Tuesday 21 June 2022

REVIEW: White Elephant (2022) - Starring Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, Olga Kurylenko and John Malkovich

Review by Jon Donnis
Is this my 5th or 6th Bruce Willis film review this year? The last few times I was certain it would be the last ever new Bruce Willis release due to his recent health diagnosis, but here we are again.

This time we have something of a star-studded cast for White Elephant.

Michael Rooker (a regular in Bruce Willis films this year) plays Gabriel Tancredi, and he is the lead character in the film, as you know by now Bruce Willis in maybe his last 10 films has played more of a cameo type of role.

Tancredi is an enforcer for mob boss Arnold Solomon, (played by Bruce Willis), he has Carlos Garcia (Vadhir Derbez) deal with a rival of Solomon. As he blows him up, it just so happens that a couple of cops Vanessa Flynn (Olga Kurylenko) and Walter Koschek (Michael Rose) are tailing him and witness the explosion. Garcia escapes, but realising that the cops saw him, Solomon gives him 48 hours to take them out. Koschek is easy enough but Flynn quickly becomes a problem.

At this point you would think that the film would centre on Vanessa Flynn, a cop formerly in the military and suffering with PTSD from her deployment in Afghanistan, but instead it centres on Tancredi, as he takes care of another rival, and does the bidding of Solomon, eventually Tancredi's conscience catches up with him, mainly due to the death of his wife, he turns on Solomon and sort of partners with Flynn.

Throw in John Malkovich as dodgy lawyer for hire Glen Follett, who likes to quote ancient Greeks, (something I appreciated) and you have a decent cast, with a decent story, and pretty much 85 minutes of non stop action.

And I have to say that Bruce Willis, despite hardly being in the film, actually gets a pretty badass scene, when some rival bad guys try to take him out, but end up shooting his wife.

Overall though Rooker steals the show here, he gets the best lines, including some funny ones, he is the character you care most about, and even when he is still firmly on the bad side of things, you find yourself wanting him to succeed.

I rather enjoyed White Elephant, when I expected it to just be another low budget, straight to DVD type cash in, instead I thought it was well acted. The action scenes are all believable, and the lead character is one you will not only like but get behind, despite him starting out as a bad guy.

The Good
Great action scenes, strong performance by Michael Rooker, and good storytelling throughout.

The Bad
It is sad to see Bruce Willis at this point in his career, and reading interviews with the filmmakers, and knowing what Willis was going through, it makes me quite sad to see him.

Straightforward action film, that ticks all the boxes. Believable action scenes, fun one liners, and a strong cast.

I score White Elephant a solid 8/10

Out now in Cinemas and also streaming on AMC+