The first half-hour is all you need to make an informed guess that writer-director Aaron Harvey is a big fan of Quintin Tarantino and that "Catch .44" could be his homage to the latter. Its all there – a dialogue heavy script, magazine-cover character introductions, foot-tapping soundtrack during the credits, jigsaw styled plot, retro look and feel, and hair-thin tension just before everyone goes ballistic. Unfortunately, and as I said, all this works to an extent, but only during the opening acts. The rest of the film becomes a mess that not even Bruce Willis can save.
Almost entirely in flashbacks, the plot narrates that Tes (Malin Akerman), Kara (Nikki Reed) and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll) are unwitting victims in a double-crossing drug deal that is more of a setup than a heist gone wrong. Their shocking revelation comes in the shape and guise of middleman Ronny (Forrest Whitaker), before having to deal with drug dealer and crime boss Mel (Bruce Willis).
What I find unbelievable is how accomplished actors like Willis and Whitaker got caught up in this unholy mess. Is this a sign that it’s all downhill for Willis? Not to say that veteran famous actors rarely work with unknown directors, but seriously, who is Aaron Harvey? IMDB states that Harvey made just one movie prior to this and it turned out to be a straight-to-DVD disaster. So I ask again, what were Willis and Whitaker thinking? Akerman also bites the same bullet. Often regarded as the next Cameron Diaz after her R rated comedy "The Heartbreak Kid", Akerman justified her individuality in Hollywood after her role in the critically acclaimed "Watchmen". And then this? Collectively, there is apparently a great deal of effort in living out these characters, but it also appears that these actors have tried very hard when they shouldn’t have had to.
Aside from his obvious Tarantino like opening act, I bet Harvey had no idea what he was doing with the rest of the storyline and is indicative of massive alterations between the first and final draft of the screenplay. Dialogue is excruciatingly long, only to end in repetitive scenes, each time revealing a new trigger-happy character. By the end of it all, the story becomes so lame that I was happy to see everyone shot to pieces; well almost everyone. What I find annoying the most is when Harvey uses flashbacks to develop a character, but only after that character is killed. Why bother after the deed is done? Aside from this, some characters are never fully explained, like Whitaker’s Ronny. I am still trying to figure out if Ronny suffers from a multiple personality disorder or whether Harvey decided to add more and more to this character, each time we see him. I don’t even want to start with Willis as I am totally disappointed with his choice of role here. Not that he has never played a sleazeball before, it’s just that his character is not interesting enough to be vindicated with anyone with star power.
Depending on how you look at it, this movie is a waste of time and should have never been made, OR, this is a passable B movie that capitalizes on the collective star power of Willis, Whitaker and Akerman…and a Helen Hunt lookalike; or maybe it is really Helen Hunt. Who cares!