Fortress: Sniper’s Eye review – another ropey shootout for smirking Bruce Willis

A placid family drama on a tropical island is interrupted by men with guns, and all too routine mayhem ensues

It was announced earlier this year that Bruce Willis was retiring from film-making because his aphasia was making it increasingly difficult for him to perform. However, he seems to be having a bit of a farewell tour as the last few films he worked on trickle out. Perhaps in the light of this , critics should be a bit kinder, cutting both Willis and the films themselves a bit of slack. But this one is just as rubbish and pointless as all the other ropey action movies he has made in the past few years.

Here, Willis is reunited with most of the cast from 2021’s Fortress, in which he played a retired CIA agent besieged, along with his son Paul (Jesse Metcalfe), on a tropical island that looks much like Puerto Rico, with its tax-incentive status almost physically visible on screen. The baddie in the previous film was played by grumpy heavy-for-hire Chad Michael Murray, and here he is again despite the fact that he was seemingly shot and killed in the last film. This time round, a good half-hour of placid family drama unfolds to lull us into a false sense of serenity before the chaps with guns return to tussle with the men and menace the various peripheral female characters (who almost all wear short shorts and very tight T-shirts). Willis spends a lot of the film either in a hospital bed recovering from injuries or tied to a chair where he must endure baddies growling lines such as “Stop smirking!” at him. As if that were possible: Willis has only ever had a couple of facial expressions and one of them is resting smirk face.

Amid all this dross there is a charming scene in where a young couple, played by Natalie Burn and Michael Sirow, banter and giggle: their screen chemistry is like something out of a Richard Linklater movie. What a shame one of the characters gets murdered not long after.

• Fortress: Sniper’s Eye is on digital platforms from 11 July.


Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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