Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Trauma Center

My notes on Trauma Center

In his dozenth or so top-billing-for-minimal-effort direct-to-VOD (I mistyped VOID, but that’s pretty apt) action picture, Bruce Willis here gets out of the hotel room he usually stays in for these things (Reprisal, 10 Minutes Gone, First Kill) and pokes around a few Puerto Rico location crime scenes as an utterly generic tough cop character.

The weight of the film falls, however, on Nicky Whelan as Madison, a blonde waitress (with a traceable bullet in her leg) who gets menaced in a suspiciously empty hospital by a pair of corrupt cops (Texas Battle, Tito Ortiz).  They need that bullet out of her so they can get away with some shenanigans Bruce’s character will be very annoyed about.  She staggers around green corridors, crawls through ventilation ducts, spends five minutes opening a door with a handy tool, and fights back in the approved action heroine fashion – though she gives a customer cherry pie when he asked for apple, so perhaps her talents don’t lie in the services industry.  Yes, it’s a blend of Die Hard (Willis was in that) and Halloween II (Whelan was in Rob Zombie’s remake of that) with a thrown-in asthmatic sulky little sister (Lala Kent) who gets held hostage.  Two hulking (and profoundly uninteresting) thugs with supposed bad guy skills are unable to murder a limping, sedated waitress for well over an hour – then Detective Wakes (Willis) shows up for some clumsy fight scenes.

Weirdly, Steve Guttenberg doesn’t even get ‘and with’ billing for his two-scene bit as a doctor who could have been played by anyone – when some important plot information has to be handed out, another doctor appears to deliver it as if Steve’s lines were reassigned mid-shoot.  If you were making a nothing cat-and-mouse thriller and had Steve Guttenberg on set, wouldn’t you put in a scene where he blunders into the action and is killed to show the villains are serious and give him something worthwhile to play?  Director Matt Eskandari (The Gauntlet/Game of Assassins) and writer Paul Da Silva wouldn’t and don’t.  Since this wrapped, Eskandari has shot two more films with Bruce Willis (Survive the Night and Open Source).



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