Liam Case (Cuba Gooding Jr) loses his wife in an ugly car accident. Unable to free her from the drowning car he suffers watching her die. Years later, bitter Liam is working as a garbage man, along with his friend Swain (Norman Reedus).
One day, Liam saves a little girl from the burning car, and quickly becomes a local hero. Despite the fact that he still carries the pain of loss with him, he feels good because he saved the little girl. Days later, he sees a young woman working in a bank that reminds him of his wife.
Desperate to know the woman better, Liam decides to make his move. And he picks one hell of a way to do the introduction – he asks Swain to enter the same bank as a robber and Liam would “save” the situation, thus becoming a hero in the eyes of the woman.
Swain of course isn’t doing this alone, bringing a bunch of friends with him. Liam has no idea, so when the wild bunch enters the bank – as usual – things go wrong. In this case, the woman Liam likes so much gets accidentally shot.
Liam, wounded himself, enraged, vows revenge on the whole gang. Two cops (Ray Liotta, Todd Jensen) investigating the case, looking for clues that would lead them to Liam.
The budget for this film was reportedly only $7 million, and yet it has quite a cast. Ray Liotta and Cuba Gooding Jr are no longer considered A-list actors by major studios, yet it doesn’t mean they have lost their talent completely.
Liotta has limited screen time as a cop, along with Todd Jensen who has been playing cops in majority of his movies. Gooding is not as vivid here as in “The Hit List”, that was released two years later, and yet he portrays a believable lead.
Another great addition to the cast is Ben Cross, a very solid actor, who most of the time suffers from bad projects. “Hero Wanted” sadly cannot be considered one of his better roles, yet he does have a few good scenes with Gooding Jr.
“Hero Wanted” wasn’t easy to swallow, because the story is not presented to you in a chronological order – in fact the first 40 minutes the plot is twisted as hell, throwing viewer back and forth, and this is anything but relaxing.
Aside from that there were some disturbing scenes as well. Remember the little girl that Liam saves? Well in the middle of the film this 12 year old tries to tell Liam that she likes him as a man.
Next scene – remember the woman that got shot in the bank? Well, her 60 year old mother seems to like Liam a lot more than he would want. Anyway, these two very tiny scenes in the story were disturbing in my opinion. I am sure Cuba felt the same way somewhere inside.
Overall, this is neither fish nor fowl – too blank for a serious thriller, and not enough action to be considered a real action movie. Although I’d recommend watching it once.
The film was dedicated to Steven Kozlowski, who coincidentally died both in film and in real life. “Hero Wanted” was his last movie.