Run Time: 94 Mins
What To Expect: Another failed VOD attempt to rip off early Quentin Tarantino and Guy Richie
When was the last time Bruce Willis made a good film? Every Bruce Willis film that I’ve seen in the past five years has either been disappointing or a downright odious chore. Looking at his IMDb resume, the turd list only stops (for me) five years back with The Expendables 2. Since then it has been a string of VODmit and I don’t know what’s worse, that an actor with untold riches would continue on this track or that I’d continue watching.
This one at least had a decent trailer. I mean it had a tried and tested formula for manly movies; an aggrieved man resorting to enraged violence after someone has done wrong by his dog. Worked in John Wick, worked in Death Hunt (Bronson). And since it was Bruce Willis, featuring alongside John Goodman and Jason Momoa, I’d quietly hoped that Once Upon A Time In Venice would be a rare item; a watchable modern Willis movie — after all — why did Goodman and Momoa sign on?
Well the reason why those men signed on is clear… shy workload. They pop in and out of the movie for their glorified extended cameos now and again to facilitate the convoluted, ambitious mess of a plot. Willis is a private detective, who cares about little but his white mongrel. But various debts mean that the dog is pilfered, raising the ire of Willis, who wants to get the dog back, through a tangled web of debts and double-debts. Remember the cardinal rule: most VOD movies that try to hot-shot their way to a brilliant, witty story, usually end up being hot-shit. There’s a reason no big studio bought this script.
Instead they’re able to market the big names for the trailer and DVD cover and make a buck back on their investment. Although at least this time Willis is in the movie quite a bit, but some Z-lister is his ‘partner’ to offload some of the work. But you know, one other thing… now and again this movie has some laughs. The best scenes are shared between Willis and his dog, and a few violent outbursts from the sour bald one. But they’re few and far between and not worth this costly hour and a half.
A lot depends… do you really want to see a less than energetic Willis get kidnapped by a transvestite and narrowly avoid rape? During this incident, the damn dog doesn’t even assist its master!