Bounty Killer, available October 29th on DVD, is a tongue in cheek, post-apocalypse action romp that never works due to one bad hairdo, misguided satire, bad special effects, a lack of originality and comedy that falls flat.
Other than that, it’s pretty good.
Matthew Marsden stars as a bounty hunter named Drifter (can we just admit that unnamed characters have become a cliche?). The story goes like this (the movie explains it all in some very badly done exposition): corporations started wars with each other, people blamed CEOs and such, the world is now ruled by a “council” and they’ve put out death warrants on all business people … or corporate workers … or something like that. Anyway, bounty killers have become the new version of celebrity as they hunt down and kill these evil corporate scumbags.
Oh yes. It’s one of those movies.
Despite being a less than serious affair, Bounty Killer presents corporate America as the bad guys and the council (who seem to basically be dictators) are heroes. For a brief while, it seemed like the movie might actually have a brain and become a satire about people’s perceptions about corporate America and big government, but that goes nowhere. We end up with the cliched final act where a character with a bad hairdo (sorry, Kristanna Loken) gives a big speech about capitalism and taxes and blah, blah, blah.
Then again, maybe the whole thing was a satire on people’s perceptions like I mentioned. It’s hard to tell because I don’t think this script is smart enough to really know what it’s a satire of or, for that matter, whether or not it is one.
Satire and thinking aside, Bounty Killer is just one big goofy movie made by someone that has clearly watched The Road Warrior, Kill Bill and everything by John Woo way too many times. You can feel this film trying to lift the best parts of those movies, but instead it just makes everything a little bland and unoriginal. Killer never sets itself apart from the giant pack of other post apocalypse movies out there.
The plot follows Drifter and Mary Death (Christian Pitre). The former is trying to clear his name after a death warrant is issued for him, and the other is fighting off her past in the form of a group of gypsies that want her dead. Oh, and she’s trying to kill him … or he’s trying to catch her … or maybe they’re just trying to kill each other. They’re also in love. Maybe now you’ll understand when I throw another criticism at this movie: it’s convoluted.
For a film that never takes itself seriously and seems to be more interested in getting laughs than pulses pounding, Bounty Killer is waaay too complicated for its own good. It tries to be smart, intricate and complicated while also being a simple and funny homage. We end up with a mixed bag.
The only actors able to pull off this strange mix and actually get laughs while also creating characters are the very talented Matthew Marsden and Gary Busey, who shows up in a small role. His character has almost no reason for being in the movie, but Busey chews the scenery so well it doesn’t matter.
I’m sure director Henry Saine and his crew have a passion for movies and wanted to create a cool mash-up here, but it just doesn’t pay off for the audience. Maybe next time they can focus on originality and simplifying the story, political points and hair. They do that, and they might end up with a movie worth watching.