Christopher Meloni and Bruce Willis in Marauders. (Ster-Kinekor)
Christopher Meloni and Bruce Willis in Marauders. (Ster-Kinekor)

What it's about:

After criminals hit a chain of banks owned by the same person, a group of FBI agents start putting the pieces together that there may be more going on than just your garden variety bank robbery.

What we thought:

Marauders is the type of generic crime thriller that makes so little an impression that, for the purpose of this review, I literally had to check out a couple of trailers just to remind me what the hell it was about. It also probably doesn't help that, in this case, the plotting was convoluted and incoherent that it was something of a struggle following it even while watching it. And not in a cool Mulholland Drive kind of way.

It's a pity because the basic plot is actually fairly interesting, with plenty of potential for fun conspiracy-thriller thrills and even some good old social commentary. Instead, any sense of fun is buried under murky storytelling, an utter lack of a functional sense of humour and enough souped up testosterone to make even the most macho of alpha males throw up in the mouths a little. And, really, the less said about the atrocious dialogue the better.

Even the rather OK cast can't save it but, with Bruce Willis phoning it in much the way he approaches seemingly all of his roles lately, that's not entirely surprising. Still, it's hard not to feel at least a little for guys (if you're looking for women, you've come to the wrong place) like Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista and even Adrien Grenier, who do seem to be trying their best to raise themselves up above the dodgy material by first-time screenwriter, Michael Cody.

There have been some rather laughable comparisons to Michael Mann's Heat in the film's promotion but for all that the film tries to drive home the increasingly dubious idea of good and evil being two sides of the same coin and even brings up that equally well-trod question of whether evil methods justify a good end, it never feels like more than a wannabe, arriving at the party a good decade too late. 

It's not just that the film is derivative and hopelessly unoriginal – it is a genre piece, after all – it's that it listlessly goes through the same old motions with very little conviction or vitality but also has the audacity to make out like it's saying something profound. It isn't. Not by a very, very long shot.

It's probably not surprising to learn that director Steven C Miller is mostly known for direct-to-video B Movies because though the film is not without a certain amount of grungy stylishness (and the masks that the bank robbers wear are actually impressively unnerving), it just isn't particularly well told, with both character motivations and plot twists alike lacking much in the way of coherence and proper development. 

All in all, Marauders may not be a total travesty but it belongs in the same DVD bargain bin as other generic thrillers like the recent Triple 9 and the dozen or so “and Bruce Willis” action flicks that the once-(and occasionally still)-great actor insists on churning out every six weeks for apparently no other reason than willful self-sabotage.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24