Fortress (USA, 2021)

From the director of Survive the Game comes another Bruce Willis vehicle where we see him make the most of his screen time and has some popcorn value to it.

Businessman Paul is attempting to startup a new venture and will need his estranged father Robert for help. Paul heads to an assisted living facility, where Robert has been living for the past few years. When Paul finally reunites with Robert, things don’t go well between the two at first. Eventually, Robert reluctantly decides to help him, but this becomes the least of their problems.

A band of mercenaries have infiltrated the facility and they have Robert as the target. Paul soon learns that his father was once a secret agent who had stopped a notorious criminal, Balzary. Balzary has now been freed and has hired the mercenaries. Paul and Robert are forced to go to the Fortress, a hidden area for retired agents. Things soon come ahead when Balzary decides to find Robert himself and it is up to Paul to help his father and stop the villains before it’s too late.

From James Cullen Bressack, the director of Survive the Game, comes another team up with a group of actors from that very film. Notably, Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray. However, this time there is a switching of the sides when it comes to Murray’s character. Whereas Willis once again plays a veteran hero type, Murray plays lead villain this time as a criminal seeking revenge of Willis by hiring some mercenaries to take Willis out. Murray doesn’t make an impact himself until well past the halfway mark, but still when we finally see him, he does show why he loves to play villains when it calls for it.

Willis also reunites with his Hard Kill co-star Jesse Metcalfe, who plays his estranged successful son Paul. Metcalfe and Willis pick up right where they leave off in terms of their chemistry but it’s a little better as this time, they are father and son and of course, Big Papa Willis is even tougher when it comes to reluctantly helping Paul out with business, but soon relies on him when it comes to “business” in terms of action.

There are a lot of fun action scenes in the film when it comes to the mercenaries who come in to try to take Willis out. There’s also some surprise twists within the story in terms of certain characters. Speaking of character actors, we get a few returnees from Survive the Game in Sean Kanan, Michael Sirow, and Simon Phillips to name a few; and the great Shannen Doherty, who plays Dobbs, a guard of the Fortress who does her best to protect Robert and Paul when Balzary arrives to join his crew in this deadly adventure. The film does leave open a sequel, which will be due for release sometime in 2022 under the direction of Josh Sternfeld.

Fortress is a fun and wild action film that once again reunites Bruce Willis and director James Cullen Bressack with Chad Michael Murray showing why he enjoys playing villains.

WFG RATING: B+

Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment presents a EFO Films production in association with Verdi productions. Director: James Cullen Bressack. Producers: Randall Emmett, George Furla, Luillo Ruiz, and Chad A. Verdi. Writer: Alan Horsnail. Cinematography: Bryan Koss. Editing: R.J. Cooper.

Cast: Bruce Willis, Jesse Metcalfe, Chad Michael Murray, Shannen Doherty, Ser’Darious Blain, Kelly Greyson, Sean Kanan, Natalie Burn, James Cullen Bressack, Trae Ireland, Simon Phillips, Michael Sirow.

The film will be in select theaters, On Demand, and on Digital on December 17, 2021.

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