VOD film review: Precious Cargo
Rest of the cast6.5
Matthew Turner | On 14, Jul 2016
Director: Max Adams
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mark Paul Gosselaar, John Brotherton
Watch Precious Cargo online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Don’t be fooled by Bruce Willis’ top billing on this getting-a-perfunctory-theatrical-release-but-otherwise-going-straight-to-VOD action thriller – he’s on screen for maybe 10 minutes in total and he puts in the least amount of effort imaginable. However, despite its obvious cheapness, the rest of Precious Cargo is surprisingly entertaining, thanks to likeable characters, above-average dialogue and some pleasingly explosive action sequences.
Former Saved By The Bell star Mark Paul Gosselaar plays Jack, a sort of edge-of-the-law criminal who only robs other criminals, accompanied by his sharp-shooting sidekick Logan (Jenna Kelly) and loyal driver-slash-gunman Andrew (Nick Loeb). During a romantic evening in with his sweet-natured, oblivious-to-his-real-job vet girlfriend (Lydia Hull), Jack is rudely interrupted by the sudden arrival of his pregnant ex, Karen (Claire Forlani – remember Claire Forlani?), closely followed by a squad of heavily armed goons intent on filling her full of holes.
After escaping the gunmen, Karen explains that she’s heavily in debt to gangster Eddie (Bruce Willis), after a heist went wrong, and that she needs his help to pull off an armoured car robbery to pay what she owes. Promised his cut of a multi-million-dollar diamond haul, Jack reluctantly agrees and ropes in his team for the job, but can Karen really be trusted?
It’s frustrating that Willis puts in the bare minimum of effort (although he does at least give his trademarked smirk a good work-out), because the part is a golden opportunity to really cut loose with some quality villainy and you can’t help thinking that any other actor would have done a better job of it. Instead, an almost insultingly lazy Willis just stands there and delivers his lines like he’s reading them off an off-camera board. Poor show, Willis.
Fortunately, Gosselaar has action movie charisma to burn, pulling off both the necessary physical stuff (running, shooting, punching) and some snappy line delivery. Forlani is equally good value, sparking strong chemistry with Gosselaar and generally putting the effort in, in exactly the way that Willis doesn’t. (There’s also an added nostalgia value if you happen to be a fan of Forlani’s 90s work).
On top of that, the supporting cast are surprisingly likeable for this sort of thing (particularly Kelly’s Logan, but also Daniel Bernhardt as Eddie’s sardonic chief henchman, Simon) and the generous script affords each of them a measure of personality that lifts each individual scene. The dialogue is decidedly above-average, with several amusing one-liners, even if the plot itself is entirely predictable throughout.
Happily, director Max Adams knows his way around an action sequence, staging a number of exciting gunfights and pulling off a great speedboat chase that’s a model of effective shooting and editing. The fight sequences aren’t bad either, thanks to some decent choreography that actually makes it look like the characters are getting hurt.
As bargain basement, straight-to-VOD action-thrillers go, Precious Cargo is surprisingly good fun. It’s just a shame old couldn’t-be-bothered Willis lets the side down.
Precious Cargo is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.