Once Upon A Time In Venice is no Die Hard, pass on it

[L-R] Bruce Willis as Steve and John Goodman as Dave in the action comedy “ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE” an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of RLJ Entertainment.

Despite having an all-star talented cast, Once Upon A Time In Venice doesn’t live up to the action comedies that preceded it despite a talented cast.

Directed by Mark Cullen from a script co-written with his brother, Rob Cullen, the film stars Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Thomas Middleditch, Famke Janssen, Stephanie Sigman, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn, Christopher McDonald, and Wood Harris.

Bruce Willis may be an action star but even his name alone would not be enough to launch this film with a wide release.  Had it got a wide release, I don’t even know how well it would do.  Willis re-teams with the the Cullen brothers, who wrote 2010’s Cop Out, but something is missing in this flick that’s being billed as an action-comedy: comedy.  I don’t know what Willis was thinking when he signed on for this film.  But then again, Cop Out underperformed in 2010, too.

Willis stars as Venice Beach P.I. Steve Ford.  After his dog is stolen, Ford aligns himself with Spyder (Mamoa), a thug leader.  In order to get his dog, Buddy, back, Ford teams up with his best friend, Dave (Goodman), to help Spyder with finding stolen cash and cocaine.  Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) co-stars as a protege of Ford.

If you want an action comedy, you’re better of watching The Other Guys again.  Anything other than this.  If Once Upon A Time In Venice were a better film, it would be different.  Surprisingly enough, Willis has done a number of direct-to-video projects over the past few years, which is really surprising for the action star.

RLJ Entertainment will distribute on June 16, 2017 in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD platforms.  In the Chicago area, the film will play at AMC Lowes Woodrige 18.


Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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