Combustible Celluloid Review - Detective Knight: Independence (2023), Edward Drake, Corey Large, Edward Drake, Bruce Willis, Jack Kilmer, Willow Shields, Lochlyn Munro, Dina Meyer, Jimmy Jean-Louis
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With: Bruce Willis, Jack Kilmer, Willow Shields, Lochlyn Munro, Dina Meyer, Jimmy Jean-Louis
Written by: Edward Drake, Corey Large
Directed by: Edward Drake
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, brief drug use and sexuality
Running Time: 91
Date: 01/20/2023

Detective Knight: Independence (2023)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Good 'Knight'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The final chapter of the Detective Knight trilogy (see also Detective Knight: Rogue and Detective Knight: Redemption), this action/thriller has almost nothing to do with the previous two entries, and despite some ambitious ideas, it's very simply listless and cursory.

Knight (Bruce Willis) makes a vain attempt to re-connect with his estranged daughter. Then, after a brutal shootout at a bank in which a cop is killed, EMTs Dezi (Jack Kilmer) and Ally (Willow Shields) arrive on the scene. Knight's partner Fitz (Lochlyn Munro) urges Dezi to ignore a wounded robber and tend to the bank manager. Because of this, Dezi loses his job. Having always dreamed of being a police officer, but unable to pass the tests, Dezi steals a police uniform, badge, and gun, and heads out on a vigilante mission of his own, on the Fourth of July. Can Knight save the day?

Once again directed by Edward Drake, the action in Detective Knight: Independence is built around star Willis, who struggles with aphasia and only appears in a few scenes, and rarely speaks directly to others in the same shot. The bulk of the movie centers on the Dezi character, an EMT who fancies himself in the same league with the police, and is surprised when he is hassled at a local cop bar.

We see him being influenced (brainwashed?) by a radical podcaster, but conversations about police violence and defunding are dropped and left to fade away. All the characters established in the first two movies are gone, and even Knight and Fitz's friendship is ignored. An attempt to pluck at the heartstrings in the final stretch falls flat. There seems to be no reason for Detective Knight: Independence to really exist except as a "Part 3" placeholder to sell a "trilogy."

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