Preview: Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

Preview: Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

The cover to Eagle Entertainment’s release of the film

Film: I am very easily convinced into watching a film based on the stars involved in it, and even though the name ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass’ sounds like some nonsense from a Dr. Seuss book, I was able to overlook that when I saw that it starred Die Hard’s Bruce Willis, who I could watch in anything, and Megan Fox, an actor who I loved in Jennifer’s Body, Transformers (of which she was possibly the best thing) and her coquettish turn in the Simon Pegg flop How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, a film that I think is actually quite hilarious.

Megan Fox as Lombardo

This is the first film directed by Randall Emmett, a producer who has been involved in action movies like Boss Level and The Irishman, and was written (and produced) by newcomer Alan Horsnail, and is based on the murders of Robert Ben Rhodes, aka The Truck Stop Killer, a serial killer convicted of three murders, but is suspect of about 50 others, and who is still to this day in prison.

Bruce Willis as Karl Helter

Midnight in the Switchgrass tells of FBI agents Karl Helter (Bruce Willis) and Rebecca Lombardo (Megan Fox) who are hot on the tail of a sex trafficking ring when their investigation crosses paths with that of Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent, Byron Crawford (Emile Hirsch) who is investigating a series of missing/ murdered women.

Emilie Hirsch as Crawford

It’s around this time in the film that we are introduced to truck-driving family man, Peter (Lucas Haas) who has a horrible secret: he’s the murderer that Crawford is looking for!

Machine Gun Kelly as Calvin

The two agencies combine forces and information, some collected from sex trafficker Calvin (Machine Gun Kelly), and they start to close in, but will Lombardo’s undercover skills put her at risk?

This isn’t a bad film, but I do think it may be about 20 years too late. I’m sure this film would have been a pretty popular film then, but now, with TV shows that tell similar stories becoming so popular, it’s just out of time.

The heroes of the piece are definitely Hirsch with his wide-eyed cop who just wants to finish ‘the job’ of saving these young women, and surprisingly Machine Gun Kelly was pretty good as the scumbag pimp… though the person who watched this with me who knows his non-acting work better than suggested that his personality may not have been too different from his own. Lukas Haas wasn’t bad either but his creepy performance came more from his looks that anything else.

Megan Fox was ok in the film, but was more convincing in the victim role than the cop, unfortunately Bruce Willis felt like he just turned up to collect a pay cheque, and disappears half way through.

I have to point out one thing: there is a particularly unintentionally funny bit in the first few minutes where Fox has to subdue Machine Gun Kelly’s character, and I don’t know if it was that the actors afraid of hurting each other or the direction was lacking but I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a more awkward fight scene in a movie

This is the thing though; I really loved those thrillers from the late 90s and early 2000s like Taking Lives, Copycat and The Bone Collector, and even the ones a bit later like Alex Cross and Jack Reacher, so I actually quite enjoyed it. It is certainly not as good as some of those films, but if they made a sequel to this with Fox and Hirsch in it, I’d probably give it a go.

Score: ***

Lukas Haas as Peter

Preview copy was provided by Eagle Entertainment and watched via the Vimeo app.