There’s nothing particularly precious about “Precious Cargo,” a new crime thriller starring Mark-Paul Gossalaar, Claire Forlani and Bruce Willis. A b-movie—in this case I think the “b” stands for bullets, bikinis and bombs—with wild heists, action scenes and bad dialogue delivered badly, it’s as subtle as a slap to the face.
Gossalaar is Jack, a cocky guy who thrives on the adrenaline rush that goes along with doing bad things. At the beginning of the film he is almost killed when a deal to sell guns goes bad. In the aftermath he tries to lay low but is drawn back into the life when his former partner in bed and out, Karen (Forlani), shows up pregnant with an offer and a bunch of bad guys on her tail. The villains (who are luckily very bad shots) are the henchmen for Eddie (Willis), a vicious crime boss who Karen conned. Seems she owes Eddie $12 million and wants Jack to help her steal the money.
“The last time I helped you I almost ended up on the wrong side of the grass,” he moans before agreeing to lift an armoured car full of diamonds.
The job goes well, until Jack has a gut feeling something is amiss. Turns out Karen hasn’t been completely upfront (“She’s always going to be Karen,” says sniper Logan (Jenna B. Kelly). “Now she’s just Karen with a kid.”) and from this point on the movie turns into a criminal “Inception,” a heist within a heist, complete with double-crosses and improbable alliances.
“Precious Cargo” is an enjoyably forgettable shoot ‘em up. Short on plot believability but long on hard-boiled dialogue, (“You’re not dead yet?” “Only on the inside.”) it’s the kind of movie where getaway drivers are drunkards (“I never drive drunk. Buzzed, maybe. Hungover? Absolutely.”) and where characters say things like, “I got to put a bullet in somebody’s brain before I put one in my own.” In its dialogue and not-exactly-enlightened attitude toward women it almost plays like a satire of b-movies, but director Max Adams’s background as a writer on po-faced hardboiled potboilers like ”Heist” and “Extraction” suggests otherwise.
At a tight 90 minutes—including bloopers and a tagged on post-heist scene—“Precious Cargo” is here for a good time and blessedly not a long time.