A movie like Deadlock is a sad reminder of Bruce Willis’ career as well a painful display of the aphasia that is afflicting him. I first heard of this movie about 14 months ago when I saw a posting on Instagram by one of its cast members, Kelly Lynn Reiter, who was so happy to post her scenes with Willis.
Then, I found out they were filming the movie, then under the title Reactor, in Cordele, Ga., near where I used to work and live in neighboring Americus. We talked a little and I told her about how Cordele is the “Watermelon Capital of the World.” Reiter has the supporting but crucial role of Amy Rakestraw, which with a character name she should be more prominent. But Reiter’s characters spends a good portion of the first half appearing in the background and reacting like other extras.
The plot could be called Die Hard at a Dam, except there are a few changes. For one, this is a much lower budget movie. Also, Willis is in the Alan Rickman role as the villainous Ron Whitlock. The hero is Mack (Patrick Muldoon) a retired Army Ranger who works at the dam and is the only one who can stop Whitlock and a band of mercenaries, including some dam employees, who are upset over the way law enforcement and the courts have incarcerated one of Whitlock’s son and killed the other son in a botched warrant search.
I give the movie some credit for taking on topical issues. Whitlock and the mercenaries are worried about the government’s reach but by taking over the dam, they’re seen more like the terrorists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Then, there is the issue over law enforcement who have a shoot first and then ask questions later ideology.
Whitlock’s son was shot by local detective Fullbright (Chris Cleveland) during a high-risk warrant search. But there is a problem. They went to the wrong address, which has been a problem with some recent headlines. But since the son was brandishing a firearm because plain clothes law enforcement broke down the door, they gunned him down. So, Fullbright’s pregnant wife, Paula (Kelcy Rose), works at the dam, which taken her hostage is a way to force Fullbright to come alone.
And as Whitlock and the terrorists force the supervisor, Smith (Michael DeVorzon) to open the gates one by one until he can kill all those responsible or something. I’m not really sure what Whitlock’s intention is, especially since releasing all the water so fast will result in massive flooding of the communities which is sure to make notice with a quick reaction. Also, I didn’t think how Whitlock thought they could do securely hold the dam from a full-on response team.
Naturally, Mack just happens to be the only one who can stop the terrorists. It’s almost like Die Hard fan fiction and really bad Die Hard fan fiction. Muldoon plays Mack with a terrible southern accent and this washed up special forces military type has been played before a lot better.
As for Willis, I have to say, he spends most of his scenes inside one setting. And most of these scenes, he’s sitting down. From what I’ve heard, Willis didn’t spend much time filming this as well as the other movies he made in 2021. Some he worked on in less than a week. Another movie, Out of Death, he filmed all his scenes in one day. I’m almost certain that most of Willis’ scene were done in one take and with a person standing in when he wasn’t on screen. What’s sad is you can see something is just not right with him. Now we know, but surely people filming and watching this must’ve been able to see it.
Willis is no stranger to playing the antagonist and villain. In movies like The Siege, Grindhouse: Planet Terror and even Looper, he played the bad guy. It’s just a shame that he couldn’t have made something better in his latter years. Willis didn’t make many good movies when he was younger, but at least there were of the higher caliber bad movies.
And even though it’s just a movie, this movie was filmed in a region that in 1994 suffered severe flooding and some fatalities following Tropical Storm Alberto that reportedly dumped 12 inches of rain over a 24-hour period. I don’t know if the filmmakers near about this but for people in that area, it’s a sensitive subject.
While being filmed in Georgia, it was also set in Georgia even though they fudged the geography big time. There’s references to Fitzgerald, Ga., but also Cherokee County. Fitzgerald is located in south central Georgia while Cherokee County is north of Atlanta. That’s a good 200 miles of difference.
What do you think? Please comment.