Passable or just watchable enough might be the highest compliment for the Cincinnati, Ohio set action film, Reprisal.
Frank Grillo, of the Purge and Captain America franchises, stars as Jacob Tasker, a bank manager who lives an ordinary life with his beautiful wife Christina (Olivia Culpo) and daughter Sophia. His life changes when robber Gabriel (Jonathan Schaech) enters his bank one morning. Gabriel, suited in full tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle, murders an innocent security guard and roughly hits one of Jacob’s employees with the butt of his rifle. He then steals thousands of dollars from the bank’s secure vault, before escaping.
Traumatized by the entire incident, Jacob feels immense guilt for not doing enough to alert the police. With his mental state deteriorating, Jacob finds help and counselling from his neighbor, James Richardson (Bruce Willis), an ex-police officer. With James’ encouragement, Jacob starts investigating on his own to find out the identity of the robber and which targets or locations he might strike next.
Frank Grillo, while amiable and masculine, does not leave a strong impression. With his mixed martial arts training background, one would expect Grillo in some fight scenes or even a knife fight. Instead, there are a bunch of mundane shootouts that could have been done by any actor. As for Bruce Willis, he has an extended cameo where yet again he looks sour and despondent. However, Willis does get to fire off a few shotgun rounds towards the end of the film.
The saving grace for Reprisal could have been an imaginative action packed ending or intriguing plot twist. But sadly the picture ended predictably as it began.
When compared to 1990’s action luminaries like Gary Daniels or Jeff Wincott, Grillo again falls short. While many of Gary Daniels or Jeff Wincott’s films were hit or miss, they at least made an attempt to be entertaining. VHS action films had martial arts, explosions, pyrotechnics and sex. Genre films require these elements to be memorable and appealing. Defunct companies like PM Entertainment and Cannon Films understood this, Reprisal director Brian A. Miller and his producers at EFO (Emmett, Furla Oasis) films apparently do not. As a result, EFO films have steadily produced an assembly line of safe, sub-standard and frankly boring Video on Demand (VOD) releases.
Reprisal is not recommended for digital rental or purchase.
By: John Matrix