Bruce Willis completes his trilogy of films as the “dark” Knight in this finale to Edward Drake’s holiday-themed action saga.
Months have passed since LAPD detective James Knight earned his badge back after stopping a deadly bomber and his gang in New York City. Now back in Los Angeles, he and his partner Fitzgerald, who is no longer paralyzed, are able to stop a bank robbery. When EMT Dezi arrives with partner Ally, he ignores one of the shot robbers and saves the bank manager. Despite his efforts, his actions cost him his job for breaking protocol.
Blaming the government for first denying him a dream of becoming a police officer and then, making him lose his job as an EMT, Dezi slowly becomes unhinged. First, he tends to blame the LAPD for an earlier altercation. With the 4th of July approaching, Dezi hatches a plan to make a statement by robbing the same bank where he was before. However, he is in for a shock when Detective Knight and Fitzgerald are on the case while protecting a holiday event, but there comes an even bigger surprise for both Knight and Dezi awaiting them.
With his retirement this past March, Bruce Willis still had some films in the can set to be released and in November, we were treated to the first of a trilogy where he played an unorthodox LAPD officer in Detective James Knight. The film, Detective Knight: Rogue, would be set on Halloween where he took on a gang of thieves decked out in masks. The second film, Detective Knight: Redemption, was released last month and is rightfully set in Christmas, marking Willis’ second Xmas-themed action (after the classic Die Hard). Finally, director Edward Drake unleashes the final film, whose subtitle rightfully sets the film on the 4th of July.
Of course, Willis may be the titular Detective Knight, but as with the previous installments, he pops up sporadically as this installment focuses more on the unhinged Dezi and his aspirations to make a name for himself. Played by Jack Kilmer, Dezi is a young fellow who had dreamed to be a police officer, but was denied not just by the force but by his overbearing father. While he is an EMT, he still has that mindset of his dream job when he ignores the shot robber and offers to help the bank manager. His relationship with Ally, played by The Hunger Games’ Willow Shields, is quite complicated as she clearly seems to have a moral compass.
While Willis does come in sporadically, we finally get the pieces of his backstory. We learn that he is divorced because he focuses more on his job and it caused a massive rift between not just him and his now ex-wife, but his daughter as well. He does have respect for his superior Bingham, played by Dina Meyer. The scene with these two has Willis explain what a good cop is, and he answers that a good cop doesn’t have to sleep well in order for others to do so. It should be mentioned that Jimmy Jean-Louis returns as Godwin Sango from Rogue, but he tends to have more of a rivalry with Knight because he still holds a grudge from the events of that very film.
Detective Knight: Independence is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, as we finally get Knight’s backstory and it is driven from a good performance in Jack Kilmer’s aspiring and unhinged antagonist.
WFG RATING: B
Lionsgate presents a 308 Pictures production in association with Arcana Productions, Buffalo8 New Mexico, and BondIt Capital Media. Director: Edward Drake. Producers: Robert Dean and Corey Large. Writer: Edward Drake; based on the characters by Drake and Corey Large. Cinematography: Laffrey Witbrod. Editing: Justin Williams.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jack Kilmer, Willow Shields, Lochlyn Munro, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Dina Meyer, Lorenzo Antonucci, Dax Campbell, Robert Laenen, Joe Munroe, Kimberly Christiann Pember.
The film will be released in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on January 20.