The film opens with Jimmy (Devon Sawa) sitting at a bar alone, keeping to himself. He’s approached by an attractive woman named Star (Irina Antonenko), and the two begin to flirt. We next see Jimmy on a new day working at his tattoo parlour, Gasoline Alley. While giving one of his customers a tattoo, Jimmy is greeted by Detective Bill Freeman (Bruce Willis) and Detective Freddy Vargas (Luke Wilson).
The two detectives are working on a homicide case in which several women were brutally murdered, including the mysterious Star. Based on the detective’s current findings, Jimmy is the prime suspect. It doesn’t help that Jimmy has a criminal record and a dark past. But sadly, there’s not enough evidence to convict Jimmy on the spot. Jimmy decides to start his own investigations, discover the truth and prove his innocence.
Gasoline Alley is a slow-burning thriller and noir detective-type story in which we follow Jimmy questioning various people. Each person he questions takes him to a new clue with the end game of hopefully finding out who is behind the brutal crime and clearing his name. Watching Jimmy investigate at first seems interesting enough, but it’s short-lived until audiences feel bored and lose interest in the story. The film attempts to make big reveals, but these are either predictable or weak.
Performances are sadly disappointing. Devon Sawa, as Jimmy, gives the greater performance out of all involved. Bruce Willis fans will again be disappointed by his lack of presence on screen (even though he is top billing), and the delivery of his lines never seems to have a natural flow with the rest of the dialogue. As always, Luke Wilson attempts to be the wise-cracking guy, but his character never feels fitting or suitable. After all, he’s supposed to be a professional detective who soon becomes exhausting and uninteresting to watch.
Continuity errors are also present throughout the duration, including a visible stunt double for Devon Sawa during a car chase. You can easily see there are stand-in actors for Bruce Willis, and some of these actors have hair! Lighting is questionable, and some scenes have a close, bright light on the cast, not matching the rest of the scene’s surroundings and casting shadows. The musical score is vague and highly forgettable.
Overall, while actor Devon Sawa is giving a great effort to the leading role, it kills me to say it, but I found this film extremely disappointing. With a plot that becomes uninteresting quickly, it is a hard slog. Continuity errors, poor lighting, obvious stand-ins and stunt doubles all add to the disinterest. The musical score is bland and forgettable, along with the attempts at big reveals, which are quite predictable. As a story, it’s a complete eye-rolling experience that becomes vague and boring very quickly, and Bruce Willis fans will be saddened yet again to see the action star is hardly in the film.