Lead by a retro ’90s cast, Precious Cargo centres around a series of heists, wavering loyalties, dangerous crime bosses, ex lovers, and a master thief in the middle of it all. Jack, played by former teen star of Saved By The Bell fame, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and his loyal crew are coerced into a big score by Jack’s ex-lover Karen (Claire Forlani). Claiming to be carrying Jack’s child, Karen manipulates him into helping her pay back the sinister Eddie (Bruce Willis), a crime boss whom Karen crossed in a botched job and now needs to make good on in order to keep her life.
Precious Cargo leaps onto the screen with a shower of bullets and dialogue so bad you suspect (and pray) it must be intentional. Sadly, that is not the case. Gosselaar is joined by Claire Forlani, whose greatest claim to fame to this day is still probably her role in Mallrats, and cameos by Bruce Willis who clearly phoned in his performance despite top billing on the movie poster. The cast is rounded out by Daniel Bernhardt and a group of relative newcomers who likely leapt at the chance to receive billing next to Willis’ name before reading the whole script.
Speaking of the script, Precious Cargo feels like it was written in the ’90s, possibly even for the same cast, and it’s just taken this long for them to agree to star in the film. It’s reminiscent of Hollywood heists such as Jackie Brown and 2 Days in the Valley but falls short of the mark. It’s almost the caliber of The Big Hit and 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag though.
It goes without saying the characters are predictably cliché, and the only one that comes anywhere near likeable is the character of sniper/friend Logan, played by Jenna B. Kelly. Shockingly there are whole stints in which Gosselaar and Kelly don’t sound as if they’re reciting their lines. The rest of the time the audience should just be thankful that at least a third of the dialogue is drowned out by bullets, loud music, and other sound effects. Hats off to the sound mixer!
To say Precious Cargo is not the most intellectual film would be a gross understatement, but somehow it held the attention of this writer, similar to the way you can’t tear your eyes away from an impending trainwreck – which would also be a very accurate way to describe this movie. Throw in a splash of ’90s nostalgia (mostly the longing to re-watch True Romance instead) and 90 minutes of pondering “Zach Morris, where did you go wrong?” and what you’ve wound up with is surprisingly a captive viewer.