Bruce Willis was once an A-list actor in Hollywood. In recent years he’s been living in the straight-to-video section with a handful of films coming out yearly. Willis currently has 11 movies either in production, or in post for 2022. So, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down. If you’ve seen one of these recent Willis actioners, there is a good chance it was written and/or directed by Edward Drake. Drake’s last four films have starred Willis with more on the way, so it appears they’ve formed quite the VOD team.
“American Siege” is a small-town action romp starring Willis as an ex-NYPD officer-turned-sheriff who will have to deal with a small group of thieves who have taken a doctor hostage in his home. These criminals are searching for answers regarding a missing friend of theirs and this is what the film attempts to center on as its driving plot. It’s all a bit simplistic. Yet when going into a movie like this you should be expecting world class filmmaking. I went in with an open mind, however it didn’t help much in making this storyline, or its character interesting.
Willis does have a moderate amount of screen time, but it doesn’t elevate much as he shares lines with younger actors still learning their craft. The acting was spotty at times with moments of overacting and a terrible southern accent from Willis. But honestly, the material does not give them a ton to work with here. There are a couple spots of slightly intriguing storytelling on display, but there are also many moments that don’t land with the intended impact. It feels like a film built on borrowed elements with nothing of its own to solidify itself on, so it was difficult to devote my attention to it.
It has big guns, shoot-outs, hostage situations, and plenty of characters that look the part for a violent action thriller. Sadly though, none of it gels together into something compelling. The dialogue is often too on the nose. The story layers aren’t developed in an interesting way, and where this film should be able to thrive on a tension-filled pace. It’s too often boring, watered down, and predictable.
Plenty of B-movies have entertained despite their smaller budgets and cast limitations. With a little ambition there is still plenty of fun to be found in a smaller flick like this. But there is too much time spent with characters standing around, which is something that only undercuts the (race against time) scenario that the story spends 90-minutes attempting to craft. If you love Bruce Willis, go watch one of his classics, because unfortunately “American Siege” doesn’t deliver any of the intensity its title would suggest.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.
Justice is more of a concept than reality to folks in Southern Georgia. The laws of man and the laws of nature often dictate the path their lives go, because they see that what’s legal and what’s right aren’t always the same thing. So how did we get here? After filming in the small town of Fitzgerald, Georgia on a previous production, I was struck by how singular and striking the characters of the town are. Most are Mavericks with one foot in the past and one trying to kick down the door to the American Dream they were promised. The only thing standing in their way is the ablative thought-processes of those who run the towns we set the story in.
American Siege is built upon truth. Most of the story happened to different people in different ways, I just humbly sought to capture the essence of what it means to find justice in this part of the world. I wrote American Siege to show how our search for truth can bring more pain than living in a lie.
Working with Mr. Willis and his team again was a distinct pleasure. Bruce was so alive with ideas for the role of Sheriff Ben, a disgraced ex-NYPD beat cop now serving as a Sheriff in a small town. Bruce captured a modern energy to his performance, internalizing the conflict and allowing his eyes to express his pain at being caught between the mistakes of his past and his sympathy for the hostage takers. In another life, he would be one of them. American Siege is my favorite of our collaborations to date. I’m so grateful to Bruce for lending his talents to this deeply personal film.
Lead hostage-taker ‘Grace Baker’ is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written and hope to explore her story in other projects. Anna Hindman was my number one choice to bring Grace to life. Within five seconds of seeing her self-tape I knew she was the perfect soul to bring the character to life. One of the happiest moments of my career was calling Anna to let her know she got the part. It was a fight in the mud to make it happen, but so worth it. Within five-seconds of watching her self-tape I knew she was Grace Baker. Anna has an incredible career ahead of her and I’m so proud of her work on American Siege. Any production would be lucky to share her talents.
Rob Gough was an incredible collaborator and his ability to take direction was impressive. Rob had an idea of the character’s backstory and we created a true dichotomy between his character and the other hostage-takers. I’m so happy we had the chance to work together, he’s good people.
What can I say about Timothy V. Murphy that hasn’t already been said? Tim was my first choice for the role. He’s one of the best working actors today. When Tim sets foot on set, everyone sits up a little straighter. Thank you, Tim, for all the years of support.
Johann Urb became the big brother of the set. He took younger actors under his wing and lead by example. His commitment to his character, to capturing the humor of Toby, was the anchor for the familiar dynamic of the hostage-takers.
Producer Corey Large had no idea what I was talking about when I pitched the concept to him. But the second I told him where it was set? He was in. We hoped to make the town of Fitzgerald a character in the story. The town has eons of history that hang over those that still call it home, and it was about time someone told their story. Corey was a great collaborator and I’m grateful for his support over the years.
None of this would have been possible without our stellar cast and crew. Director of Photography Laffrey Witbrod, 2nd Unit Director Elliott Montello, our badass AC’s Tyler, Austin, and Heather. Stunt Coordinator and friend Robert Laenan (check out his starring role in GOOD THIEF, the man is a movie star).
American Siege was shot in eight days during the height of COVID. I’m proud to say our A.D. team and COVID officers protected the cast and crew, we didn’t have a single positive case on set or off.
Thank you for taking the time to watch American Siege, I greatly appreciate your support.
Life is good!