The third and final part of the Detective Knight movie trilogy, “Detective Knight: Independence,” has been released worldwide, which marks veteran star Bruce Willis’ (who portrays the titular character) penultimate role on the silver screen as he has decided to retire from acting due to medical concerns. The movie also posits itself among a series of lackluster direct-to-video releases starring the actor, a sad reminder of the downward slope at the tail end of the artist’s career. Director Edward Drake, the collaborator of the actor’s last few ventures, has chosen a character-driven approach to question the role of police as the executive authority of American governance and in what manner the changing public perception is affecting that. As interesting as the subject matter might sound, a lackadaisical approach from the director, a disastrous screenplay, and downright terrible acting leaves already lessened expectations unfulfilled.
‘Detective Knight: Independence’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The movie begins with a POV-driven bank robbery scene, as the audience sees from the perspective of a perp. The scene plays out like first-person shooter games and is a nice callback to the movie “Hardcore Henry”. After wounding the bank manager, the perps try to escape only to get confronted by police. Two police officers and two offenders die as Detective James Knight and Detective Fitz enter the scene, and the third one holds a civilian hostage in order to flee the scene. James shoots the perp to death while the hostage is held dangerously close to the assailant. The newly recruited EMT professionals, Dezi and Ally, rush to the scene. Despite sensing one of the offenders to be in a near-death situation, Dezi ignores him at Detective Fitz’s suggestion and rescues the manager.
It is revealed that James is going through a divorce and has an estranged relationship with his daughter, something he wishes to mend. The scene shifts to a police bar where the cops are mourning the recent death of their co-workers. After a hectic day’s work, Dezi and Ally enter the bar to cool off. Soon, Dezi gets into an argument with Officers Sango and George when they insult his profession of being a paramedic, which results in the former getting beaten up and thrown out of the bar. After returning to Dezi’s apartment, he and Ally get intimate. Dezi reveals he had the aspiration of becoming a cop but was denied in the interview due to his father’s criminal background. As they continue their relationship, the monotonous, rigorous routine of EMT starts taking a toll on Dezi’s mental health.
Dezi visits his ex-convict father, who is now running a shelter for impoverished youth. He comes to know from his father that the shelter has been defunded by the state due to budget cuts. Meanwhile, James has been called for psychological evaluation after his risky stunt of killing a perp in close proximity to a hostage—and given his history of extrajudicial killing (DK: Rogue). Upon questioning, he reveals he wishes to make his daughter proud and feel safe—that’s why he had joined the force in the first place. However, he walks away from evaluation after his past is brought up—that his father, a bank manager, was shot dead during his childhood, referencing the incidents shown in the flashback sequence of “DK: Rogue.”
Dezi is called by his supervisor for questioning as the earlier instance of not offering medical assistance to the criminal has been witnessed. Dezi uses the excuse of triage to no avail. Also, the bank manager they rescued is pressing charges against the department due to the “emotional trauma’ suffered at the hands of incompetent paramedics. A frustrated Dezi lashes out and promptly loses his job. Already on the brink of derangement, Dezi musters enough courage to steal the uniform, badge, and firearm of a dead cop and indulge in pro-cop radicalized youtube content.
As Dezi continues to descend inside the rabbit hole of provocative digital content, he becomes even more daring in his attempts to pose as a cop and gains even more confidence after roving inside LAPD HQ undetected. During one such round of playing pretend routine, he visits the same bank where the former incidents took place and is invited by the manager into the vault, who is under the assumption that Dezi is conducting an inspection. After taking a thorough look inside, Dezi contemplates a heist to provide for the youth shelter. As he leaves, a woman mistakes him for real police and asks for his help to save his husband – who is getting beaten up by muggers. In the process of apprehending the criminals after rescuing the civilian, Dezi gets into a scuffle with a goon and kills him by misfire. Panicked and radicalized beyond control, he ends up killing the rest of the three assailants.
Ally returns and gets into an argument with Dezi regarding the actions of the unknown cop-pretender. Dezi states his father’s perspective about the bastardization of social structures at the hands of police and compares them to slave owners. Ally is unable to relate or agree to Dezi’s point of view and leaves. Dezi goes to his father and convinces him to rob the bank to secure a safer future for the shelter. As his father agrees, two of his criminal associates join Dezi in planning.
The Fourth of July approaches, and Dezi and his crew prepare for the heist. It is revealed that James’ daughter is, in fact, Ally. Dezi’s crew breaks into the bank and kills the manager along with the guards. James and Fitz arrive at the scene and engage in a gunfight with Dezi. Ally arrives as part of the first responder EMT and is held hostage by Dezi. After a prolonged car chase, two of the goons get killed, and James Knight confronts Dezi. After a brief altercation regarding the nature of the profession, James manages to find an opening and wounds him by shooting. The movie ends with a right hook from James Knight to Dezi, a greeting of “Fourth,” followed by an “affectionate” catchphrase popularized by Samuel L. Jackson.
‘Detective Knight: Independence’ Ending Explained – Was Dezi A Victim Of Copaganda?
There is a nifty parallel of the side-by-side sequence shown in the movie of paramedics and police preparing for the day’s job as first responders, and the movie does well in showcasing the vile glorification of executive authorities by the privileged, given their mutual interest in the exploitation of the hapless. Dezi’s family heritage of criminality becomes a hindrance in his possible career among “blue blood” and is all too real and could have made a decent redemption arc if the makers opted to choose the reformed career of his father as the mainstay. The conversation regarding what makes a “good cop” could have been interesting too if they’d invested a bit more space in it. Muscling and other destructive “thrill-seeking” interests which are commonplace for the people in authority are addressed to showcase the reckless nature that comes with arrogance of power. Another interesting and timely topic was radicalization through the internet, as Dezi gobbles up the copagandist narratives blurted out by YouTubers without question.
On the one hand, his hatred for authority grows as his father’s influences align with his personal experience; on the other hand, in his unhinged state, he goes over his head to showcase his bravado in becoming an “ideal” cop. The extrajudicial activities of the police in real life have received the ire of the general public but also became the cause of major negative influences through the years, and none are more susceptible than impressionable youth. These ideas, however, remain in the potential stages as the movie flounders all over in every single department. The titular character of the movie, portrayed by Bruce Willis, appears for the least amount of time on screen, and most of the scenes during the ending were poorly dubbed. There are two action sequences in the entire movie, and the climactic one becomes hilariously bad after a point due to badly put-together scenes. How bad the screenplay might be, can be hinted at by the mention of the “we live in a society” dialogue and a comparison of a scenario with GTA, remarked by the movie characters unironically. Poorly acted scenes make the ordeal worse, and there are even unedited scenes with black screens in the movie. What could have been an interesting character-oriented scrutiny of the executive machination ultimately became an extremely forgettable cop caper, a poor admixture-imitation of numerous better movies.