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‘Marauders’: A-list actors give their all in a B-movie mystery

An FBI agent (Christopher Meloni) talks to a bank exec (Bruce Willis) in “Marauders.” | Lionsgate Premiere

You’re probably not going to catch “Marauders” in theaters because it’s hardly flooding the markets this weekend — but some night in the not-too-distant future when you’re exploring your On Demand titles or you click to a cable channel and you’re given the option to “Start Program From Beginning,” give it a whirl.

Especially if you’re a fan of B-movie crime-thriller noir mysteries where it’s always raining. As violent and derivative as “Marauders” is, there’s something almost comforting about wading through the lurid muck and trying to figure out which good guys are really bad guys and which bad guys might have deeper motives, and what’s up with Bruce Willis and that goatee, anyway?

The cast includes so many familiar faces you wonder how they all wound up in Cincinnati, making a movie called “Marauders.”

Willis plays Jeffrey Hubert, the head of a giant banking firm. (In an early monologue about a spider clinging to the window outside Hubert’s office, we wonder if Willis is making it up as he goes along, or just having great fun with the script by Michael Cody and Chris Siverston.)

Christopher Meloni, who has played cops for longer stretches than many cops have been cops (and inmates for longer stretches than many inmates have been inmates), is FBI Agent Jonathan Montgomery, who haunted by the death of his wife, an undercover agent who was tortured and killed when she was made.

Adrien Grenier (a Vinny from “Entourage” sighting!) is a former Special Forces operative turned FBI agent, and yep, that’s a stretch. Pro wrestling’s Dave Bautista, who has perhaps the closest human form to the physique of The Thing on the planet, is entertaining as all get out as a crude, rude but dedicated FBI agent. Johnathon Schaech is excellent as Mims, a possible corrupt cop with a wife who is dying of cancer.

“Marauders” features a number of bloody, slo-mo set pieces in which a gang of violent sickos holds up one of Hubert’s banks — and usually executes at least one employee whether it’s necessary or not. The FBI and the local cops are at odds about how to conduct the investigation (there’s a first for you), but as the body count piles up and the hunt for the mastermind behind the robberies intensifies, “Marauders” actually becomes more interesting and more involving.

It’s pulp, but it has real actors doing real acting in a gritty story — which is a lot more than can be said for some of the much more high-profile buddy cop movies of the last couple of years.

★★★

Lionsgate Premiere presents a film directed by Steven C. Miller and written by Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated R (for strong violence, language, brief drug use and nudity). Opens Friday at AMC South Barrington and on demand.