Director: Jesse V. Johnson
Cast: Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, Olga Kurylenko
Release Date: August 2, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 3.5/10
Disc Rating: 5.5/10
In WHITE ELEPHANT, when an assassination attempt is witnessed by two cops, Gabriel Tancredi, an ex-marine turned mob enforcer (Michael Rooker), is ordered by his ruthless mob boss (Bruce Willis) to eliminate any and all threats. With an eager underling out to prove himself, rival gangs making moves and a rising body count, every step Tancredi makes threatens lives…including his own.
Please Note: RLJE Films provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘White Elephant’ accompanies ex-marine turned mob enforcer Gabriel Tancredi (Rooker) who finds himself in hot water with the dangerous mob boss (Willis) that employs him after a hit his partner in training Carlos (Derbez) was tasked with is witnessed by two cops. When Tancridi and Carlos are ordered by their heated boss to eradicate all of the potential loose ends it quickly escalates to an all-out war instigated against numerous parties which leads to danger for foes and allies on both ends and enough chaos to take them all down if they aren’t careful.
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson (The Debt Collector, The Beautiful Ones) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote with Erik Martinez (Beyond the Mat), Johnson does a decent job at the helm of ‘White Elephant’ keeping this low-budget action film looking fairly sharp and clean for the most part at least. The film’s cast features a number of talented individuals and includes Michael Rooker (The Suicide Squad), Bruce Willis (Sin City), Olga Kurylenko (Black Widow), Vadhir Derbez (The Seventh Day) and John Malkovich (Bird Box) along with more, although the sloppy story and often tacky dialogue doesn’t allow much room for any of them to really shine.
‘White Elephant’ initially shows some promise at the onset and takes its time to do something less common in films such as this by trying to establish some depth to the characters within before descending into the senseless violence that fans of these sort of action flicks tend to enjoy. Unfortunately too many of those attempts fail to deliver adequately and as things continue stumbling along, the film eventually resorts to some entirely illogical and drastically out of character twists and turns in order to find somewhere for this confused and uncertain tale to go.
‘White Elephant’ has a few positive elements in its favor such as a few quite decent and bloody action sequences and a handful of notable and talented actors to attract attention, although once things truly go off the rails it becomes hard to appreciate the glimmers of things that work as they’re far too frequently forgotten by the blatantly bad elements that become increasingly more difficult to ignore as the story progresses (so to speak at least). Those who are diehard fans of Rooker, Willis, Malkovich or other cast members within may still want to give this one a chance, but if you’re not already actively excited for ‘White Elephant’ then it probably won’t be worth the time or effort to bother with.
Overall, ‘White Elephant’ is a rather disappointing mess of an action film that tries to take its time to establish its characters before it sends them into one violent showdown after another, but is unfortunately unable to figure out precisely what to do with them. Utilizing some random twists and behavioral turns for a few characters that are anything but logical, its great cast and other positive elements are easily forgotten once the messy script and troubling missteps start to pile up. If you’re a fan of mediocre action movies or are a diehard fan of some of the notable key cast members then you may want to give ‘White Elephant’ a whirl at some point, although I would strongly encourage renting it instead of making a blind purchase. If you’re not already dead set on checking this one out though, I would suggest just skipping it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘White Elephant’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty good as a whole and offers a clean, smooth and nicely detailed presentation for the majority of its duration. It holds up well even during the various darkly lit and fast moving sequences throughout without anything onscreen becoming problematic or negatively affected aside from the minor exception of a few shots that look unintentionally dull or blurred, yet fortunately those are brief as well as few and far between. Overall, this is a pretty solid high definition video presentation that may not be outstanding but delivers quite nicely in almost every regard.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack is somewhat of a mixed bag and while much of it is largely clean, crisp and even aggressive at times, there are also a few odd irregularities to be uncovered throughout. It utilizes all five available channels in order to send some music, bullets and other action related effects throughout the various speakers when appropriate and while the majority of dialogue and other audio elements remain audible and fairly clean for the most part, there are a number of scenes where the dialogue almost sounds hollow and dull, similar to a tin can distortion effect. Fortunately even with the odd noticeable hollowness on occasion, the actual dialogue and effects are still clear and understandable. Overall, this is a somewhat disappointing 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds pretty great at times but falters at others.
The Blu-ray release of ‘White Elephant’ does not include any bonus content.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 3.5/10
Disc Rating: 5.5/10
‘White Elephant’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from RLJE Films
*Screen-Connections.com is an Amazon Associate that earns from qualifying purchases