Movie icons and Pulp Fiction costars Bruce Willis and John Travolta face off in this action-packed thriller. When bounty hunter Ian Swan (Willis) is shot and presumed dead after disappearing in Maui waters, Swan’s son, Ryan (Blake Jenner), his ex-partner (Stephen Dorff), and a local detective (Praya Lundberg) set out to find his killers. After being threatened by a ruthless power broker (Travolta), it appears Ryan and his team are out of options — until an excursion to the closely guarded island community of Paradise City unites them with an unforeseen ally.

What We Thought:

Watching Paradise City made me sad. No, not because it’s that bad, it’s not good, but I’ve seen far worse straight-to-home video/streaming movies out there. It made me sad because it’s the first time I’ve really seen Bruce Willis not be able to lead a cast. Most people nowadays know about his health issues and how he banged out so many movies before he retired, but this was the first time I genuinely felt he shouldn’t even be in the movie. His delivery was slow and his movements are very rigid for a once king of action movies.

Because of his health he’s barely in the film. It opens with him, but then introduces the real leads, Blake Jenner who plays his son, Stephen Dorff, his once bounty hunter partner, and John Travolta as a rich type trying to change Hawaii. You immediately don’t trust Travolta and know there is more to him. Jenner and Dorff sort of team up with a Native female cop. They want to figure out who all is involved and track down a high priced bounty. 

It’s based in Hawaii so it’s all very pretty, but it’s as generic as it comes. Despite two big names in Willis and Travolta, the acting just isn’t great. Blake Jenner gives a wooden performance. Dorff does his typical thing and no one comes across as anything beyond stereotypical. It was shot in a matter of weeks and you can tell that it was rushed and got pushed through. Willis probably shot for a few days with Travolta most likely doing the same thing. I’ve seen shows like Hawaii 50 and Magnum PI look like they have better production value. 

Paradise City tries a big surprise reveal that you should definitely see coming. The action isn’t anything special nor is the plot, direction and acting. If it wasn’t for the location it would be 100% by-the-numbers. It’s a shame this will be one of the last performances we see from Willis and that this is the first time since Pulp Fiction both him and Travolta are in the same film. He deserves better.


  • Audio Commentary with Director-Cowriter Chuck Russell and Actor Blake Jenner
  • The Road to Paradise City: A Conversation with Praya Lundberg and Chuck Russell
  • My Time in Paradise: Chuck Russell’s Adventures in Hollywood

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