Detective Knight: Independence (2023) Review

Below Average


There are some interesting ideas in Detective Knight: Independence but it’s a rather dull story, the characters fail to register and the noticeable CG muzzle flair during the action scenes takes you out of it a little. Bruce Willis at least has more to do here and he does the best he can with the material but this isn’t a movie I’d watch again.

Plot: Detective James Knight’s last-minute assignment to the Independence Day shift turns into a race against time to stop an unbalanced EMT worker who’s posing as a cop.

Review: After Detective Knight: Rogue and Redemption we come to the third and final entry in the trilogy Detective Knight: Independence starring Bruce Willis once again playing the title character. For once, he isn’t actually pushed to the side and has arguably his most prominent role in the trilogy; he still doesn’t feel like the protagonist as these movies are more about the villains and how they’ve become disillusioned with the American Dream and in this case the police force.

The main character in this movie is Dezi (Jack Kilmer) who starts off as an EMT only wanting to do good. He always wanted to be a cop but his dad didn’t want that for him and he soon discovers that cops don’t like him; his life starts to unravel and he becomes more disenchanted and it’s foreshadowed earlier on that the reason he didn’t get to be a cop was his lack of a moral compass. He eventually turns to the Dark Side and decides to rob a bank to not only help his dad keep his shelter open but he also wants revenge on the clerk who decided to sue him costing him to lose his job.

We never really sympathize with Dezi as he isn’t an especially likeable person but then very few characters are in this movie. Even Knight’s daughter has no redeeming qualities so when she is inevitably taken hostage at the end we never really care if she lives or dies.

Independence starts off well enough and like the first two movies the first 15 minutes are the best part opening with a heist gone wrong; after that there isn’t much in the way of action and what we do get is not especially interesting. There is noticeable CG muzzle flair at times and we occasionally see that before we even hear the guns go off which is weird. At 90 minutes the film should move faster than it does but the lack of any appealing characters makes it hard to get involved. Bruce does the best with what he’s given and this time Knight is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter as his job always came first; that’s pretty much all there is to him so he still isn’t an intriguing character in any way.

I do like some of the concepts for these movies as they feel very much of our time with everything in turmoil after the pandemic and people struggling to find their place in an ever changing world. There are no easy answers and the movie doesn’t really try to provide any but it does give you something to think about.

The climactic chase on the highway isn’t too bad and I think most of the flaws are just purely due to budget reasons but I think I prefer Redemption and consider that the best of the trilogy.

Overall, Detective Knight: Independence has some interesting ideas and I like how the antagonists are people who feel disillusioned with society but aside from that the characters are generally unappealing, it takes too long for any interesting action scenes (after the opening) and like the other 2 movies I never feel any real emotion while watching it.