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preciouscargo.jpgPRECIOUS CARGO (USA 2016) **
Directed by Max Adams

Starring: Bruce Willis, Claire Forlani, Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Review by Gilbert Seah

There are a few reasons to go see this action flick, one of them being to learn how an action film can end up so odd. Another is the many references to James Bond, whether intentional or unintentional.

The film begins, actually quite well. In the starting segment, the hero Jack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is shot twice by blanks. The first time he falls to the ground, the pounding music quietens to silence. When Jack rises to his feet again to face his shooter, the music quickly resumes to the initial pounding before he is shot again, falling to the ground with the music quietening again. This little quirk is the film’s best part – and nothing else can match it.

The James Bond references are also pretty funny and weird which breaks the otherwise monotony of the film. Every Bond film begins with an unassociated plot action piece which is the most spectacular stunts sequence in the Bond film. The same goes in PRECIOUS CARGO. The opening credits with the diamonds and dancing figures also remind one of a Bond film. The hero is also surrounded by rival ladies and there are three in this film. But funniest is the villain’s right hand man (Daniel Bernhardt), one that never dies that has an uncanny resemblance to a solid and fitter Sean Connery in his youthful days. The actor is much sexier than Gosselaar which might be the reason he is never killed off. He also has the best dialogue in the film – especially the monologue telling off his boss’s bitches.

It is all these interesting little quirks that appear out of the blue that lifts the film out of boredom. But these are insufficient to lift the film above the average action flick. The plot (the lines and many incidents are predictable), the boat chase (there is conveniently a spare boat and two jet skis for the villains to chase Jack and crew who escape on one) and James Bond copied action fights are examples of cliched material. The film cannot be taken seriously nor is it funny enough to be classified as a spoof.

Jack and crew are professional crooks. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Karen (Claire Forlani) runs foul of her crime boss lover Eddie (Bruce Willis) and wants to pull a $30 million dollar diamond heist. This will allow her to pay off Eddie and also allow Jack to retire.

Funny that the heist is so simply executed with no glitches but Jack running foul of Eddie and his gang becomes more of the problem.

Like Bond, Jack is a ladies’ man. Having three ladies after his chops would be something that would annoy the female audience in this day and age. The first is Karen. The other is Jack’s new vet girlfriend (Lydia Hull) and the third is a markswoman member of his crew, Logan (Jenna B. Kelly).

PRECIOUS CARGO originated as the prize winning student short film that Max Adams made. This is the expanded full length feature version.

The film ends with the end credits rolling over behind the scenes bloopers, which like most are inside jokes for the actors and crew and are less funny to the audience. But funniest is the caption of the film being dedicated to Grace. Grace is the dog Jack takes to the vet in a segment of the movie.

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