in , , ,

Fortress: Sniper’s Eye


‘…it’s a small relief just to see that Willis can just about talk the talk and walk the walk, even in a diminished B-movie role like the ones that the Fortress saga can offer…’

One of the endearing traits of the minions is the way that thousands of them pile-on when they see a good thing; it mirrors one of the phenomena of the internet age that makes sheep of us all. So in retrospect, I’m glad that I skipped the pile-on of negativity that’s surrounded the career choices of Bruce Willis over the last few years. From Moonlighting onwards, Willis has always been a cherished performer, a great star (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction) who could act (Unbreakable) and even sing (The Return of Bruno); he’s made several comebacks (Looper), but sadly it looks like there won’t be a ‘return to form’ swan-song; his last few features before retirement due to aphasia are ‘straight to streaming’ fodder.

Fortress: Sniper’s Eye is a sequel to Fortress and appears to be the middle section of an on-going trilogy; Willis is a featured player rather than the star here, and the game seems to be to spread out enough footage of Willis shot for a feature to cover the requirements of a trilogy. Sniper’s Eye is set in some kind of techno-future, and sees special-ops soldier Robert (Willis) rescuing Sasha (Natali Yura) from the forces of evil, taking a bullet in the process. This means that Willis is largely missing in action as the low-wattage drama unfolds, since he’s confined to a hospital bed. A showdown with Balthary (Chad Michael Murray) is on the cards, but not before a series of minor issues are resolved between the supporting cast. Jesse Metcalfe from Chesapeake Shores is in here too.

‘Life can only be understood backwards, but has to be lived forwards,’ is one of Robert’s more reflective lines, but there’s little sign of the everyman swagger that have made Willis a world-beating star, although his dialogue is notably punched up above the rest of the cast. The other chat sounds like it’s been through google translate in Josh Sternfield’s film, although the line ‘I’m serious as a heart’ has a certain accidental Raymond Carver-esque feel. Emile Hirsh is somehow amongst those responsible for the story.

Business is business, and the makers of the Fortress films presumably made Willis an offer that he couldn’t refuse; the decline of his creative powers due to illness is hardly reason for jokes or merriment. For now, it’s a small relief just to see that Willis can just about talk the talk and walk the walk, even in a diminished B-movie role like the ones that the Fortress saga can offer.

Signature Entertainment presents Fortress: Sniper’s Eye on Digital Platforms 11th July and DVD 18th July


Leave a Reply
  1. Straight to video I would imagine. Bruce has been propping up the DVD counter in the past few years along with Nic Cage but I share your admiration for his performance in Unbreakable though maybe the fact that he didn’t smirk made it seem a bigger achievement than it was.

    • Cage, Cusack and others seem to have a conveyorbelt going, but we know they’re capable of more.

  2. So is this the 2nd or 3rd movie in this “fortress” trilogy? I have to admit I’ve not even heard of the first one, so chances are pretty low that I’ll give this a go.

    • I’m with you, and hadn’t seen the first one; just wanted to take the temperature of the closing films in Willis’ career.

      • Oh, ok, so this was more about Willis than any look at a franchise.
        Did this make any sense on it’s own or was it obvious there were parts before it?

  3. “life can only be understood backwards . . . ” is a line from Kierkegaard.

    I don’t have any regrets about dumping on Willis’s later efforts. He accepted garbage work in garbage movies to take home good-size paychecks (which, at least one co-star alleges, hurt the final productions). I can feel sympathy for his illness, but his later films are something he did to himself.

    • I’d imagine Kierkegaard must have done a first draft on the script here, he does a lot of primo cyber action.

      It’s one of the problems with living a public life; when things go sour, they do so in the public eye. I was thinking of the Golden Raspberry awards highlighting his recent films, which felt a bit like kicking someone when they’re down.

      • Wasn’t the Golden Raspberry thing just before he went public with his diagnosis? Can’t really blame them for that, and they retracted the award when the news came out.

        And he was still taking in millions at a time, appearing in movies that were only cash grabs, when apparently it was clear to him and everyone around him that he could no longer function. I don’t know how much of a pass he deserves for that.

Leave a Reply