Out of Death review – Bruce Willis trudges through generic wilderness thriller

Bruce Willis is trudging pretty wearily through the motions in this straight-to-digital-oblivion crime thriller, one of those strange films that actually begins with a sort of quasi-trailer, mood-montage of the film’s most exciting bits before the opening credits, featuring characters as yet unexplained. The film squanders one or two promising plot ideas, and winds up making a hamfisted paean of praise to the idea of “open carry” gun ownership.

Willis plays retired Philadelphia cop Jack Harris, who has just lost his wife to cancer, and gone to a remote mountain cabin owned by his niece Pam (Kelly Grayson), to get over his loss. While walking thoughtfully in the surrounding woodland, Jack chances across a terrifying situation: corrupt cop Billie Jean (Lala Kent) is about to execute a hiker, Shannon (Jaime King), because Shannon had witnessed her doing secret drug deals in this secluded forest. Jack pulls his own trusty weapon and just about gets Shannon away; but from there on in, they are having to escape a network of violent, crooked police and their sinister boss, who is running for mayor; this is Hank (Michael Sirow), who has jet black hair and a neatly trimmed beard, like some sort of Vegas magician.

There are some interesting touches at the very beginning, sketching out the pure black comic nightmare of the tainted police officers having to clear up their bizarre, violent mess. This scenario, and the film’s conceit of splitting up the plot into chapter-headings, made me wonder if first-time screenwriter Bill Lawrence and music supervisor turned director Mike Burns originally had some hipper, more Tarantinoesque movie in mind. Well, that’s not what they’ve wound up with. It’s something very much more generic and pretty feeble.

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