Sadly, not all movies shot in Cincinnati are hailed as artistic triumphs. While Rain Man, Carol, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and the upcoming The Old Man and the Gun all have won praise, there also are John Travolta's critically-whacked Gotti and now, Bruce Willis' revenge thriller Reprisal.
It's the story of a bank manager (Frank Grillo) and his ex-cop neighbor (Bruce Willis) trying to track down the bank robber who killed one of Grillo's guards. Complications ensue when the robber learns they're looking for him
Opening this weekend nationally, it's been getting some brutal reviews. Metacritic has so far awarded it a score of 19 (out of 100), based on eight negative and one mixed review from nine critics. (Things could change with more reviews.)
Hollywood Reporter opened its review with this paragraph: "If Bruce Willis isn't careful, he may soon be hit by a class-action lawsuit. The legal action will be started by disgruntled moviegoers paying good money in theaters and through VOD to see his latest vehicle, only to be chagrined when they discover the Die Hard star going through the motions. That is, when Willis shows up at all, since despite his star billing the actor's appearances are often little more than gloried cameos."
Variety points out that "Reprisal begins with a robbery at the bank managed by Jacob (Grillo), whose devotion to his wife (Olivia Culpo) and young diabetic daughter (Natalie Sophie Butler) is emphasized with all the subtlety of someone dropping a bowling ball out of a fourth-floor window by his insistence on preparing a week’s worth of lunch for the pair."
One very thoughtful review from Slant magazine finds deep meaning in the way its writer, Pat Brown, believes the film is at least as interested in its villain (Johnathon Schaech) as its heroes:
"A nugget of interest the viewer might take away from this cheap-looking, roughly assembled film is the way that it betrays its own barely repressed desires. Reprisal is much more interested in Schaech's special-forces-trained killer than it is in its heroes. The film depicts with admiring detail the man's weapons, outfits, headquarters, and training methods. The extended credit sequence, in which Gabriel suits up for the bank heist, brings to mind Joel Schumacher's fetishistic attention to Batman suiting up at the start of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, but without the playfulness or irony. Reprisal is at pains to profess its faith in the symbols of law and order, but it cannot fully repress its almost erotic longing for the unfettered violence of the terrorist."
Oh well, at least there's a beautiful shot of the Cincinnati skyline in the embedded trailer's opening shot. See above.