28th Feb2020

‘Trauma Centre’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Nicky Whelan, Bruce Willis, Texas Battle, Tito Ortiz, Steve Guttenberg | Written by Paul Da Silva | Directed by Matt Eskandari


In his latest direct-to-DVD effort, Trauma Centre, Bruce Willis plays Lt. Wakes, a vengeful police detective determined to solve the murders of his partner and an informant. Wakes joins forces with Madison (Nicky Whelan), a witness injured during the shootings. After the killers pursue Madison across the abandoned floor of a hospital, she confirms Wakes’s worst fears: the two men are actually corrupt vice cops covering up a crime.

Yet another Emmett/Furla production starring Willis, who might give Nic Cage a run for his money in terms of his appearances in DTV movies, Trauma Centre is – at its core – another in the long line of Die Hard clones, only this time they got the original Die Hard star to appear in the film… Oh and did I mention we also get Steve Guttenberg?! Yes, despite appearing nowhere on the films press materials or even as a name on the DVD cover, Mr. 80s himself makes a [cameo] appearance as a doctor at the hospital where this film goes down. Shame its only a cameo, but given that Willis was doing similar cameos to “headline” these kinds of DTV movies in the past, is it too much to hope Guttenberg graduates to a headline role in future?

However the star of Trauma Centre is neither actor, it is in fact Australian actress Nicky Whelan – who appeared in US shows such as Scrubs and Franklin & Bash but whom I remember as Nadia the fake stripper turned love interest in one of my favourite comedies The Wedding Ringer. Here Whelan gets to flex her action muscles, taking on the hero role in this Die Hard-esque tale; really showing that women can do it as well as men: doing makeshift surgery on herself and building booby traps out of nothing, much like Willis did in Die Hard (and everyone who copied from that template).

In terms of filmmaking Emmett/Furla productions are all very much the same – named actor in extended cameo to bring in audience, up and comer in lead role, a blend of action and thriller, and a decent budget that makes this look more expensive that it probably was. Much like PM Entertainment did back in the day, I’m sure the production company can churn these out to a strict budget and formula that they make their money back and more!

But whilst that works in terms of filmmaking it doesn’t really lead to anything distinctive. At least PM Entertainment had ridiculous car crashes and over the top fights in their DTV films. Here everything is bland, a paint-by-numbers affair that is pleasing to watch and won’t disappoint but will be forgotten by the time the last credit rolls. Which is unfortunate in Trauma Centre‘s case as Nicky Whelan makes for a fantastic heroine… If only Emmett/Furla would see fit to build a franchise around her, THAT would be interesting!

If you’ve picked up any recent Bruce Willis direct to DVD films you know what to expect with Trauma Centre. And as such your mileage may vary…

Trauma Centre is available now on Digital Download and DVD 24th February 2020. Order on Amazon now: https://amzn.to/2vnEJtG


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