A muddling action film that doesn’t quite know what it is trying to be. There are glimpses of a good film living underneath Out of Death, but with such a terrible script, the only saving grace the film has is the strong turn by Jamie King, give her a big action flick pronto as she carries this movie.
Still grieving her father’s untimely death, photojournalist Shannon Mathers (Jamie King) spreads his ashes in the woods when she witnesses a cop (Lala Kent) shooting and killing an unarmed henchman during a drug deal. She captures the whole scene on her camera before being discovered. Distracted by the violent noise of the attack, Jack Harris (Bruce Willis), a newly retired police officer, saves Shannon. But, not sure of whom she can trust, as more dirty cops arrive to help hunt her down, including the brutal town sheriff Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow), she decides to rely on Jack, her only real chance to fight back the corrupt police and bring it to justice.
There is a moment early on in Out of Death with a bullet that you will honestly not know whether to laugh or cry at the terribleness of it. Though, to be fair, it gives you a pretty quick idea of what to expect from the rest of the feature. Similarly, when Shannon escapes, Billy takes what must have been a 20-minute phone call and then jaunts casually after our photojournalist. Yet, the officer is still able to find her all too quickly, now Shannon may be a tad useless at navigating through a wooded area, but you would like to assume with a big head start and the fact she was running, that she wouldn’t get caught within a couple of hours.
The attempted comedy spread through the film never really lands, be it the hokey score playing as the police go about their business or the jokes between characters. It just struggles, and with the events later on in the film, it feels grossly misplaced. But, God helps Jamie King as she is trying as the terrified yet resourceful Shannon in this very physical role. She is running and crawling everywhere and keeps the film together. She is doing everything in her power, and with a bit of luck, she should earn a decent action flick from it as she certainly has the chops for such a role if there is anything to go by here.
Willis at times seems like he is trying and is emoting well enough, but then suddenly, his dialogue will just come out as wooden as can be. You almost assume they are ADR lines as they feel disjointed from what he was giving on set. The supporting cast of bad guys do alright except for when they are playing dead, and you can see them still breathing away… Always a tad awkward when they forget to hold their breath. But that is a digression, this isn’t a big blockbuster after all, and little things like that can be forgiven.
Lala Kent is pretty good in her role, but she is a bit of a puzzle again, like Out of Death itself. She can kill a drug dealer running away from her with the greatest of ease, yet when it comes to killing Shannon, she can’t and brings up her child and how she wants out… Well, it just confuses the audience as we saw her pretty smoothly and with little remorse kill someone, so why all of a sudden does she have a conscience? This is the same for Tommy (Tyler Jon Olsen) at times, the film tries to make you feel for him, and at other times he is just horrible. Writer Bill Lawrence was just not able to pick a lane with these characters.
There is enough of a plot to make a decent action thriller from Out of Death. It just so happens that some atrocious dialogue decisions utterly ruin the plot. At one point, Hank tells his brother that he had to get his hands a little dirty to get the role of sheriff and possible future mayor… This is where the audience needs to be reminded that this is a small-town sheriff with a staff of at most six or seven, saying how difficult and dodgy it was for him to rise to the ranks of power. Just a tad difficult to believe that one, folks.
Moments occasionally hit home very well, with a characters death being almost traumatic in how it finishes. It is just a shame that the conversations before and after it take you out of proceedings. Also, why does our lead talks in her head to her father’s picture instead of just saying the words fail you? For some reason, not a sinner in this police department can act like a normal human as they are all suspicious from the first second you see them. As the finale approaches, we have a decent tense situation which again is wasted.
A definite case of what could have been for Out of Death, and as mentioned, this is worth it for Jamie King alone, but not much more than that sadly – a harmless but forgettable watch.
Out Of Death will be available on Digital Download from 2nd August (pre-order here) & DVD from 4th October.
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