The Prince Blu-ray Review
My friend Marty used to love “Baywatch.” He’d watch it religiously. One night I watched an episode with him where David Hasselhoff’s character is investigating the disappearance of a man and finds him tied up on a boat surrounded by explosives. “What in the hell is he going to do,” I asked. “He’s a lifeguard!” As if on cue, the Hoff remarks, “I haven’t seen this much C-4 since I was a Navy Seal.” “See,” Marty exclaimed, “he used to be a Navy Seal!” This conversation came to mind as I watched the straight-to-home-video film THE PRINCE.
Over a montage of newspaper headlines decrying the crime rate in New Orleans we see Omar (Willis) walking his wife and daughter out for the little one’s first day of school. A little special time with the youngster, a quick snapshot to remember the day, and mom and daughter get in the car. In slow motion. I look at my wife and say “BOOM!” Guess what? 20 years later we meet Paul (Patric), a mechanic with a young daughter (Gia Mantegna) in college. When he can’t get in touch with her he travels to her college town to find her only to discover she’s run off/been kidnapped/who really knows what with the town drug dealer. Paul tries to find the man in question and is set upon by some goons. After a brief pause he kicks the crap out of them. Mechanic,eh? I screamed at my wife, “Navy Seal!!”
What a terrible film! It’s obvious Bruce Willis wanted to spend some time in Alabama (where the film was shot) and traded a few days work (he’s really on screen a limited time) for an all-expenses paid trip. Jason Patric is ok as a grade-B action star but he’s really the only fully drawn character here. Mantegna really has nothing to do but look stoned and cry. Perhaps her dad, the great Joe Mantegna, can channel Joey Zaza from THE GODFATHER PART III and send the script for this film to sleep with the fishes. I never enjoy films that I’m always a step ahead of and sometimes I felt like I lapped this baby. When the plot stalls you get to pay attention at the lessons the writers learned in “Movie Writing 101.” Snarky Asian assistant? Check. The most conspicuous car to steal gets stolen? Check. (how come nobody ever steals the family station wagon – it’s always the newly restored 67 Camaro that gets taken). Horrible performance by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson? Check. Director Miller has worked both with Fitty and Jason Patric before and apparently they come cheap. The actor I felt most sorry for was John Cusack who, like Willis, isn’t in the film a lot. Not because he was appearing in this straight-to-home-video movie but that before the film were trailers for no less than two more straight-to-home-video films that he was starring in. And while the action is plenty, I couldn’t help but notice that in a drawn-out shootout on a floor level surrounded by glass panes not one was broken. I’m guessing the producers were told “you can have the place cheap…just don’t break anything!”
Video: Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, the transfer is sharp and clean. Colors are bright and stand out, even in the poorly lit bars that people in these kind of movies tend to congregate.
Audio: Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the sound is clear and sharp though, when things aren’t blowing up or going “boom” it tends to maintain a soft volume.
Commentary with Director Brian A. Miller and Actor Jason Patric: a very standard and not enlightening commentary.
Capturing The Prince: Behind the Scenes (9:58): Also very pedestrian.
Extended Scenes (10:28): nothing I missed…I could easily suggest more
Interview with Cast and Crew (14:12): Everyone apparently loved the script. Unless they were talking about another one that they read.