“Detective Knight: Rogue” Is an Introduction to What Could Be a Flat and Confusing Trilogy
Could? Probably will be.
For a movie that features middle-aged schlubs playing imposing or villainous characters, and leading men looking exhausted for the duration of their time on screen, Detective Knight: Rogue doesn’t exactly do itself any favors in appearing attractive. Of course, “looks can be deceiving,” and “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” but when there are technical mistakes and general disarray found within, ugly becomes a proper description. This Bruce Willis barely-starrer and Edward John Drake-directed cop drama, part of the “geezer teaser” direct to VOD market, is just that: ugly. And tearing it apart would be too much like picking low-hanging fruit.
But, as a schlubby and tired individual myself, I can identify with the picture. In Rogue, the first entry in what will apparently be a trilogy, Willis plays the central detective known as Knight (the rest of his name escapes me), who fails to stop an armored car robbery that ends in his partner being shot multiple times. The partner is put in the hospital, but not before Knight just kinda stands around and looks unengaged as his bloodied friend suffers on the ground. The footage of Willis as Knight is made up of some fresh shots, some from behind a lookalike, and some that are somewhat shamelessly-used clips from a previous Edward Drake movie Gasoline Alley. This is not without precedent, either as a geezer teaser or as a b-movie, but it is still frustrating and confusing.
It’s also not the fault of Bruce Willis, so let’s drop him from the rest of this review.
The aforementioned thieves, led by a pain killer-addicted young ex-football player, operate on-call for a dirty and shady rich guy, a mostly unshaven sloth, who requests highly sought-after sports memorabilia from the crew. There’s another detective, aside from Knight, that’s on their trail, but it’s difficult to understand what he’s saying due to his accent. His dialogue could’ve been cleaned up in post-production, but any and all audio work was saved for scenes that either didn’t need it or didn’t match the voice of the actor it was being done for.
When I wasn’t laughing, I was shaking my head at the missed opportunities with the heist team. They practice in a junkyard and execute their jobs in the most unpolished ways possible, without a shred of cleverness or fun to be seen or had. It’s not shocking, but it is disappointing just how far out of its own way Detective Knight: Rogue goes in not being good.
Convoluted, hard to understand, and just bad.
Knight does wear a werewolf Halloween mask to shoot some thugs at one point. That was somewhat cool. Detective Knight: Rogue, similarly, wears a mask too. A mask that it struggles to remove and can’t breathe in. Sorry fella. 1/5
One More Thing: Arranged Marriage
In a nightmare-ish-looking college library, a young woman and her maybe-boyfriend/maybe assignment partner, flirt with one another as the lamps and lights on the building loudly turn off and on in creepy order. She goes to apply lotion and comes back to find a dead body. More lights flick on and off with heavy noise.
Then…a surprise arranged marriage ceremony! Quirky!
Then…more deaths. And more quirks. And so on.
The tone of Arranged Marriage is completely off-kilter and daringly demented. The young woman’s family is made up of the Indian community, and they all demand that she get married soon, and to someone that’s been chosen for her. Of course, she already has a boyfriend - not the dead guy from before - a naive white privilege fool who, upon coming to her home to make an introduction, is attacked in his eye and sent to the hospital. Still, he’s willing to give it another chance. After all, theirs is a different culture.
Is this a comedy slasher about cultural follies and family bonds, or is it some exercise in throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping some noodles will stick? Both are likely.
But just because there’s an element of daring doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s twisted but not twisty. There’s no mystery to the murders throughout, and there’s little to no successful humor. Aside from one oddball dance number, Arranged Marriage is entirely strange in what it wants to accomplish and what it wants to be. I don’t believe that it’s unsure, but I do think that it doesn’t know how to express itself.
There are lots of scenes with people eating, there are plenty of curious cultural cues, and there might be something deeper going on in the story that I likely missed. Might be. But I can’t say that I’m enthused to revisit the film anytime soon. Give or take, it’s an oddity, which I appreciate. But it’s also confounding and just plain off-putting. For its quirks and kills, Arranged Marriage just can’t pull its ambitions together. Ironically, it’s not a match made in heaven. Or hell.