‘Once Upon A Time In Venice’: A Cheap Fairytale Of Drugs, Bullets And Boobs

Even Bruce Willis fails to impress.

I cannot not imagine Bruce Willis without gun holsters strapped to his shoulders. At first, I thought this was a pseudo-documentary made from the pension of his Die Hard profits to show John McClane's life when well... he was not dying hard. However, when I saw Jason Momoa in a horseshoe moustache sporting a paisley black bandana, I knew this movie would be a fairytale of drugs, bullets and boobs.


Bruce Willis plays Steve Ford, a "too-old-to-deliver-pizza" skateboarding prodigy and private detective for the debauched, who is always inventing newer ways to getting his butt whooped by chunky guys with tattoos and lots of homies. Steve sleeps on the job, fucks on the job, fucks the job, and fucks up the job. John (Thomas Middleditch), Steve's assistant, who thinks he's a lot better than his boss (and in some ways he is, but don't tell him I said so), takes care of Steve and the narration in the movie.

The bohemian surf town, Venice, sells itself pretty charmingly, but the characters running the town fall short of adding character to the film.

Steve, the selfless guy that he is, picks a bone with an overhyped drug dealer Spyder (Jason Momoa) by stealing a car that never belonged to Spyder in the first place. Spyder gets back at Steve by stealing Buddy (a dog) that did indeed very much belong to Steve. In the meantime, Spyder has backstabbers who need to be taught a lesson. And who does he hire? You guessed it right. Venice's "best"—Steve Ford!


John Goodman plays Steve's best friend Dave Phillips, who is at his miserable best, because the shit in his life has hit the fan and he goddamn forgot to turn it on. He is the kind of man you wouldn't mind giving your kidneys to, because you know when the time comes he would give you his heart.

Adam Goldberg, who got locked out of Chandler's apartment in Friends (Season 2), has done very well for himself becoming a real estate developer in OUATIV. Truly transformational. From being evicted to someone who can evict. Awesome.

Ken Davitian sizzles on screen with his one-piece gold bikini and a plummeting pair of gazongas that could send Ashley Graham running to her mommy crying.


Thomas's bladdery awkwardness almost makes you want to break his teeth, and at the same time give him a fresh minty tube of toothpaste. Why? When he puts his tongue down the throat of a woman a thousand good men dream of giving up their wives for, you'd want to make sure she's okay. Say hello to Jessica Gomes. Part-time Sports Illustrated model. Full-time relationship breaker.

Bruce's calm "everything is okay" demeanour, even in suicidal situations, makes you want to take things easy in your own life.

Stephanie Sigman, the Mexican-American damsel who will be seen as Sister Charlotte in Annabelle: Creation, doesn't waste any seconds in gaining your favour with her complexion and pretty smile, because she knows she's only got a couple of scenes and frankly that's all you need to fall in love with her.


I get the feeling that detectives in Venice are sloppy. Allow me to retract that. I get the feeling that the whole city was born with two left feet. There are "fatally dangerous" gangsters getting robbed, realtors getting teabagged on public walls, legendary surfers drowning in their self-pity, ruthless mob bouncers getting shown who the boss is, transgender people getting kicked in the nuts, and well-established realtors stooping way too low only to end up paying the price for playing foul. All too messy, all too easy cases to solve.

'Once Upon A Time In Venice', is a movie filled with plotlines and characters that belong to a "once upon a time" era. At least 20 years ago.

The bohemian surf town, Venice, with its landmark boardwalk, friendly neighbourhoods inked with graffiti, friendlier gangsters, sells itself pretty charmingly, but the characters running the town fall short of adding character to the film.


Written and directed by the Cullen Brothers, Mark and Robb (who had earlier worked with Bruce in 2010's Cop Out), Once Upon A Time In Venice, is a movie filled with plotlines and characters that belong to a "once upon a time" era. At least 20 years ago. Now, it is a movie you'd watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a beer in your hand, when life has gotten ludicrous and monotonous, provoking you to seek refuge in shittier things around you to help make you feel better about yourself. The movie is that old, damp, misplaced cigarette you happen to find in your shirt pocket when you are all out of smokes, and that stale old thing turns out to be your only saviour, throwing a smile on your sad, desperate little face.