Thursday, February 14, 2013

In short: Hunt To Kill (2010)

In theory, border patrol beefcake Jim Rhodes (Steve Austin) has plans to use the winter break of his daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos) - action movie hero daughters are all called Kim for contractual reasons - for some quality bonding time. There will in fact be bonding time for the two of them but of a rather more violent manner, for the gang of raving lunatics - among them good old Gary Daniels - of a certain Banks (Gil Bellows) has come to the mountains of Montana to hunt down their former boss (Michael Hogan) who absconded with a lot of money and tried to blow them up.

When their paths accidentally cross, the bad guys kidnap Rhodes and Kim because they need a wilderness guide to find their intended target. Whatever happened to paying a shady alcoholic for these things? Of course, seeing as this is a direct-to-DVD action film, violence ensues soon enough.

Ah, the horrors of basic competence. No single element of (direct-to-DVD, but you already knew that) Hunt to Kill is remarkable in any way or form: Keoni Waxman's direction is serviceable if you're not afraid of films on whose frame composition has not been spent a single thought beyond "are the actors in the frame?". The acting is okay in a very okay manner with Bellows doing his best to be a scenery chewing psychopath but unable to ever not come across as a basically nice guy playing a psychopath, Austin glowering a lot (surprise), and everyone else being kinda there. Eric Roberts pops in to die in the pre-credit sequence, for an international superstar of his calibre is clearly too pricey for the film at hand. The script is clichéd and kinda dumb yet not so dumb the film gets ridiculous or interesting, and there's no visible effort to bend any cliché even in the slightest; the only black character is not only the rapey one but also dies first, for Cthulhu's sake. The action is barely okay, with some decent poky-stick-based gore once Austin's character channels his inner serial killer, and hot rock-climbing and ATV racing action as supposed highpoints, but never a moment to actually wow anyone.

These aren't the elements of a film that's horrible in any way, shape, or form, but of a film completely lacking in actual personality, the cheap burger of action movie-dom. At least I learned from Hunt to Kill that to best way for a father and daughter to bond is for her to realize that Daddy is the kind of guy who kills people he has already rendered helpless.

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