The best way to get your low-budget film made is to get a big name to star in it, even if it’s as a cameo or supporting character. The Fanatic grabbed John Travolta as its lead protagonist, and somehow The Madness Within scored Lily Tomlin for a brief phone scene. You get the “name,” because no matter the quality of the movie, fans of the “name” will see it. In Trauma Center, director Matt Eskandari and writer Paul Da Silva struck gold with their star Bruce Willis.
At its core, Trauma Center is a complex game of cat and mouse. You have corrupt police officers playing the cat and unsuspecting victim Madison (Nicky Whelan) and Det. Wakes (Bruce Willis) as the mouse. Like most action thrillers, the film is less about the plot and more about the action. The action cycles through the mice hiding, the cat hunting, the mice running, cats chasing, mice are caught, then the mice escape and hide again.
“…Wakes hides Madison in an abandoned wing of the hospital to keep her safe.”
The location of Trauma Center is San Juan, Puerto Rico, where American law enforcement rejects don the badge of justice in this U.S. Territory. These corrupt cops, Det. Pierce (Tito Ortiz) and Sargeant Tull (Texas Battle) just murdered an accomplice in a nearby warehouse, who had incriminating evidence about them on his phone. Meanwhile, Det. Wake’s partner Tony (Tyler Jon Olson), is sent to investigate the warehouse murder.
Now we shift to the sympathetic heroine, Madison, who finds herself at the wrong place and the wrong time. First, our sympathies for Madison as she’s living in Puerto Rico, so she can earn enough to raise your younger sister after their mother died. Life is not easy for Madison, she works hard, and her teenage sister hates her. At the end of her shift, Madison goes in the back of the coffee shop and stumbles over the dead body of Tony.
"…a complex game of cat and mouse."