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Why These Action Movies Are Worth The Watch – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Why These Action Movies Are Worth The Watch



Bruce Willis rose to fame in the late 80s and throughout the 90s as an esteemed action star, headlining the Die Hard franchise and starring in classics like The Fifth Element and 12 Monkeys, among others. He quickly gained a large and loyal fan base with his unique presence and dedication to the craft, earning numerous awards over the years, including Emmys, People’s Choice Awards, and a Golden Globe, cementing his legacy through time.

However, in March 2022, Willis shocked and distressed his avid followers when he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a disease that gradually worsens a person’s mental and behavioral patterns. Despite this, Willis signed on to star in a trilogy of films in a franchise titled Detective Knight shortly before his retirement.

The trilogy, distributed through Lionsgate and released Paid Video on Demand (PVOD), stars Willis as Detective James Knight, a soft-spoken but heroic police officer who we learn more about in each entry. The first film, Detective Knight: Rogue, was released on October 21, 2022, with the sequel Detective Knight: Redemption hitting two months later on December 9, 2022. The third and final entry, Detective Knight: Independence, was released on January 20, 2023.

While the Detective Knight movies may not be million-dollar blockbusters, the producers and writers have orchestrated the entire trilogy in a way that turns out favorable for Willis and his debilitating wellness. A good amount of runtime is dedicated to diving into other characters and their conflicts, emotional arcs, and outer profiles, which not only lightens the load for Willis in this trying time but also gives an opportunity for up-and-coming names to shine in their individual roles.

For example, Rogue features a side character named Casey Rhodes, played by Beau Mirchoff, who goes through a transformative and redeeming arc. Even though he starts out as just one of the bank robbers at the beginning, scenes are spent with him in his house, interacting with his wife and daughter. In Redemption, a good amount of time is taken to develop the main villain, who goes from preaching in jail to enacting a riot to recruiting others in a nearby safe house. There’s also a fascinating subplot concerning Knight’s wheelchair-ridden partner investigating the corrupt mayor and his connection with the bomber. Finally, in Independence, the audience slowly witnesses the lone EMT devolve from a lifesaver to a twisted kind of liberator.

While these movies will tend to those who want to catch a few glimpses of Willis before he retires, they also serve another purpose here that many audience members may not capture. Willis elevates those around him and gives back to the industry that made him who he is today.

Unfortunately, some scenes do capture Willis’ loosening grip on his once formidable acting poise due to his declining health. While this can be excused for a person going through such an unfortunate experience, it is noticeable when he grumbles his lines in one long breath or stays seated during tense or suspenseful scenes. This raises the uncomfortable notion of whether the producers and filmmakers are taking advantage of an actor’s declining health in a cheap attempt to cash in on his recognizable name.

Despite the challenges he faced, Detective Knight serves as a strong final entry for Willis’ career. Known primarily as an action star, he gets to shine in another franchise, showing that he still has it.

Rising through the rank as an esteemed action star in the late 80s as well as throughout the 90s by headlining the Die Hard franchise and starring in such classics like The Fifth Element and 12 Monkeys (among many others), Bruce Willis quickly garnered a large and loyal fan base with his unique presence and dedication to the craft. Receiving numerous awards over the years, which include Emmys, People’s Choice Awards, and a Golden Globe, he has surely cemented his legacy through time. With a career that never seemed to stop chugging along, avid followers of his were shocked and quite distressed to hear in March 2022 that Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a disease that gradually worsens the mental and behavioral patterns of a person.

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Shortly before his retirement, Willis signed on to star in a trilogy of films in a franchise titled Detective Knight. Detective Knight: Rogue was released on October 21, 2022, with the sequel Detective Knight: Redemption hitting two months later on December 9, 2022. The third and final entry, Detective Knight: Independencewas released on January 20, 2023. The trilogy was distributed through Lionsgate and was released Paid Video on Demand (PVOD). Willis stars as Detective James Knight, a soft-spoken but heroic police officer who we find out about more in every entry. Here are why they are worth watching.



Bank Robbers, Christmas Cults, and Vigilante EMTs

The Christmas Unabomber
Lionsgate

In RogueJames Knight hunts down professional and violent heisters who critically injure his partner after a bank robbery shootout. We come to see that even though Knight operates on the right side of the law, his past intertwines with the wrong people, which does add another layer to the character. In Redemptionhe finds himself on the wrong side of prison bars because of his unjust actions in the previous film. He is only let out to stop an insane cult-like figurehead called the Christmas bomber who wants to make the world anew by blowing up banks and killing civilians. Not only being a direct continuation of the first, actor Paul Johansson proves to be a fantastic and twisted villain in contrast to Willis’ calculated demeanor. In IndependenceKnight is teamed up with his original partner once more. The main antagonist for the final release is a paramedic named Dezi, who becomes a merciless vigilante after feeling as though the entire world does not appreciate what he does. Viewers finally have a glance into some of Knight’s family.

Related: Exclusive: Detective Knight Writer-Director on Bruce Willis Action Trilogy

By no means are any of these films million-dollar blockbusters. Some viewers may even walk away questioning why Bruce Willis is even trying at this point and conclude with a statement proclaiming that he should be at home resting with his family. While there is some truth to these thoughts, the producers and writers behind the Detective Knight movies have orchestrated the entire trilogy in a way that turns out favorable for Mr. Willis and his debilitating wellness. While the careered actor is, of course, in the spotlight at times (as he should be), a good amount of runtime is dedicated to diving into other characters and taking a look at their inner conflicts, emotional arcs, and outer profiles. These creative choices not only lighten the load for the actor in this trying time but also give an opportunity for up-and-coming names to shine in their individual roles.

Bruce Willis and Brilliant Sub-Plots

Bruce Willis and Lochlyn Munro
Lionsgate

For example, Rogue features a side character named Casey Rhodes (played by Beau Mirchoff), who goes through a transformative and redeeming arc. Even though he starts out as just one of the bank robbers at the beginning, scenes are spent with him in his house, interacting with his wife and daughter. He then calls them urgently later on when they may be in danger. In Redemptiona good amount of time is taken to develop the main villain, who goes from preaching in jail to enacting a riot to recruiting others in a nearby safe house. There’s also a fascinating subplot concerning Knight’s wheelchair-ridden partner investigating the corrupt mayor and his connection with the bomber.

Related: 10 Movie Villains Who Redeemed Themselves

Finally, when it comes to Independencethe audience slowly witnesses the lone EMT devolve from a lifesaver to a twisted kind of liberator. We see him struggling day in and day out with his job and eventually becoming frenzied when the pressures become too much for him to handle. While these movies will definitely tend to those that want to catch a few glimpses of Bruce Willis before he retires, he also serves another purpose here that many audience members just do not capture. He elevates those around him and gives back to the industry that made him who he is today.

Not Backing Down Against Dementia

Detective James Knight going after a vigilante EMT
Lionsgate

Unfortunately, some scenes do end up capturing his loosening grip on his once formidable acting poise. As much as instances like this can very much be excused for a person going through such an unfortunate experience, it’s quite noticeable when says his lines in one long grumble or stays seated when a tense or suspenseful scene arises. This raises the uncomfortable notion of if the producers and filmmakers are taking advantage of an actor’s declining health in a cheap attempt to cash in on his recognizable name.

Detective Knight might not have been how anyone expected Willis’ career to end, yet it does serve as a strong final entry for his career. He is most known as an action star, and here he gets to shine in another franchise to show that he still has it.

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