If I were to find the most apt comparison to Precious Cargo, it would have to be likening it to the genre of pornography known colloquially as “Scat,” that is to say, I’m sure that there are people out there who enjoy that sort of shit (if you’ll pardon the pun) but they would do well to keep their opinion on what they enjoy viewing in private to themselves. If only to save them the embarrassment of people saying “Ewwwwwwww, why would you admit that? And who are you anyway?” But I digress.
If, somehow, you were unable to get the gist of what my feelings on Precious Cargo are, then allow me to summarise. It’s terrible, completely and utterly terrible. I have sat through some worthless dreck in my time, but this one really takes the cake with just how banal, dull, dreary and clichéd the entire affair is. Should you enter a situation where watching this film is an inevitability, I would strongly recommend faking a heart attack to escape.
Now you are suitably forewarned, on to the heart of the review: Precious Cargo stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Jack, the Michaelangelo of Crime, who is drafted into a heist by his ex-girlfriend Karen (Claire Forlani), only to discover that he was stealing from the villainous Eddie (played by Bruce “Yippee-Ki-Yay-Motherfucker” Willis.) What follows is something the director probably hopes is a tense game of cat and mouse, only the mouse died several months ago, and the cat’s been sleeping in the sun for the past several hours and has no intention of moving unless food is somewhere in the offing.
The biggest problem with the entire film is the script. The entire plot feels like it was created from a decoupage of the rejected pages of Ocean’s Eleven, so much so that within half an hour, I was able to complete the majority of my “Terrible Action Movie Cliché” Bingo Card, only needing the “Dramatic showdown where the villain thinks he’s won” trope to achieve a full house. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to till the end, forcing me to sit through the entire thing before I was able to claim my prize (a bottle of scotch and a revolver, for those who are curious.)
The plot of the film (such as it is) exists purely to fumble along lethargically until the next lacklustre action sequences, and manages to do so with all the grace of a drunken elephant. Any dialogue within the 90 minutes seems to be made up of short, sharp, singular sentences that are batted between the characters, who proceed to react to a “heated” speedboat chase and gun battle with all the same enthusiasm as a routine trip to the dentist.
Said speedboat chase also highlights the distinct lack of chemistry between any of the characters. At first, I thought the acting was just bad. It is, don’t get me wrong, but large flaws such as that become gaping chasms when combined with the lack of emotion shown between the T-800’s they somehow managed to reprogram after saving Sarah Connor. Actually, I take that back, the T-800 was shown to at least understand the concept of human feelings before it got incinerated.
Perhaps most worryingly of all is the way the film treats 95% of its women as blonde, large breasted, sex-obsessed, bitches with about as much depth as a puddle. It reaches the point where one starts to question whether the writer and director possibly shot this whilst working through a bad break-up. The rampant misogyny that permeates any scene with an unnamed female is truly disturbing to view in this day and age.
Despite all this, Bruce Willis makes a vain attempt to breathe life into the whole affair, but he is ultimately let down by his very first scene where he repeats the line “Looks like they were dipped in shit” far more times than any self-respecting human being would find acceptable. Following his opening scene, Willis’ character proceeds to spout quasi-philosophical bullshit at every turn, twisting the knife into the lifeless corpse of deep meaning and subtlety with every syllable uttered.
Precious Cargo is a terrible film that features lines of dialogue that will go down in history as more idiotic than a meth-head spouting gibberish. It isn’t until the credits roll and you see the outtakes of a group of people having a fun time on the set of a film that you’ll remember that they’re people too, and it is a little mean to slag off people who are obviously enjoying themselves.
Then again, when a film is this bad, it’s hard not to.
PRECIOUS CARGO IS OUT ON DVD & BLU-RAY NOW!