*. In the wake of his aphasia diagnosis and subsequent announcement of his retirement, I think everyone wanted to cut Bruce Willis some slack for what had been a remarkable string of bad performances in worthless films.
*. I’m not as charitable. He still took these roles, and worked at a frantic pace churning out garbage. In 2022 alone I believe he appeared in an even dozen (!) direct-to-video releases, for which he was well paid. I like Willis, as he was an iconic star when I was a young moviegoer, but I don’t feel that sorry for him. Cognitive impairment is a terrible thing to suffer through, but he should have hung it up before it came to this.
*. Which brings us to Gasoline Alley, though I suspect that much of what I’m about to say could be said of the rest of Willis’s 2022 production. Gasoline Alley is a cheap (and worse, cheap-looking) piece of crap, apparently shot in eleven days. I think they might have had a couple of weekends off in there.
*. Devon Sawa plays Jimmy Jayne, a tough ex-con who drives a hot rod and a motorbike and runs a tattoo parlour. It’s a “rock-and-roll life.” A girl he meets at a bar ends up being murdered alongside a bunch of other girls and Jimmy becomes the prime suspect. Two detectives, Freeman (Willis) and Vargas (Luke Wilson) start to lean on him, so Jimmy sets out to solve the case on his own.
*. I guess they were going for some kind of neo-noir vibe, but nothing works. Though I have to throw some praise in Sawa’s direction. He’s really doing his best here and he’s not bad. Given that nobody else even seems to be trying, that’s worthy of respect.
*. Wilson is just picking up a cheque and Willis is noticeably not well. He’s actually only on screen for a few minutes, and his dialogue mainly consists of saying “Yeah” when someone else says something to him. He really looks much worse here than he did in Breach and Cosmic Sin, movies that glow in comparison to this.
*. He dies at the end (I’m not giving you any spoiler alerts), with one of his last lines being “It wasn’t supposed to end like this.” Then Sawa soaks him in gasoline and tosses a flaming $20 in his direction. It’s hard not to read something into that. Sorry Bruce.