Bounty Killer Review
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When it comes to grindhouse cinema, you have to learn to be happy with a couple of hours of crass, dumb, over-the-top fun. You donít go in looking for subtlety or nuance or even much in the way of common sense, but you do expect plenty of gratuitous violence, sex, and certain loose stylistic energy. Bounty Killer, based on a graphic novel Iíve never heard of, takes its shot at all three. Unfortunately, even by the relaxed standards of its genre, it comes up wanting.

Set some 20 years or so in the future, Bounty Hunter depicts a society that has disintegrated into a Mad Max-style wasteland. Itís generally accepted that this is the fault of multinational CEOs, so a shadowy organization called The Council has placed a series of dead-or-alive bounties on former executives and white-collar criminals. Celebrity bounty hunters track and kill these elusive suits for money andÖ well, just donít think about any of this too hard. Itís clear that the writers havenít.

  
 
One of these bounty hunters, operating under the nom-de-guerre The Drifter (Matthew Marsden), finds himself outed as a former CEO himself and hunted by his former lover and protťgť, Mary Death (Christian Pitre). With his bumbling gun caddy, Jack (Barak Hardley), in tow, The Drifter heads out across the Badlands to find the Council and clear the price on his head.

Like a lot of these movies, Bounty Killers tries to make up for its lack of coherent plot by throwing a ton of mismatched elements at the screen and hoping something sticks (other than the copious amounts of CGI blood, I mean). While the overall aesthetic is straight out of the aforementioned Mad Max films, the filmmakers borrow plenty of other genre staples and mash them together. Disparate elements include but are not limited to animated sequences, car chases, shoot-outs, gypsy clans in Dia de los Muertos face paint, andóbecause why the heck not?óGary Busey.

Marsden doesnít bring much to the lead role, winding up as just another bland tough guy, while Hardleyís comic relief hits only a few good lines. Christian Pitre, however, makes up for both of them by blending sex appeal and capable action chops. I donít recall having seen her before, but she makes Mary Death much more interesting than the film should allow. If anything lasting comes out of this project, I hope itís that other filmmakers are able to give her a shot at something a bit stronger. We need more female action heroes in the cinema, and I think, with the right project, she could step up nicely.

To be honest, I want to like this film more than I actually do. Everyone involved seems to genuinely care about the project, and there are moments when it does come together into the kind of enjoyable sensory overload itís aiming for. There just arenít enough of those moments to satisfy the kind of adrenaline junkie thatís going to go through the trouble of seeking a movie like this out.


DVD Review:
Bounty Killer comes in a bare-bones package with just the feature and a single 15-minute making-of featurette. If you do happen to pick it up, give the featurette a try, as itís a nice introduction to the filmmakers and cast, most of whom have done or deserve to be in better things.

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