Yes, thank goodness that B movies are still being made today. B movies, Grindhouse flicks, throwaway pictures … whatever you want to call them. For many of us, they’re a staple from our youth – a harmless diversion of cinematic entertainment that’s clearly meant to be derivative of some bigger, bolder, but no doubt blander. Considering what goes hand-in-hand with the B movie – action, hot women, and blood (preferably plenty of it) – it’s no wonder young and old men will sit through anything so long as they’re the promise that all three will be delivered in spades.
Early this year, I’d seen some footage of BOUNTY KILLER on an entertainment website, but, alas, I never saw it playing theatrically in the U.S. That’s a shame – it may have, and it would’ve been fun to see it up on the silver screen – but maybe that’s just the way things are; after all, B movies are best when experienced in the comfort and privacy of a room with a solitary boob tube.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
20 years into tomorrow, our planet has been reduced into a desert wasteland. Was it global warming? Nuclear catastrophe? Bad gardening? Quite possibly a combination of the above. What’s left of civilization is little more than ragtag outposts, all hoping for one thing: vengeance against the corrupt corporate raiders who selfishness destroyed our planet. Enter the 'Bounty Killers,’ men and women trained to take down what remains of these capitalist scum, but all for a price and a chance for the good life. Drifter (played with suitable B-movie charm by Matthew Marsden) is the best around, but there’s an up’n’comer named Mary Death (a stunning Christian Pitre) who’ll stop at nothing to dethrone the lead killer. Who would’ve guessed they were former lovers?
Ok. Unlike other reviewers, I try to be perfectly straight with you. So here’s the stone-cold truth: if you don’t like B movies, then BOUNTY KILLER is probably not for you. When I say ‘like,’ I mean ‘love.’ This is B movie magic from start to finish.
Marsden certainly comes close to mastering his game here. He plays his killer with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek … well, that is, when it isn’t firmly planted in Christian Pitre’s cheek … and that’s a heavenly place indeed. Together, they muster exactly the kind of chemistry necessary to elevate this picture above the humdrum – which it very easily could’ve become – and, as talented professionals, it’s very clear that they had a very thorough understanding of this material: look good, rush in, shoot first, and tally up the dead. They march through their paces here with a theatrically reserved glee, but I haven’t a doubt: they probably had a ball making this film.
As is often the case, there’s a fair amount of comic relief built into the property, and those stripes are fairly well earned by Barak Hardley. As the mostly bumbling gun-carrier Jack LeMans, he rushed through his marks trying harder than he needs to generate the requisite amount of laughs; and, if BOUNTY had any weakness, it would probably be the reliance on some relatively predictable humor. Jack isn’t fast enough on the draw. Jack accidently throws the gun too far. Jack gets a face-full of blood spray (be warned: there’s plenty of blood spray in this picture). You know these jokes. They practically write themselves. Given the fact that they’re clearly intended to be a harmless distraction from the body count, sit back and enjoy the ride.
God knows I did.
If anyone was watching, then BOUNTY is exactly the kind of film that deserves a sequel. Scribe Jason Dodson (who’s responsible for the graphic novel upon which it’s based) and director Henry Saine (who’s responsible for the art and illustrations of the same) brought their ‘A game’ to this wild B material, and one can only hope and pray it gets discovered by the widest audience possible.
But, as I said, you gotta like B movies. And by ‘like,’ I mean ‘love.’ Otherwise much of this will be lost on you.
BOUNTY KILLER (2013) is produced by Kickarc, Raindance Entertainment, and Just Chorizo Productions. DVD distribution is being handled by Arc Entertainment. As for the technical specifications, the film looks and sounds pretty solid consistently; there’s some muddled dialogue early in the soundtrack that could’ve been more cleanly recorded, and, sure, there’s some silly special effects that could look better had they spent more money on this, but that would probably remove half of the fun. As for the special features, there’s a brief (15 minute) ‘Making Of’ short that really serves more like a bloated ad, and there’s the theatrical trailer: I would’ve liked more, but – as they say – it is what it is.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. That’s right. “Highest recommendation possible.” I said it. Now it’s up to you: you’re either going to see it or not, you crumb-cruncher. You want my advice? Get off your duff, get out to the video store, and pick up BOUNTY HUNTER as a quick rental. Or better yet? Buy yourself a copy. If you’re a fanboy, then this is entertainment you live for. It’s a perfect B-movie adaptation based on a zany graphic novel. And, yeah, it’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. Would you?
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Arc Entertainment provided me with a DVD copy of BOUNTY KILLER by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.