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Out of Death film review

Directed by: #MikeBurns

Written by: #BillLawrence


Quite what Bruce Willis is doing in Out of Death, a low-budget, low-quality action film named by the first result from is anyone’s guess. The cheap production suggests he sure wasn’t getting paid much. And his lethargic performance says this was no passion project. However it came about, the filmmaker’s gamble that the A-lister’s presence would mean they could churn out whatever lazy plot they liked and would still profit backfired – even prime Bruce wasn’t saving this one.

Whilst hiking in the woods, Shannon (Jaime King) stumbles upon drug deal gone wrong. Corrupt police officers Billie Jean (Lana Kent) and Tom (Tyler Jon Olsen) pursue her through the woodland, but the three of them are confronted by retired officer Jack Harris (Willis), himself conveniently hiking right where their confrontation occurs. Jack and Shannon escape, and must work together to escape their pursuers.

Out of Death is a bargain-bin action-pursuit film that features terrible editing, dialogue, performances, and barely a semblance of a coherent story. The film totally botches the execution of what should be a relatively simple premise with plot holes as empty as Bruce Willis’ expression, and relies heavily on characters making nonsensical decisions, or conveniently appearing in the right place at the right time in order to progress its paper-thin story. Viewers can overlook the outlandishness of a police force so corrupt that they’ve probably received a PPE contract from Matt Hancock. But inconsistencies like the constant teleporting of characters around what must be the smallest woods in the United States is harder to stomach. Similarly, the film’s depiction of how torniquets work is actually laughable, and made even worse by a character shaking off a STAB WOUND TO THE CHEST moments later.

The dialogue is bland, first-draft action dirge, that sounds suspiciously like an amateur screenwriter’s best guess of how criminals and cops talk. Harrison Ford’s quip to George Lucas that “you can write this ****, but you can’t say it!” comes to mind – and the scenery-chewing delivery of the cast is not enough to give authenticity to the script.

The majority of the cast themselves ham it up to try and salvage something from their blank page caricature roles, but unfortunately Bruce Willis could not be phoning it in anymore even if he was working in a taxi office - coming across as bored at best, embarrassed to be there at worst. The man sounds like he’s barely read the script (let’s be honest, he probably didn’t), and refused to even contemplate multiple takes. Given the entire film is marketed off of his presence, it’s disappointing that someone so accomplished falls short of the low bar a cheap action film would set for him.

Much of this can be explained by Willis’ time on set being reduced to a single day due to COVID restrictions. Given this, there is some respectability to how much director Mike Burns managed to squeeze from him given what is clearly a difficult production. This is no ‘dead in the first 5 minutes’ cameo so often seen from big stars in low budget movies, and some credit should be awarded for taking time to build up a modicum of character in slower, more personal scenes. It’s not enough to save the film, but it’s at least an appreciation of what makes good action work.

Lots of running around but not a lot of quality, Out of Death is a turgid and boring action film that is dogged by plot-holes and cringeworthy dialogue. Willis could have given the film some credibility, but delivers an all-time bad recital that banks on his reputation alone being enough. A disappointment.

Coming to Digital Download from 2nd August & DVD from October 4th



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