RKS Film: “Paradise City”: Sucking on the Teats of Past Glory

“Paradise City” reunites John Travolta and Bruce Willis 27 years after their performance in “Pulp Fiction”. Both Willis and Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” were out of their stereotypical roles and that film might have or could have reinvented both these actors.

Willis of late it has been revealed is suffering from Aphasia a cognitive disorder that causes him to drift away and forget his lines. So bad it has become casting of Willis apparently is in short appearances only. According to a recent L.A. Times article he has been firing guns off at the wrong time, forgetting his lines and not often realizing where he is. Despite the disclosure of his diagnosis, he is in top form in “Paradise City” however “managed” his appearance may be. That leads to a problem. The problem is that “tough guy” Willis ordinarily takes control of a film so it is his film. In “Paradise City” his appearance amounts to a cameo and that is not enough to carry the film out of its feebleness. Yes Travolta is plenty bad in an icy and eccentric type of way but Ying needs Yang and both Willis and Travolta are shortchanged by his cognitive issues. This is not his fault and just perhaps the producers and directors of the film should have realized that or was the film a “rent a name” ploy?

“Paradise City” is most likely a C movie to start relying on the Travolta and Willis name to create a draw. It may create a draw but it will most likely backfire for both Travolta and Willis. You can only milk a cow for so long.

Willis plays Ian Swan whom both the viewer and his son Ryan Swan believe has been knocked off. Ryan and Robbie Cole (Stephen Dorff) unite to find the killer of Ian Swan. Ryan goes to the morgue to identify his dad and his personal effects are certainly his but facial recognition is impossible as his head has been mangled by a shark the coroner surmises. We see poor Ian Swan getting blasted at the beginning of the film and he falls into the water blood all over the place. But none of the wounds look fatal to me! Get it?

Ian and his son Ryan and Cole are all bounty hunters and they act on commission being 10% of the bail and bad guy Bilford is the treasure they are hunting but all indications are that he is dead. His bail was $10,000,000.

Enough plot. Stephen Dorff almost carries the film with his gruff and somewhat seedy disposition. Totally hilarious, although I am sure not intended, are a bevy of lap dancers acting as stoolies for the Maui police! Even more unbelievable is the plastic surgery angle. And if you are looking for a Willis bang bang shoot em movie you’ll be disappointed as the film is bereft of a “Die Hard” blast em to pieces scenes. And Savannah (Praya Lundberg) the friendly Maui cop is overly busty at times. The aboriginals in the plot are very stiff and grandma leader is so bad she is almost comic.

This is a C grade movie despite the attempts of Travolta, Dorff, and Willis. The PR blurb I received called this an action-packed movie but without a more extensive role by Willis quite frankly it is a snore. And this is the second of a trilogy starring Willis as “Detective Knight Rose”. Out of respect for Willis I will be hiding under the covers for the third upcoming film.

As a last note a few years ago I saw a concert with “The Who” and it was atrocious as the Rolling Stones are now. With respect and deference Willis should pack it in like the tired rock n rollers being self-exploited for their past work. The PR material for the film mentions A list actor Willis and Travolta being brought together for “Paradise City” but fails to be honest and say “former A List actors’. “Paradise City” was released in Canada and on VOD on November 11th.

You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBBzvgBDgxE

RKS Film Rating 63/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: