most of that time looking like he overdosed on Xanax. I could be charitable and say he was still jet-lagged from flying cross country, but by now we all know better.
Vertical Entertainment. will release American Siege in a limited US theatrical run and on VOD on January 7th, 2022. You can check their Facebook page for more information.