American Siege digs under the minimal standard for action movies

Bruce Willis portraying Ben Watts on the set of American Seige, before talking with local Businessman Charles Rutledge

Promotional material courtesy of Bondlt LLC.

Bruce Willis portraying Ben Watts on the set of American Seige, before talking with local Businessman Charles Rutledge

Featuring an insipid plot, atrocious acting, and an overpowering soundtrack, American Siege, released Jan. 7, 2022, showcases that minimal effort and violence are all that is needed to captivate a modern audience. Directed by Edward Drake, American Siege follows the journey of trigger-happy sister Grace Baker (Anna Hindman), concerned lover Roy (Rob Gough), psychotic-but-caring brother Toby Baker (Johann Urb), and deadbeat sheriff Ben Watts (Bruce Willis) as they try to discern the details of the cabalistic disappearance of their loved one, Brigit Baker (Sarah May Sommers).

The film dives into the convoluted inner workings of a small town in Georgia which, controlled by drug dealer Charles Rutledge (Timothy V. Murphy), goes through a series of inexplicable disappearances. Ex-convict Roy and his accomplices investigate the disappearances and dive down a road of murder and illegitimate business. In an attempt to uncover the mystery behind Brigit’s death, the trio holds John Keats (Cullen Chambers), a local pharmacist and the last person to see Brigit, hostage. Taking a generic evil versus moral standpoint, the viewer can assume the entirety of the plot just after watching the trailer. 

With an already lacking plot, the film haphazardly switches from the past to the present with little to no explanation. Most flashbacks would transition the scope of the film to ten years prior, however it takes three unorganized visits to the past before this information is discerned. The film exhibited constipated facial expressions and an awkwardly long pause before every reflection. 

Along with the flashbacks, the film rarely switches its location. Almost the entire film takes place in Keats’ bland home office, resemblant of a stock photo. Even when the location changes for a brief second to what is supposedly another room of Keats’ house, it is obvious that the new location isn’t part of the house at all. With a ten million dollar budget, the filming locations could have enhanced the movie, but instead, dragged it down.

Featuring overly gesticulated acting, the film was comparable to an elementary school play. Hindman used an obviously fake southern accent throughout the film, barked out lines, and left subtlety behind. Gough’s portrayal of emotion was almost entirely skewed, at sorrowful moments in the film he looked confused. He enunciated random statements as if he was trying to make basic dialogue profound. 

The best actor in the film was Bruce Willis, based solely upon the fact that he didn’t use an overtly fake accent. Being the most notable figure in the film, it was surprising to see Willis take the role of deadbeat county sheriff. Making up a majority of the trailer, he appeared in a surprisingly low number of scenes in the film. While it was a fitting role for Willis, his talents could have been utilized effectively in a more prominent role. 

Ben Watts (Bruce Willis) stands up against prolific drug dealer Charles Rutledge in a tense altercation where four citizens’ lives are on the line. (Promotional material courtesy of Bondlt LLC.)

Blaring over the other abhorrent aspects of the film was an overpowering, monotonous string of music comparable to YouTube copyright-free music. Rather than letting the viewer create their own feelings surrounding scenes, the soundtrack droned out all thought with up-beat, high-tempo action pieces. The music seemed randomly placed, in some scenes portraying a different emotion than the action in the scenes. 

Sadly this is not the first movie of its kind. A new genre has appeared in the last few decades in which action movies (Taxi, Cold Blood, or Left Behind) feature minimal character development, and major plot holes as if the entire film’s budget went into fight scenes. Even with marginal plots, the films generate massive amounts of revenue, and more films are produced to fit the lacking model. When people think of America, many envision a bald eagle, the star-spangled flag, and guns: a loose stereotype that fits these movies impeccably. Whether it be that people are looking for “fluff” movies, or we are regressing as a society, it is sad to witness this genre growing in popularity. 

Overall, this movie proved to be a waste of seven bucks and took an hour and thirty minutes out of its viewers’ lives that they will never get back. Feeling underwhelmed, I award American Siege 1 out of 5 feathers.