Despite the bidding war surrounding Shane Black’s script (and its ultimate seven-figure purchase price), there’s really nothing special about this entertaining if mindless shoot-’em-up other than an ample supply of amusing juvenile put-downs and elaborate action sequences. Black should know the territory, having penned Lethal Weapon and the first draft of its sequel.
Equipped with a persona suited to his gifts, Bruce Willis limns a former Secret Service agent whose devotion to justice (accounting for pic’s title) put him out on the street scrounging for work as a sleazy p.i. Willis plays the part as a world-weary Bogart wannabe, grounded in domestic trappings by partial estrangement from his wife and daughter.
The plot [story by Black and Greg Hicks] is a haze of barely connected story lines about political corruption, pro-football, gambling, infidelity, and blackmail – a sort of poor man’s The Big Sleep, but here all the questions are answered by another car chase, smashing someone in the face or shooting someone in the forehead.
Willis gets yanked into the action when he’s asked to protect a stripper (Halle Berry), g.f. of a former pro quarterback (Damon Wayans) banned from the game for gambling. There’s not a lot of chemistry between Willis and Wayans, but both can be flat-out funny, and the script provides them plenty of opportunity to zing each other as well as the cartoonish bad guys.