Paul (Patric) is a mechanic in Mississippi just trying to make an honest living and support his daughter Beth (Gia Mantegna) through college. However, Paul once went by a different name, a name that put fear into all those who knew of him: The Prince. Once a notorious cold-blooded killer for hire, Paul left that life behind many years ago. But that life soon comes thundering back when Paul learns his daughter has gone missing and has been dabbling in the world of hard narcotics. Enlisting the help of Beth’s best friend Angela (Lowndes) to help track his missing daughter down, Paul soon has to fall back on his former career’s skills as he crosses path with a vicious drug lord called The Pharmacy (50 Cent) and mob boss Omar (Willis) who is looking to take his own revenge on The Prince.
While it may at first appear to be a get together for former big stars of the 90s to collect a pay cheque, The Prince is actually a decent action thriller with a great central performance from Jason Patric. Not necessarily known for tough guy, gun-toting, avenging roles, Patric cuts a mean figure as the ruthless Prince transforming from quiet everyman to hard-as-nails killer with skill. In fact, his transformation into ice-cold killer and relentless bulldozer in the quest to find his missing daughter lifts the film from its somewhat generic narrative. Patric is so good he sometimes appears to be in a different film to everyone else but keeps you watching, as you really want him to find his daughter and dish out the justice. The equally impressive Jessica Lowndes, who begins proceedings as an annoying party girl dickhead, but soon transforms into a sympathetic character when she realises the serious nature of her predicament and becomes an unlikely ally to the Prince, backs Patric up well. The likes of Cusack, 50 Cent and Willis have glorified cameos, though Willis does seem to be having fun playing a slimy bad guy. However, Rain (Ninja Assassin) registers as the deadly right hand man of Willis’ Omar, proving a worthy foe to Patric’s Prince, and should really have been the main bad guy.
We’ve seen this kind of story a millions times (it’s basically Taken in the Deep South) and it perhaps takes itself a little too seriously as the pulpier and action elements could have been embraced a bit more to make proceedings a little peppier. There is a bit too much scene setting and too many flashbacks to establish who The Prince was that slow events down somewhat, but on the whole, The Prince is slick, well acted and, come the last 30 minutes, action packed. There is plenty of gunplay and brutal goon killing on hand, though it could have been a little more sustained as the action is often over far too quickly and easily. The character of The Prince is actually a pretty interesting and cool character (especially portrayed by Patric) and now that they’ve set the scene and introduced the character perhaps the makers could let him loose in a more action packed sequel.
The Prince will be released on 29th December in the UK on DVD and Blu-Ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Review by Andrew Skeates