Once Upon a Time in Venice boasts an impressive cast of actors. Unfortunately, this movie has been released twenty years beyond its potential relevance and fanfare. The star of Once Upon a Time in Venice is Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis has not been a prominent actor in many years and it has been approximately a decade since he was a standalone movie star. To be blunt, his star has faded, past tense. His career longevity and refusal to choose rolls that are age-demographic appropriate casts aspersions on Once Upon a Time in Venice.
It is a sad day in our American movie industry when someone of Willis' talent, stardom, and larger-than-life persona has ostensibly vanished into the ether, but that is the nature of this business. Even Sean Connery got old, but at least he knew when to say when. Bruce Willis is fabulous in Once Upon a Time in Venice, and the script is written perfectly for a Bruce Willis role, but Bruce Willis is yesterday's news. Translation; Once Upon a Time in Venice is a great movie with a hint of Bruce Willis' charm and unabashed defiance, but released at a minimum one decade too late to earn or receive the rousing reception it deserves.
Once Upon a Time in Venice is about a disgraced nudist police officer (Bruce Willis depicting Steve Ford) turned private dick (detective), and his family and cohorts. There is a lethargic surfing dude John Goodman fresh off losing two hundred pounds and in the middle of a divorce he prefers to prolong. His sister is portrayed by the lovely Famke Janssen, with sprinkles of Adam Goldberg rehashing his Jewish shtick (once funny, now borderline offensive to us fellow Semites), Thomas Middleditch as private detective John (spoiler alert, he sucks as an actor and as a narrator), and Jason Momoa (Aquaman and Khal Drogo) as Spider. Hey, at least Spider is spelled properly in this instance. Extra credit!
Once Upon a Time in Venice simply fails before it begins. Willis' character rides a skateboard naked, and provides hackneyed pep-talks to kids that are straight from the early 80s. I should go watch the first Die Hard, Color of Night, or maybe even Karate Kid instead. This movie suffers from being anachronistic. In any event, it is worth watching on Netflix, but hardly worth a DVD rental. Enjoy it if you can forgive its misgivings.