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Bounty Killer [Blu-ray]
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Cela fait maintenant 20 ans que de puissantes firmes ont mis la main sur les gouvernements du monde entier. Et leur soif de pouvoir a conduit aux "Guerres Entrepreneuriales", ces féroces batailles qui ont dévasté les sociétés telles que nous les connaissons. Mais de ces cendres est aussi né le Conseil des Neuf, une organisation qui cherche à rétablir la justice en ces temps obscurs : il distribue des ordres d'exécution à l'encontre des cols blancs et embauche des chasseurs de primes cupides et complètement barrés pour mettre fin à cette ère apocalyptique !
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Reste que j'aurais souhaité une bande originale beaucoup plus rock'n'roll avec de bons morceaux de stoner ou de doom bien costauds, histoire de coller à 100% à l'ambiance et à cet univers désertique.
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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.
"Bounty Killer" was originally based on a short film of the same name by Jason Dodson and Henry Saine, and its wildly over-the-top actions sequences, graphic violence, artsy visual style, and occasional use of short animated sequences keeps it fairly true to its origins. This is because the original creators were also involved in adapting it into a feature length film.
Set in a futuristic dystopia, this actioner takes place twenty years after “The Corporate Wars,” in which mega-corporations have toppled world governments, and then fought one another for world domination. As the world “spiraled into oblivion,” the top corporate executives abandoned their armies and fled with the remaining wealth. Born from the ash of a destroyed planet rose the enigmatic “Council of Nine,” who vow to rebuild and give hope to the survivors. The Council issues “death warrants” on all white-collared criminals to assure that big business never gets in control again and for “providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution.” This spawns bounty killers who compete for body count, fame, and “a fat stack of cash.”
Foremost amongst the Council’s bounty killers is a veteran named Francis Gorman aka “Drifter” (Matthew Marsden), a stoic aging hunter. Then there is Mary Death (Christian Pitre). A sexy diva that is as glitzy as she is brash, even sporting her own supped up yellow Ford Mustang. While Mary plays to her adoring fans and the press, Drifter shies away more interested in getting the job done than making headlines.
When we first meet these two, we find them both together riding up an elevator to a holographic go-go club to take out a CEO (Ivar Brogger) and his cronies. From the moment they both interact, we know that these to share a past together. Later we discover Mary Death was not only his protégé but his lover, until Drifter decided he wanted to retire and take her with him. Mary, however, had other plans—going solo—so she ended their relationship by stabbing him in the spleen and leaving him to die in the wastelands.
When Drifter suddenly finds himself with a bounty on his head, Mary decides to cash in. Drifter holds a dark secret to his past and desires to find the Council of Nine to plead his case, something that no one has ever done before—mainly because no one actually knows where the council resides.
Slowly unfolding through Drifter’s journey—gun caddy Jack LeMans (Barak Hardley) and old acquaintance Jimbo (Abraham Benrubi) along for the ride—we discover Drifter is not the only one with a secret. Mary too still runs from her past. She is a runaway from a band of wasteland warriors known as Gypsies, who still want her back, and Mary must cross through their territory if she hopes to collect the bounty.
Making it across the wasteland, Mary catches up to her ex-lover. In a face-to-face stand off Drifter tells Mary he’s not going fight her and he wants to talk. When Mary threatens Jack and Jimbo, Jack admonishes her and Drifter and tells them that they should stopping acting like children, because it is obvious they are both still in love with one another. Mary agrees to go with them to the council, but warns them that when the judges find Drifter guilty, she’ll be the one to carry out the execution. The four of them set out with a secret map Mary has acquired.
However, when they finally arrive at the council building, they find the council dead and Drifter has been setup. It appears Drifter had once been a CEO of a corporation that manufactured planes, and had been betrayed by his business partners who sold them to militias during the Corporate Wars. When the council had formed, Drifter had been recruited as the first bounty killer, because he wished to make amends for all the destruction and death that had result from his company. He knew all along it was not the Council who had issued the death warrant, but he needed to find out who it was. It turns out that it was one his former business partners (Kristanna Loken) and her henchman (Gary Busey); all to draw him out and reinstated him as the company CEO once again.
There have been many other small budget post-apocalypse films, but non-so entertaining in recent years. This is not only due to the well-written script and direction, but because the acting is also top notch, all the way down to the cameos by Beverly D’Angelo and Rapper Eve.
If you’re looking for a film with plenty of car chases, bloody battles with exploding heads and dismemberment, a brooding mercenary and his hot protégé in knee-high white boots, then this fun and entertaining, over-the-top post apocalyptic action film is sure to please.
Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre) are the Bonnie and Clyde of Bounty Hunters. When a bounty is offered on Drifter, he wants to clear his name with the Council of Nine. Mary Death confuses us as she wants to go with him to help him in one scene and then wants to shoot him in the next. Drifter, along with his side kick (Barak Hardley) must pass through the Badlands and fight off cannibal gypsies. Only vintage cars seem to survive the apocalypse.
Beverly D'Angelo and Gary Busey from the "where are they now" crowd appear briefly in the film. The film boasts a lot of blood squirts, severed limbs, CG flames, and a token Brit (Kevin McNally). Mary Death speaks in sexual innuendos, even to her car. She is dressed in a red and white mini dress...like a car hop, stockings, and white go-go boots with killer sharp spurs. And she can take a punch to the face.
If you are starved for a Mad Max style grindhouse, this should hold off the hunger pains.
Parental Guide: F-bombs, brief sex, brief prostitute nudity. Soft 4 stars.