Download Action and Heart in One of Bruce Willis’ Final Films Movie Download
White Elephant is, at first, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When two police officers inadvertently witness an assassination ordered by Arnold Soloman (a crime boss played by Bruce Willis), they soon find themselves as Arnold’s next targets. Wanting zero witnesses, Arnold commands his enforcer Gabriel Tancredi (Michael Rooker) to take them out, and Gabriel brings along his soon-to-be-replacement Carlo Garcia (Vadhir Derbez) to finish the job. It’s a familiar set-up of many pulp action movies where law enforcement is up against organized crime. While White Elephant certainly isn’t without its pulpy action — from headshots to blood splattering on our heroes’ faces — what allows Jesse V. Johnson’s film to rise above is its beating heart.
Filmed in the state of Georgia in 2021, White Elephant reunites Johnson and Willis who had worked together decades ago when Johnson was still a stuntman. Since his time as a stunt coordinator, Johnson has written and directed nearly two dozen films, as outlined by Ultimate Action Movies, cementing his presence in contemporary action cinema. Whether it’s honor versus corruption, like in The Package, or Eastern martial arts versus Western, as in Triple Threat, what Johnson does best with his films is exploiting the tension between opposing forces and beliefs. What’s remarkable about White Elephant is how the film takes the idea of conflict and applies it to the characters’ internal affairs just as much as it does the external.
White Elephant Characters Bring Heart
Part of what makes White Elephant work is that there are emotional stakes for each of the main characters. Gabriel is an ex-Marine, whose personal code of honor instills a sort of internal conflict with the work he’s now doing for Arnold. This sort of tough character with a heart of gold that wins audiences over isn’t new territory for Rooker. As part of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, Rooker’s Yondu was a renowned Ravager, a thief who was unafraid to get his hands dirty, but had a soft spot and was a father-figure to Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill. In White Elephant, Rooker excels at translating Gabriel’s conflict, which is exacerbated by the birthday of his deceased wife who, when she was alive, had urged him to use his combat experience for good. There’s a weighted weariness to his performance — arguably the standout of talented ensemble cast — which helps you to understand why he switches sides to protect Officer Vanessa Flynn (Olga Kurylenko) from Arnold’s men and, what’s more, you even find yourself hoping that he walks away from the final shootout alive.
On the other side of the fight is Willis’ Arnold. Earlier this year, Willis’ daughter Rumer announced her father’s decision to step away from acting as a result of his aphasia diagnosis. This means White Elephant will surely be one of Willis’ final films. In fact, per Los Angeles Times, Willis’ condition urged Johnson to shift production schedules, with Willis’ scenes filmed early, and quickly. Still, no stranger to the genre, Willis proves capable as Arnold, brooding and authoritative even though he himself doesn’t partake in much of the action.
White Elephant‘s supporting turns each play their parts well. Derbez’s Carlo is eager to prove himself a worthy replacement for Gabriel. Indeed, Derbez’s best scenes are with Rooker, particularly when their opposing values and objectives — Carlo thinks being Arnold’s enforcer will earn him respect, while Gabriel assures him all he’ll get is fear — are at the forefront of their conversations. Meanwhile, Kurylenko’s Vanessa is already beaten down before we meet her, with the violence she’s committed throughout her career, and the ways it has changed how she sees the world, weighing heavily on her shoulders. It seems that all she knows is how to fight, kill, and survive, and Kurylenko’s performance is sensitive to that baggage.
Johnson’s Film is Fun (If You Lean Into It)
White Elephant, with its high body-count and its many action sequences, is otherwise typical pulpy action fanfare. This isn’t a bad thing. The shootouts — and there are plenty — are well-executed and thrilling, particularly when it involves a major character being outnumbered by a whole gang of gun-toting killers. The key to enjoying the spectacle of it all is to lean into it. It absolutely helps that Johnson and co-screenwriter Erik Martinez have crafted a story that includes characters you care about, characters you believe in and want to see make it to the end.
Ultimately, White Elephant ends with a message of hope. There’s a short scene that sees a character looking out into the horizon, as if seeing, for the first time, the possibility of change, of starting anew. The scene fades out, and the film jumps forward to a burial of sorts. It’s a moment the character has been waiting for and wholly deserves: departure.
White Elephant will be available in theaters and streaming on AMC+ on June 3, 2022.