Another wish-fulfillment thriller scenario for overprotective dads, “The Prince” has taciturn auto mechanic Paul (Jason Patric) hotfooting it to New Orleans to hunt down his missing daughter (Gia Mantegna), presumed to be under the drugged sway of a dealer named the Pharmacy (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson).
Is it a spoiler to reveal that Paul is ex-military and a retired assassin?
Not really, because the movie has the reek of something spoiled already, and if you’ve fallen asleep to director Brian A. Miller’s lame mercenary-dad thriller “The Outsider,” it’s the same movie all over again — even the tag-along hot girl accessory the hero picks up at a bar — yet with no appreciable effort to make the warehouse of action clichés in Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore’s script any more entertaining or less dumb.
Bruce Willis, as Paul’s old rival, offers up a rare villain turn, but it’s hard not to wish his version of moody testosterone would prevail because Patric seems so ill-at-ease in Eastwood/Neeson mode. John Cusack, meanwhile, as this movie’s third middle-aged tough guy, mostly looks irritable and sleep-deprived.
So unless you’re a fan of yawn-worthy shootouts and showdowns, “The Prince” is a “Taken” retread hardly indicative of any special set of skills.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Rated: R for violence, drug content and language
Playing at: AMC Burbank 8