The mad-bomber thriller “Hot Seat” gives you a moment — here and there — where you’re allowed at least the hope that this will amount to something — an action beat that works, a plot twist you don’t expect, a clever clue.
It’s got Mel Gibson and Kevin Dillon in it, so maybe it’ll get off the C-list and manage to achieve B-movie status.
But those moments are fleeting in a movie that is instantly awful even if it never quite crosses over into hatefully bad.
It’s about a bomber/blackmailer/robber on the loose at Christmas season somewhere in the urban sprawl of New Mexico. And here’s what we see in the opening scene of the latest by James Cullen Bressack, a filmmaker who finally takes a break from his helping Bruce Willis (“Fortress,” “Surviving the Game”) destroy his legacy.
A character blows on his hands in the winter cold, when it’s plainly not the least bit cold, as others — not Canadians, we assume — walk around in shirt sleeves. We see an old fashioned LED timer counting down, and then see the bomb actually triggered by a key fob instead.
Well, which was it? I’m so confused.
“Hot Seat” is “Speed” in an office chai, “Speed” without any sense of “speed” or urgency whatsoever.
An “I’m not in the game anymore” hacker (Dillon), his marriage on the rocks and stuck in a computer repair call center, learns his chair is wired to explode if he gets up before carrying out an online hack/heist for a mysterious, voice-synthesized villain in a hoodie.
Stuff blows up, which shows everybody this guy means business. Gibson and Eddie Steeples play the geezer and the newbie from the bomb squad who have to figure out what’s going on, as the police chief (Shannen Doherty, worse than ever) is ready to let SWAT shoot this ogre in an office chair and be done with it.
Younger bomb squad guy bickers with old bomb squad guy.
“Listen, Ol’ Yeller…” “Listen, ‘Action Jackson.'”
Old guy taunts other cops about where to stand, the advantages of “the debris zone,” because they’re standing in the “vapor zone.”
Young guy snarks to old guy that “Chief wanted me to remind yo to stop leaving your Cialis out.”
And Dillon, a lifetime of playing third banana mugs behind him, is supposed to be “Mr. Ivy League” whom the the mostly-unseen villain keeps yelling “TICK TOCK TICK TOCK” into his ear as he scrambles to hack his way into wherever the money or what-not is kept.
The situation has suspense built into it, but there is none. The premise is predicated on urgency. We never feel it.
And the viewer never gets further into the thought that “This might not be all…” than that, before the next eye-rolling, dumb or absurdly illogical thing pops on screen to break the “might be almost competent” spell.
Rating: R for violence and profanity
Cast: Kevin Dillon, Shannen Doherty, Lydia Hull, Eddie Steeples, Kate Katzman and Mel Gibson
Credits: Directed by James Cullen Bressack, scripted by Leon Langford and Collin Watts. . A Lionsgate release.
Running time: 1:39