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Gasoline Alley (2022) Review

February 22, 2022

Quick ThoughtsGasoline Alley – Grade – C- – : It’s a shame that most of the press about this movie will be about Bruce Willis and his run of easy money performances, because Devon Sawa turns in a solid performance that is equal parts weathered, physical and determined. Gasoline Alley is much better than director Edward Drake’s other films Cosmic Sin and American Siege, but it desperately wants to be stylish, which works against it as the style never feels organic.

Produced by 308 Entertainment, who also released Cosmic Sin, Apex, and Breach in 2020 and 2021, Gasoline Alley is different from its predecessors in that it’s much more visually impressive and doesn’t involve space travel or aliens. Most importantly, it features an impressive performance from Devon Sawa who between Hunter Hunter, The Fanatic, and Disturbing the Peace, has been on an impressive run in low budget films. His character Jimmy Jayne is a chain-smoking tattoo artist who become embroiled in a murder mystery that involves human trafficking, dirty cops, and neon-drenched bars. The best parts of Gasoline Alley revolve around Sawa rolling up his sleeves, and using his height (he’s 6’0 feet, which is huge by Hollywood standards) and muscular frame to intimidate people while explore the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles (AKA Georgia) looking for a murderer. During his journey he comes across detectives Freeman (Bruce Willis) and Vargas (Luke Wilson) who initially suspect him after finding one of the lighters he gives out to promote his tattoo business Gasoline Alley. After deciding he isn’t a suspect, they form an uneasy truce which leaves Danny free to hunt down the killer and expose a conspiracy. 

The screenplay by Drake and Tom Sierchio (who wrote The Girl Who Invented Kissing, which stars Luke Wilson and Johnny Messner, who is one of the 24 producers on this movie) puts a lot of focus on cigarette smoking characters spouting noir-ish dialogue while drenched in neon lights that adorn the ceilings of seedy bars or homes. While there is an occasional solid bit of dialogue involving Citizen Kane, swap meets or name placement on a call sheet, it never feels totally organic and the dialogue occasionally has a clipped vibe that either comes down to the script, editing or coverage of scenes. Also, It is understandable why the producers would want Bruce Willis involved (a worldwide release and guaranteed press), but his scenes are wild to watch as he only delivers one word responses or labored sentences that made me want to research his state of mind. It’s clear he was only there a few days for a hefty paycheck, but his appearances are distracting and take away from the movie. 

The cinematography by Brandon Cox (Cut Throat City, Cosmic Sin) is the Co-MVP of the film because it’s quite ambitious and there are moments and conversations that look really good. Cox put in a lot of work to make the film look good, and the mostly on-location shoot adds a nice level of grit to the proceedings. 

Final thoughts – I can’t wait to see what Devon Sawa does next because I really enjoyed his performance here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2022 10:39 am

    Thanks for the review. It seems you can’t load a streaming service without seeing a slew of Bruce Willis movies popping up before your eyes. Sadly, most of them seem subpar to me. I’ve turned off more half way through than I’ve finished. They are still in my queue, I want to watch them and want to like them, but I can’t do either. I’ll start this one (avoiding saying “watch” as that implies finish it), but I hope it is better than the others.

    • February 24, 2022 10:42 am

      The good news is that it’s a Devon Sawa film with an occasional Bruce Willis appearance. I would say it’s better than the others.

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