Bruce Willis’ films now border on fan abuse

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Apex”Is the latest proof that Bruce Willis has not only stopped worrying about what’s in front of the camera, but also anyone who’s unlucky enough to sit through something.

The thriller marks the fifth film with Willis, which came out this year, with two more to come.

Rewind the clock a decade back and tell a Willis fan that one day they see John McClane in seven movies in a year, and they think you’re describing the fantasy of a movie lover.

Little would they know how a nightmare that dream came true.

Between “Cosmic Sin”, “Out of Death”, “Midnight in the Switchgrass”, “Survive the Game”, and this weekend “Apex”, Willis has five features in 2021 for the production team of Randal Emmett and George Furla , to which he has in recent years begun to lend his talents.

While Emmett and Furla have also produced “The Irishman” and “Lone Survivor”, they are mostly known for B-movie content, which most people aim for while scrolling while looking for something to watch. They target the audience who are willing to waste a few dollars because an recognizable face like De Niro or Willis was photoshopped on the cover art, not knowing that the stars only spent a few days on set while they struck an exorbitant sum of money.

This VOD feature has almost become its own genre. The titles are often scrapped in a matter of weeks, then casually dropped on VOD platforms to get invested money back from the backs of its “stars”.

Many respected actors dabble in this quick paycheck, but Willis made it his bread and butter. His future projects suggest that will not change anytime soon.

Long gone are the days filled with projects like “Die Hard” and “Unbreakable”, works that have strengthened Willis not only as an action icon, but a leading man who is willing to be much more introspective than contemporaries like Schwarzenegger and Stallone.

“Apex” is the saddest reminder to date that the Willis audience can once again be gone forever. The feeling is exacerbated by the film’s need to constantly reference Willis’s older – and better – material (there is even a “wrong guy in the wrong place” line inserted).

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“Apex” tells the tried-and-true story of rich people who seek out poor people for kick until they run into someone who is able to pass on much-needed lessons in morality. The biggest issue here is that this “wrong guy in the wrong place” is not played by 1988 Willis or 1999 Willis or even 2010 Willis. Instead, we are treated to the 2021 model, which does not seem to give cameras more than a tilt of the head or an eye roll.

Willis reportedly offered each of these films just a few days to grab every shot they need from the leading man who looks heroic, amazed, or a version of Zoolander’s Blue Steel. This means that Willis often gets a role that is technically the lead, but plot comfort offers many opportunities to hide the star for a long time.

This allows pointless, hit-and-miss exchanges between supporting players – whose talents are often very diverse – to fill run times suitable for selling streaming services.

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If Willis can not be hidden by clever writing, he will be hidden by sloppy filmmaking. It has become a running joke how often you see his double or hear him ADR Linn clearly spoken by another.

It used to happen so often in the past, but as Willis makes more and more of these films, he cares less and less. In “Apex” they make no attempt to make you think that the back of a double head belongs to Willis. It’s just part of the process now.

The quality of “Apex”, however, is less interesting than the anomaly that Bruce Willis is today. A man who once pulled young filmmakers like M. Night Shyamalan out of the darkness and spoke anonymously to “Die Hard” fans in chat rooms has turned into a grouch. Willis can barely hide his general contempt for almost everything in the few interviews he is willing to suffer these days.

This downward spiral happened right before our eyes, with critics and fans noting that the lack of care seems to be Willis’s in his less-seen films, which were made between an “Expendables” Comeo here or a “Moonrise Kingdom” supporting tour there .

“To suggest that Bruce Willis’ phone call in his performance in ‘Cosmic Sin’ would be an insult to telephone communication, which could be an effective means of conveying important information and genuine emotions,” he said. Christy Lemire wrote in her RogerEbert.com review of this year “Cosmic Sin”.

The actor was described as “barely evoked presence“in The Hollywood Reporter’s rating of ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’, a movie that was released only a few months after ‘Sin’.

“Apex” may be on the higher end of quality as far as Willis’ “paycheck roles” go, but that really does not say much. It’s possibly more a result of the film’s call to a classic story that has been successfully dismantled for decades.

Co-veteran actor Neil McDonough plays the primary antagonist in “Apex,” and he finds some campiness in the project. Even so, he can only do so much. Willis usually just walks aimlessly around the forest, while other people explain to us how dangerous he really is.

It should come as no surprise that Willis’ barely there role does not quite sell the living survivors we are supposed to buy. When the last confrontation finally comes, it comes to an end with the kind of siblings who played a good part in Willis’ last production.

With the amount, his double is also used,

It should come as no surprise to us that one day Willis would not even appear on the set, so producers would insert the face digitally into someone else’s body. This may sound ridiculous, but the actor has already licensed his face for commercials abroad.

It’s hard to guess how or why this happened to Willis. There’s nothing wrong with a man making a living, but seeing an artist who used to fight for his story, so choosing an easy path is … sad.

It’s not like Willis is missing out on a chance. Sure, he’s done his fair share of filmmaking enemies over the years, like “Clerks” Director Kevin Smith, but he was also a go-to muse for top directors like Shyamalan and Robert Rodriguez.

Either one could give Willis a real role or throw him a bill that pays the bills. That would be a lot more interesting than the set of four or five looks he offers the camera these days.

His past work with the two filmmakers – and others – should also be seen as crystal clear proof that Willis is aware of the “quality” of his recent output (“I’m better than good. I’m bacon and eggs on Sunday morning, “is an actual line in” Apex “, and it’s unfortunately one of the better ones).

Maybe it’s all an Andy Kaufman-like experiment. Willis never liked the press or celebrity status, and recent meetings with reporters suggest that a man almost “mocks” the idea of ​​a Hollywood industry.

Perhaps the actor has taken over his ultimate role as a movie “star” and satirized the industry and his own fans as a perverted way to both.

Or, he just stopped caring.

For all Bruce Willis sucker, ah, fans, the actor will be in “Deadlock” and “Fortress“next month. Trailers have been released, but if you saw a trailer for one of these flicks, you saw them all.

Zachary Leeman is the author of the novel “Nothing“and co-host of the”Man of science, man of faithpodcast. He covered politics and culture for Breitbart, LifeZette and others.