If I told you that a new thriller has been released with Bruce Willis and Megan Fox in the leads, how excited would you be? A good follow-up might be what year are we talking about? They would certainly make the difference. To be honest, when was the last time Bruce Willis appeared in a substantial studio film with good material to work with? It has been a long time. Would you be surprised to hear that Willis is barely in the film at all and basically sleep-walks through the whole film. Willis looks so unenthusiastic about it. But you know what…he got paid.
Midnight in the Switchgrass might not boast a lengthy and meaningful appearance from Bruce Willis but do the other actors bring the goods? Megan Fox is best known for Transformers which led her to stardom. But she has not done much on the silver screen since then. How is her performance? She is…fine. She walks through the film doing exactly what is asked from her. Fox’s actual partner in crime (to solve crimes) in this film is portrayed by Emile Hirsch. Hirsch is a pleasant surprise in the film, including an early time to deliver some devastating news to a new widow. This scene shows the humanity that Hirsch instills in Byron as he can connect with this woman and empathize so poignantly. Hirsch is the real MVP as he brings this character to life.
But what is this flick even about anyway? An FBI agent (Fox) and a Florida State officer (Hirsch) must team up to find the perpetrator of a string of horrible murders of women. The audience is let in on the mystery early on which honestly takes a lot of the spark from the story. Why did they do this? Was this worth it? No. The film could have used that needed tension to really carry it but instead the narrative feels like a meandering mess that could have benefited from a cleaner and well-organized approach. The building working relationship between these two-law people becomes interesting enough that they are really people and must deal with the truth.
But what does work about this film besides a game Hirsch and serviceable Fox? Randall Emmett, the director of the film, flexes his directing muscles during the finale which sees our protagonists attempting to take down our killer. The suspense built up in the scene feels poignant as our killer gets closer to their next victim and our protagonist gets closer to them. The performance from the suspect (Lukas Haas) also works well in the contest of the film right now. I would be interested to see more mystery stories coming my way from Emmett who seems to have a strong vision of how to build up tension (maybe this time they will keep the mystery).
With some solid performances and a string of tense scenes, is this one worth watching? Maybe not. The film ultimately has blown its surprise way too early and left for plenty of narrative flab.You could even say that the film was…boring. Who wants to see a film that is boring? If you have seen a crime thriller, you have seen them all. This derivative tale leaves a lot to be desired. Even Willis has more scenes left to film which might be more scenes than the truly great ones we used to get.