Film Review: Gasoline Alley

STUDIO: Saban/Paramount | DIRECTOR: Edward Drake | CAST: Devon Sawa, Bruce Willis and Luke Wilson, Kat Foster, Sufe Bradshaw, Johnny Dowers
SPECS: R | 100 min. | Action thriller

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie

With many down at least a dozen films in various stages of production , Bruce Willis appears very pleased to spend the rest of his career dropping into generic thrillers, doing his hard-ass shtick for a couple scenes here and there, then exiting stage left. Seemingly gone are the days when Willis would pump up a film with his machismo, physicality and sardonic humor. You could get a dose of that these days, but it’s likely his appearance will be abbreviated and forgettable.

Luke Wilson (l.), Devon Sawa and Bruce Willis in Gasoline Alley

His latest is Gasoline Alley, another serviceable but unspectacular crime saga starring Willis and Luke Wilson (Guest of Honour) as L.A. cops who think they’ve nailed the killer of three actresses in Devon Sawa (Life on the Line), a tattooed ruffian with a bad attitude, who seems to hold down a few different jobs.  Before being thrown behind bars, Sawa is given a chance to track down the real culprit in his own investigation that leads to some unsavory characters that threaten his life.

If the premise sounds generic, well, it is. Sawa, for years a regular in low-budget actioners, seems to relish the chance to take the spotlight here, and he brings some energy and edginess to the part.  Wilson and Willis clearly play second and third fiddle, and appear on screen intermittently as if to satisfy those who were drawn to the film believing they would have some major screen time. They don’t, and Sawa makes the most of it.

Directed and co-written by Edward Drake (whose previous collaborations with Willis include last year’s American Siege and 2020’s Breach), Gasoline Alley would have run smoother if there was more petrol in the tank.

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.